It is important that we identify common terms used in the discussions. Common terms include:

affirmative action — efforts to make education and employment available to people who have traditionally been treated unfairly, for example because of their race or sex, by giving them some advantages over people who have traditionally been more powerful

apartheid — (in the past in South Africa) a political system in which people of different races were separated:
– the long-awaited dismantling (= end) of apartheid

assumption — something that you accept as true without question or proof:
– People tend to make assumptions about you when you have a disability.
– These calculations are based on the assumption that prices will continue to rise.

belief — the feeling of being certain that something exists or is true; something that you believe:
– All religious and political beliefs should be respected equally.
– [+ that] It is my (firm) belief that nuclear weapons are immoral.
– His belief in God gave him hope during difficult times.
– Recent scandals have shaken many people’s belief in (= caused people to have doubts about) politicians.
– He called at her house in the belief that (= confident that) she would lend him the money.

bias — an unfair personal opinion that influences your judgment:
– [U] They vowed to fight racial bias in the school.
– [C usually sing] Does news coverage reflect a reporter’s bias?

bitterness — showing or causing deep anger and pain:
– Losing the election was a bitter disappointment.

consequence — a result of a particular action or situation, often one that is bad or not convenient:
– Not making a will can have serious consequences for the people you might wish to benefit.
– Scientists think it unlikely that any species will actually become extinct as a consequence of the oil spill.
– I told the hairdresser to do what she wanted to my hair, and look at the consequences!
– Well, if you insist on eating so much, you’ll have to suffer/take (= accept and deal with) the consequences!

cultural — relating to the habits, traditions, and beliefs of a society:
– The US is often accused of cultural imperialism.
– Australia has its own cultural identity, which is very different from that of Britain.
cultural diversity/differences
– cultural heritage (= ways of living and thinking that have existed for a long time in a society)

denial — a statement that something is not true:
– His statement is not a denial.

discriminatory — unfairly treating a person or particular group of people differently from others:
discriminatory practices

diversity — the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something:
– Does television adequately reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country?
– There is a wide diversity of opinion on the question of unilateral disarmament.

ethnic — relating to or characteristic of a large group of people who have the same national, racial, or cultural origins, and who usually speak the same language:
– an ethnic neighborhood
– She loves ethnic foods, especially Ethiopian and Japanese.

fear — a strong emotion caused by great worry about something dangerous, painful, or unknown that is happening or might happen:
– [U] Even when the boat was rocked by waves, the boy showed no fear.
– [C] The low sales continued, confirming our worst fears.
– [U] She stood very still for fear of (= because she was worried about) being noticed.

food stamps — a piece of paper that is given to poor people by the government and with which they can then buy food

genetics — the study of how, in all living things, the characteristics and qualities of parents are given to their children by their genes

geographic — the study of the features and systems of the earth’s surface, including continents, mountains, seas, weather, and plant life, and of the ways in which countries and people organize life within an area

groupthink — the process in which bad decisions are made by a group because its members do not want to express opinions, suggest new ideas, etc. that others may disagree with:
– Most of us thought the product wouldn’t sell, but nobody told the boss — that’s the danger of group think.

guilt — a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person:
– He suffered such feelings of guilt over leaving his children.
– She remembered with a pang of guilt that she hadn’t called her mother.

hate — to strongly dislike someone or something:
[T] Kelly hates her teacher.
[T] I have always hated speaking in public.
[+ to infinitive] I hate to say it, but I don’t think Leo is the right man for the job.

ignorant — having no knowledge or awareness of something or of things in general:
– We were very young, ignorant, unskilled men.

instinct — the way people or animals naturally react or behave, without having to think or learn about it:
All his instincts told him to stay near the car and wait for help.
– [+ to infinitive] Her first instinct was to run.
– It is instinct that tells the birds when to begin their migration.
figurative Bob seems to have an instinct for (= is naturally good at) knowing which products will sell.

institutional racism — unfair treatment for people of different races, women, etc. that result from the systems and structures within an organization:
– The report found evidence of institutional racism in the police service.

like-minded — People who are described as like-minded share the same opinions, ideas, or interests:
– A dedicated football fan herself, she started the magazine for like-minded women.

minority — less than half of a total number or amount; the smaller part of something: [U] Only a minority of people support military action.
– [U] Traditional families are in the minority in this neighborhood (= there are not many).

open-minded — willing to consider ideas and opinions that are new or different to your own:
Doctors these days tend to be more open-minded about alternative medicine.

overt — done or shown obviously or publicly; not hidden or secret:
There are no overt signs of damage.

peer — a person who is the same age or has the same social position or the same abilities as other people in a group:
– Do you think it’s true that teenage girls are less self-confident than their male peers?
– He wasn’t a great scholar, but as a teacher he had few peers (= not as many people had the same ability as him).

race — a group, especially of people, with particular similar physical characteristics, who are considered as belonging to the same type, or the fact of belonging to such a group:
– People of many different races were living side by side.
– Discrimination on grounds of race will not be tolerated.
– An increasing number of people in the country are of mixed race (= with parents of different races).

race relations — the relationship between the members of different races:
– We want to improve race relations in this area of town.

racism — the belief that some races are better than others, or the unfair treatment of someone because of his or her race

reconciliation — the process of making two opposite beliefs, ideas, or situations agree

redlining — the practice of refusing to lend money, give mortgages ,or sell home insurance to people living in poor areas, or of charging them high rates for this:
– The institution has fought against redlining of financial services in minority neighborhoods.

repair — If you repair something wrong or harmful that has been done, you do something to make it right:
to repair a broken friendship
– Is it too late to repair the damage we have done to our planet?

reparations — payment for harm or damage:
– The company had to make reparation to those who suffered ill health as a result of chemical pollution.

self esteem — belief and confidence in your own ability and value:
– The compliments she received after the presentation boosted her self-esteem.
– She suffers from low self-esteem and it prevents her from pursuing her goals.

self importance — the belief that you are more important or have a higher value than other people:
– He’s a modest, mild-mannered man, without a trace of self-importance.

self-worth — the value you give to your life and achievements:
– Many people derive their self-worth from their work.

spectrum — the set of colors into which a beam of light can be separated, or a range of waves, such as light waves or radio waves:
– The colors of the spectrum — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet — can be seen in a rainbow.

spontaneous — happening or done in a natural, often sudden way, without any planning or without being forced:
– His jokes seemed spontaneous, but were in fact carefully prepared beforehand.
approving She’s such a spontaneous, lively woman.

tolerance — willingness to accept behavior and beliefs that are different from your own, even if you disagree with or disapprove of them:
religious/racial tolerance
– There is zero tolerance of violence at this school — if you’re caught fighting, you’ll be suspended.

welfare — help given, especially by the state or an organization, to people who need it, especially because they do not have enough money:
– This national fund pays for welfare benefits such as unemployment and sickness pay.
– UK After her month’s sick leave, she was summoned to see the company’s welfare officer.