- September 2, 2003 at 12:00 am #3282
What do you think of when your workplace or school wants to promote ‘diversity’? I am designing a Civic Enhancement program for a major organization, and I want to express that the mission includes developing leaders who honor and respect each others’ differences. If I could, I’d say we were developing leaders who ‘value diversity’ or who have ‘multicultural competencies.’ But these words are rejected because they are associated with racial difference (i.e.: diversity includes differences in thinking styles, learning styles and ‘all the ways’ we are different.) Then I could use ‘self -awareness’ and ‘knowledge of social justice theory’. But does it then water down the need we have as members of our American culture to ‘un-learn racism’ and value ‘inclusivity’? What’s the current word to inspire folks to take the risk, and reach across differences, and to see the value of listening to ways that others are different?
User Detail :Name : Curtis31710, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, City : San Francisco, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, February 7, 2004 at 12:00 am #28584
What’s the current word to inspire folks to take the risk… In my experience, ‘Diversity’, or whatever you want to call it, in the workplace has nothing to do with inspiring folks to take risks… Diversity, tolerance, sensitivity, etc., as I’ve seen it implemented, basically means ‘We have to acknowledge the current political fashion and document that we did it.’ This is to satisfy some political power. Corporate directive, local action group, media, protestors, investors–you get the drift. In cases where I’ve seen people actually encouraged to take risks, there ain’t no ‘word to inspire’. You’re asking somebody to take a risk! Just saying some magic words aren’t going to do it. You can demonstrate to them that mistakes are not punished. That failure involves learning, not retribution. But you must demonstrate this by concrete action as failures and mistakes occur. People are not stupid. Don’t expect people to ‘take risks’ involving their livelihoods just because you hung an ‘Inspirational’ poster on the break room wall.
User Detail :Name : Karl-Pizzolatto, City : Baton Rouge, State : LA Country : United States, February 22, 2004 at 12:00 am #40574
It’s been my experience that if you have people from different backgrounds (ethnic, racial, religious, whatever) in a situation where they have to work together to achieve a common goal, are either considered equals or have ranks that are based on something besides the differences, and actually achieve the goal so they don’t blame each other for failure, that does a lot to build mutual respect and help focus on what people are rather than their race (or other differences). I wouldn’t bother with buzzwords – they have a tendancy to either get overused until they’re stripped of their meaning, or provoke some sort of knee-jerk reaction from people who have heard horror stories of ‘diversity training’ (or what have you) carried to absurd and counterproductive extremes. But if you’ve got to call it something, how about just plain ‘teambuilding?’
User Detail :Name : Matt, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 25, City : Oxford, State : GA Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, July 30, 2004 at 12:00 am #30947
If you intend to ‘unlearn’ racism, you must think of no racial differences, just the regular differences between people such as tastes, likes and interests. What word would you use to encourage people to reach out across these differences if race didn’t cross anyone’s mind? Wouldn’t that magic word just be in the line of FRIENDSHIP, which is the coming together of fellow human beings? Go for something that has NOTHING to do with making people realize there are differences and overcoming them, and instead, go for something that makes them realize that we are all the same and that there’s nothing to overcome, that it’s natural for human beings (which is what we all really are) to come together. So forget about promoting ‘self -awareness’ and ‘knowledge of social justice theory’, just promote FRIENDSHIP and you will show that racism never crossed your mind, because in your company it doesn’t exist.
User Detail :Name : Nelson-A20185, Gender : M, Race : Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Age : 35, City : Caracas, State : NA Country : Venezuela, Occupation : Educator/Lawyer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, September 29, 2004 at 12:00 am #15589
You asked this question over a year ago, so I expect you went forward on your own. But, I’ll tell you what I heard in our company’s diversity training. It pays to accept, understand, respect, and learn about racial and cultural differences. And I should emphasize ‘pays’ since that’s what business is all about. If your company encourages those within the organization to celebrate their differences they create an atmosphere where everyone’s efforts and ideas are respected and rewarded. The company benefits. If the company encourages employees to understand and accept the racial and cultural differences of their customers they encourage more people to do business with the company. The company benefits, again. The bottom line in business is the bottom line.
User Detail :Name : Lance, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Presbyterian, Age : 52, City : Seattle, State : WA Country : United States, Occupation : Software Engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, October 2, 2004 at 12:00 am #34473
Call it a Meet-n-Greet, use terms similar to ‘Explore differences and similarities,’ ‘Talk about what makes us unique,’ etc. In this far-too-PC culture of ours, plainer language gets a better reception than artificially couched terms borrowed from your old sociology classes.
User Detail :Name : j21151, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 34, City : chicago, State : IL Country : United States, Occupation : Healthcare, Social class : Middle class, October 8, 2004 at 12:00 am #19915
At our local school we have a week devoted to these ideas called ‘Unity Week’ We don’t shy away from using words like cultural diversity because that is the whole point, but we stress that to have Unity we must first celebrate our diversity (thereby eradicating misunderstanding and fear). Is Unity a term that would be neutral, yet descriptive of your goals?
User Detail :Name : Trina, City : Vic, State : NA Country : Canada, December 27, 2004 at 12:00 am #28461
I guess it would be open-mindedness. That’s about the only word that includes everything from color to creed to political parties. And I do agree with you that that’s what we need.
User Detail :Name : Tali24830, Gender : F, Race : Asian, Age : 18, City : NYC, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Factory Worker, Education level : Less than High School Diploma, Social class : Lower class, May 2, 2005 at 12:00 am #31330
i’m looking at your signature line and it indicates ‘over 4 years of college’. it shows. why must it be stressed that ‘leaders’ (which i assume means the people forced to take the seminar) should ‘respect and honor’ each other. shouldn’t that be left to their own individual ADULT judgement? what if one of the ‘leaders’ isn’t worthy of the others’ respect? are they to respect them anyway because your program, taking the place of the schoolmarm at the head of the conferenceroom, struck the pointer against the table and commanded it? do you think yourself invisible behind the superfluous graduate school jargon? you want to know what people think when they read about the ‘need we have as members of our American culture to ‘un-learn racism’ and value ‘inclusivity’? they hear, ‘you are a racist, and you need to be told this by someone like me because you’re like an ant before the comparative clarity and breadth of intellect, you frenchfry-eating wallmart-shopper.’ they think this not because they don’t know you, either. they know you. you moved to the coast from indiana where you were somebody’s insufferably pretentious cousin — one of the kids who smoked cloves and listend to the cure in junior high and sighed with affected disinterest whenever anyone would talk with earnestness about what makes them happy. they are also not too stupid to understand that the jargon you use was crafted to indemnify you from ‘(taking) the risk, and reach(ing) across differences…to see the value of listening to ways that others are different.’ try being honest instead. use words that everybody can share. and if, after stripping all of the dishonest jargon away, all that is left is a nakedly hatefull set of personal judgements about people you deem to be at your feet requiring your training to be ‘diverse’, then you’ll know what to do with it.
User Detail :Name : jummy29084, City : chicago, State : IL Country : United States, July 8, 2005 at 12:00 am #35877
By Charles Sykes. Read it. You really, really need to.
User Detail :Name : Ann, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Animist, Age : 39, City : Kansas City, State : MO Country : United States, Occupation : Executive Assistant, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class,
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