Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Educational Resources - Diversity: Diversity Terms

Searching for Diversity Related Material

The terminology that describes various groups changes over time and many terms that were common in the past have become obsolete. For instance, the current term “disabled” has replaced the older terms “handicapped” and “crippled.” These two terms still appear, however, in some of our databases that index older materials, such as JSTOR. If you search on the term “disabled,” you will find more recent items, but if you’re looking for historical documents, the terms “handicapped” or “crippled” will return more results. This is true of terms used for other groups as well.

Following are lists of some common search terms and variations of search terms dealing with diversity issues. There are many possible variations so these lists aren't definitive, but rather give examples which can be used as patterns in your own searching in the online catalog, in library databases, or on the Internet.


Disability, disabilities, disabled, handicapped, crippled
People with disabilities, children with disabilities, artists with disabilities
Disabled people, disabled children, disabled artists, disabled veterans
Mental disabilities, mentally disabled, people with mental disabilities
Learning disabilities, learning disabled, people with learning disabilities, dyslexia, dyslexics
Blind, blindness, deaf, deafness, deafblind, deaf culture
Visually impaired, hearing impaired, hard of hearing
Handicapped, physically handicapped, mentally handicapped

Gender Issues

Sexism, sex discrimination, gender equity
Discrimination against women, discrimination against men, reverse discrimination
Feminism, anti-feminism, women’s rights, women's suffrage, suffragists, suffragettes
Women, minority women, Japanese American women
Sexual harassment of women, sexual harassment of men
Sexual harassment in education, in universities and colleges, in the workplace
Abused women, abusive women, violence against women,
Men, abused men, abusive men, violence in men
Rape, male rape, date rape, acquaintance rape
Women in Christianity, in Judaism, in Islam
Sex differences

Intercultural relations

Diversity, cultural diversity
Intercultural relations, intercultural communication, intercultural education
Multicultural, multiculturalism, pluralism
Cross-cultural, crosscultural, transcultural
Bicultural, biculturalism; bilingual, bilingualism
Minority, minorities
Immigration, immigrants, refugees
Assimilation, acculturation, Americanization, melting pot

Older people

Aged, the elderly, older people, senior citizens, aging parents
Aging, age discrimination, elder abuse
Gray Panthers, AARP

Political issues concerning diversity

Civil rights, minority rights, Gays -- Civil rights, human rights
Abolitionists, Native American Party, Know-Nothings, American Indian Movement, Black Panthers, white supremacy movements
Discrimination, prejudice, hate crimes, hate speech
Segregation, apartheid, Jim Crow, integration
Brown v. Board of Education, busing
Educational equalization, sex differences in education, discrimination in education, multicultural education
Affirmative action, equal opportunity, reverse discrimination, political correctness
Suffrage, women's suffrage, African Americans -- Suffrage

Race and ethnicity

Race, race identity, racially mixed people
Ethnic groups, ethnic minorities, ethnic identity, ethnic relations, ethnicity
Racism, racialism, ethnic conflict, ethnic cleansing, genocide
Asian Americans, Greek Americans, Norwegian Americans
African American artists, Chinese American businesspeople, Hispanic American women
Hispanic Americans, Latin Americans, latinoamerican, latino(s), latina(s)
Mexican Americans, chicano(s), chicana(s)
Aboriginal people(s), native people(s), indigenous people(s)
Native Americans, Indians, Indians of North/South/Central America, First Nations, Inuit, Eskimo, Aleut
Abenaki Indians, Abenakis; Zuni Indians, Zunis
West Indian Americans, East Indian Americans

Religious diversity

Religious diversity, religious pluralism, religious tolerance, freedom of religion
Separation of church and state, church and state, religion and politics
Secularism, secular humanism, civil religion
Religion in the public schools, school prayer
Political violence -- Religious aspects
Christianity and other religions; Islam -- Relations -- Judaism
Anti-Semitism, Anti-Catholicism, Anti-Mormonism

Sexual orientation

Gender identity, sexual identity, sex identity
Homosexuality, lesbianism
Bisexual, bisexuals, bisexuality

Asexuals, Asexuality, nonsexuality, cisgender
Transsexuality, transsexualism, transsexuals, transgender people, transgendered people
Gays, homosexuals, lesbians, gay women, sexual minorities
Gay couples, lesbian couples, same-sex couples, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, gay adoption
Homophobia, heterosexism
Gay rights, gay liberation movement, gay and lesbian studies
Discrimination against gays, against lesbians, against homosexuals, against bisexuals
Gay conservatives, lesbian consumers, gay students
Mormon gays, gay Mormons; African American gays, gay African Americans

This section is from by Anita Albright