Key Definitions

The beginning of the work to create a world where each of us experiences fairness, dignity, and belonging is to understand what can get in the way.  These are brief definitions of some of the core concepts that are part of that journey.

perception icon brain

Identity differences

The components of the self (e.g. race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, class status, educational background, etc.) that result in people being sorted into culturally or institutionally relevant groups.


Race is a social construct that categorizes people in ways to maintain social status and hierarchy.

Identity anxiety

Identity anxiety is a stress response before, during or after a cross-group interaction.  People from “out-groups” may fear that they will experience bias or discrimination.  People from “in-groups” may fear that their words or actions will be seen as biased.

Identity Threat

The fear of loss of power for one’s own identity group.