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Equity Terminology


The Department of State has used a working definition, along with examples, of antisemitism since 2010. On May 26, 2016, the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, adopted a non-legally binding “working definition” of antisemitism at its plenary in Bucharest. This definition is consistent with and builds upon the information contained in the 2010 State Department definition. As a member of IHRA, the United States now uses this working definition and has encouraged other governments and international organizations to use it as well.

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

  •  Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.

  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.

  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.


An academic and legal theory that explores and examines history by looking at societal and institutional power structures from a race-based perspective. 


An instructional approach that uses students' culture to accelerate learning. It integrates the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and the varied learning styles of students to make learning more appropriate and effective.


The beliefs, practices and norms of a group of people.


Unequal treatment of a person based on their membership in a group. In contrast to prejudice, discrimination is a behavior.


Common beliefs, values, and behaviors of privileged groups (white, male, heterosexual, cisgender, wealthy, etc.) that usually go unnamed and are considered the "norm" against which others are measured.


Educational equity means that each child receives what they need to develop their full academic and social potential (National Equity Project). Equity in the Mercer Island School District schools, classrooms, and services provided to students rejects the premise that "advantaged" students must receive less in order for "disadvantaged" student to receive more. Educational equity and educational excellence do not need to be in opposition. The schools and district will be at their best when each individual is at their best because of equitable and accessible opportunities for all. (Blankstein & Noguera).


Equality says we treat everyone the same and give them the exact same resources or support, regardless of individual needs or group history.


Equity is a commitment to ensure that every student receives what they need to succeed. 


A social construction that indicates identification with a particular group that is often descended from common ancestors. Members of the group share common cultural traits, such as language, religion and dress.


The network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for the majority group, and discriminates, oppresses, and/or disadvantages people from certain targeted groups.


One's country of origin or citizenship.


A term born out of the antiracism movement used to describe nonwhites that is meant to be inclusive among nonwhite groups.


Societal benefits that favor some groups of people and create disadvantages for other groups, particularly if the groups are otherwise under the same social and political circumstances. Privilege can apply to race, income/wealth, gender, religion, sexual identity, sexual preference and physical/learning ability. While many Americans may not view themselves as privileged because of their economic or social status, the advantage of being in the majority racial group is real, even if often hidden. Privilege can be assigned to populations within a group, such as athletes, individuals perceived as attractive, individuals who attain higher levels of education or membership in certain religious groups. Recognizing that you have privilege does not require feeling guilty for your privilege. Rather it is an essential step toward understanding how that privilege might shape your views or negatively affect others, even unintentionally, and what steps we can take to break down barriers created. 


Races are socially and politically constructed categories that others have assigned on the basis of physical characteristics, such as skin color or hair type. 


Racial/ethnic identity development is how our self-perception is shaped by our experiences in society regarding our group affiliation (i.e. race, gender).


Institutional power and prejudice which benefits the dominant group and hurts other racial groups. It can be conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional.


An overgeneralization based on race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ability, age, and other characteristics that is widely believed about an entire group of people. Stereotypes are impervious to evidence and contrary argument.

ɸ definition adapted from: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond