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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Home

Definitions and Resources

University Libraries' Commitment to Diversity and Anti-Racism

University Libraries recognizes and affirms the essential dignity of all people by honoring and celebrating diversity, fostering inclusion, and actively working toward equity and social justice for students, faculty, staff, and members of our broader community. We support Northern Illinois University's (NIU) commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging[1] and endorse the American Library Association's core value of "[s]ocial responsibility and the public good."[2]

University Libraries strives to build an anti-racist organization which acknowledges that libraries have engaged in the oppression of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), as well as other traditionally marginalized populations, and endeavors to dismantle broader systems of privilege and structures that uphold white supremacy in order to "co-create a community where all voices are heard, valued and respected."[3]

Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion cannot simply be articulated in a statement; it must be demonstrated in an institution’s policies, practices, and culture.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

A bench facing a wall with many images of diverse people.

Equity "is not the same as formal equality. Formal equality implies sameness. Equity, on the other hand, assumes difference and takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair (or equitable) outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. The effects of that exclusion often linger systemically within organizational policies, practices, and procedures. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups."

Diversity "can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. Visible diversity is generally those attributes or characteristics that are external. However, diversity goes beyond the external to internal characteristics that we choose to define as ‘invisible’ diversity. Invisible diversity includes those characteristics and attributes that are not readily seen. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual." 

Inclusion "means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success."

Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. (7 September 2017). ODLOS Glossary of Terms. American Library Association.

Land Acknowledgement

Northern Illinois University occupies the traditional homelands of Anishinaabe peoples—Niswi-mishkodewinan, also known as the Council of the Three Fires—comprised of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Odawa. Other Indigenous peoples who call this land home include the Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, Peoria, Miami, and Sioux. We acknowledge the presence and continued vitality of these and other Native communities in our state and Midwest region. 

Unofficial draft not yet approved by the university.

Prejudice & Implicit Bias

What is Privilege?

"Privilege operates on personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional levels and gives advantages, favors, and benefits to members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. In the United States, privilege is granted to people who have membership in one or more of these social identity groups."

  • White people;
  • Able-bodied people;
  • [Neurotypical people];
  • Heterosexuals;
  • [Cisgendered people];
  • Males;
  • Christians;
  • Middle or owning class people;
  • Middle-aged people;
  • English-speaking people; and
  • [US Citizens]

"People in dominant groups often believe that they have earned the privileges that they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them. In fact, privileges are unearned and they are granted to people in the dominant groups whether they want those privileges or not, and regardless of their stated intent."

"Unlike targets of oppression, people in dominant groups are frequently unaware that they are members of the dominant group due to the privilege of being able to see themselves as persons rather than stereotypes."

Adapted from Office of Active Citizenship and Service. (2014). "Power and privilege definition." Vanderbilt University.

Infographic of overlapping brightly-colored circles with various identity categories associated with "Some Types of Privilege," including wealth/material resources, age, sex, ability, religion/belief, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and citizenship/immigration status.

"Some Types of Privilege" by Dee Anna Phares CC BY 4.0

Online Resources

Everyday Feminism Resources

Other Resources

            Click "Checklists" on the right side of the screen; then click on an identity category to access the checklist

What is Prejudice?

"Prejudice, in normal usage, means preconceived opinion or bias, against or in favour of, a person or thing. While it is important to remember that biases can be positive as well as negative, nevertheless the term most commonly refers to a negative or unfavourable attitude towards a group, or its individual members. Prejudice is characterized by stereotyped beliefs that are not tested against reality, but rather have to do with a person's own feelings and attitudes."

Scott, J. (2014). Prejudice. In A Dictionary of Sociology. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 22 Jun. 2021, from https://www-oxfordreference-

What is Discrimination?

"The unequal treatment of members of various groups based on race, gender, social class, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and other categories."

Prejudice. In Racial Equity Tools Glossary. Racial Equity Tools. Retrieved 22 Jun. 2021, from

Online Resources

            Envisions a world where every member of the LGBTQ family has the freedom to live their truth without fear and with equality under the law. 

What is Implicit Bias?

