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Important terms to know when discussing inclusion and equity in the arts. To deepen your understanding of these terms, visit our Library.



A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a group being discriminated against or treated unjustly regardless of our identity, benefit when any of us take steps toward eliminating prejudice and discrimination in our society.



“The term BIPOC stands for ‘Black, Indigenous, People of Color,’ it is meant to unite all people of color in the work for liberation while intentionally acknowledging that not all people of color face the same levels of injustice. By specifically naming Black and Indigenous people we are recognizing that Black and Indigenous people face the worst consequences of systemic white supremacy, classism, and settler colonialism.” -Sunrise Movement



Blackface minstrelsy was performed by a group of white minstrels (traveling musicians) with black-painted faces, whose material caricatured the singing and dancing of slaves.



Prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color. 



Recognizes differences between people mostly on the basis of language and shared culture.


A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.


A test in which a brown paper bag was held up to black artists’ skin for comparison. If the artist’s skin was darker than the paper bag they were not allowed to perform.


Performative allyship

The practice of words, posts and gestures that do more to promote an individual's own virtuous moral compass than actually helping the causes that they're intending to showcase.


Understood by most people as a mixture of physical, behavioral, and cultural attributes. 



Includes the policies and practices entrenched in established  institutions, which result in the exclusion or promotion of designated  groups. It differs from overt discrimination in that no individual intent is necessary.


The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.


A general term for any play or musical based (often only loosely) on the 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The novel attempts to depict the harsh reality of slavery, and ultimately reinforced harmful Black stereotypes in the American Psyche. Many unauthorized plays based on the novel were staged for decades, many of them mocking the novel's strong characters and social message, and leading to the pejorative term "Uncle Tom." Stage plays based on Uncle Tom's Cabin—"Tom shows"—began to appear while the story itself was still being serialized. These plays varied tremendously in their politics, but almost always employed the use of blackface minstrelsy.



A building or outdoor area in which plays and other dramatic performances are given.


The activity or profession of acting in, producing, directing, or writing plays.

© 2020 The Joy Jackson Initiative

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