Making Science More Welcoming of Underrepresented Groups: Some Definitions

In a comment some weeks ago, a reader asked me to share the definitions I use for three terms that are central to the workshop on making science more welcoming of underrepresented groups. Here they are!

“Privilege” refers to the uneven distribution of power within a society. Privilege exists when that aspect of your life is seamlessly accepted into the world without scrutiny or suspicion. Personal privilege is the possession of these unearned attributes that dictate the ease and influence one will have within society.

“Microaggressions” are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative emotions towards a minority.

“Intersectionality” is the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Hope these help! I’ve been a bad scholar and not noted down where I got these definitions from. If you know where they’ve come from, or have suggestions for improvements, please let me know!

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