"Implicit bias is a mental process that stimulates negative attitudes about people who are not members of one’s own 'in group.' Implicit racial bias leads to discrimination against people who are not members of one’s own racial group. In his book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, Professor Drew Westen tells us that 'Irrespective of what we may feel and believe consciously, most White Americans—including many who hold consciously progressive values and attitudes—harbor negative associations toward people of color.' Implicit bias affects the way that we think about 'out groups' and it influences the way that we react to and interact with out group members. Implicit bias operates in what researchers call our 'implicit mind,' the part of the brain that we commonly call the 'subconscious' or the 'unconscious.' This means that implicit bias can operate in an individual’s mind without a conscious awareness of this process. Westen suggests that, typically, our subconscious attitudes are less egalitarian than our conscious attitudes." 

Quoted from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University

Online Resources

            You can select an Implicit Association Test (IAT) from a list of possible topics.

What are Microaggressions?

"Microaggressions are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In many cases, these hidden messages may invalidate the group identity or experiential reality of target persons, demean them on a personal or group level, communicate they are lesser human beings, suggest they do not belong with the majority group, threaten and intimidate, or relegate them to inferior status and treatment."

"While microaggressions are generally discussed from the perspective of race and racism, any marginalized group in society may become targets — people of color, women, LGBT persons, those with disabilities, religious minorities, and so on."

Sue, D. W. (17 November 2010). Microaggressions: More than just race. Psychology Today.

Online Resources

LDEI Feedback Form

Huskie Conversation Café Podcast

Image of a coffee cup with a huskie footprint in the coffee. White text on a black background at the top of the image reads: Huskie Conversation Cafe.

The Huskie Conversation Café podcast is designed, produced, and hosted by Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) staff.  Our objective is to provide Conversations that Matter focused on social justice themes, books, and content in an online format each season.  Podcasts provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to listen and learn from guest experts, and sometimes, the authors themselves.   

Listeners will gain familiarity and understanding with the concepts of cultural competence, social justice, activism, and equity through this podcast. Listeners can reach out to ADEI staff with questions or concerns. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Events at NIU

A collage of various overlapping, flesh-toned silhouettes of human faces made of crinkled paper. White text in all caps reads, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at NIU.


Bringing people together to promote social justice and become comfortable with intersectional discussions. 

Access a calendar of all diversity, equity and inclusion events.

Conversations on Diversity and Equity (CODE) Workshops

CODE is designed to engage students, faculty and staff in learning about the cultural differences that shape our world. The main goal of the program is to create spaces for them to explore complex aspects of the diversity and equity framework. The ultimate outcome of providing these experiences for participants is to work towards an inclusive campus community where everyone respects the value and dignity of all of its members.

Workshop Series

Our team of Diversity Facilitators will provide supportive environments for participants to build their cultural competence along a continuum of learning opportunities that will help them shape a deeper understanding of themselves and their interactions with others and develop skills to prepare them to live and work in an increasingly diverse society.

CODE 1 - Situating The Self

Who Am I? This workshop introduces opportunities for participants to explore their own unique cultural identities and the identities of others. Through a series of interactive exercises, they will learn general diversity terms and concepts, share the personal stories that frame their values related to cultural difference and identify the multitude of ways that their identities shape their understanding of the world.

CODE 2 - Building Community

Who Are We? This workshop focuses on building dialogue. Review the description and select the workshop that best meets the needs of the participants. Workshop participants will learn how to effectively engage in conversations and resolve conflicts about issues that impact the way they relate to people with different experiences, histories beliefs, traditions, and values that are different from their own.

CODE 3 - Power Dynamics of Difference

How Do We Relate? This workshop invites participants to cultivate a self-reflective awareness of their identity, personal beliefs, and values related to cultural and social inequalities. Participants will develop critical thinking skills and knowledge regarding how privilege and oppression shape their experiences and perspectives in relationships and communities.

CODE 4 - Engaging Systems of Oppressions

This workshop aims to immerse dedicated individuals with the lifelong dedication necessary for social justice work.

Customized Workshop

We will consult with you to meet the needs of staff, faculty and students by creating tailored interactive workshops depending on the needs of participants. The workshop aims to connect participants to critical theories and frameworks, diversity, and inclusion.

Red button with white text, reading "Request a Code Workshop."