Work Effectively with Diversity

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Work Effectively With Diversity

SECTION 1: RECOGNISE AND VALUE
INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES

Assessment Strategy: Activities
Activity 1
1. Explain stereotyping and the reasons why it is not good to let stereotypes affect your relationship with others.

Stereotyping is holding the thought that the members of a particular group are all of the same character or thinking. For example: that all accountants are boring, all red heads are bad tempered, all skinny people are anorexic, all girls play with dolls, all boys play with cars, etc. Stereotyping makes assumptions about members of a particular group, solely because of their membership in that group.

In my opinion, it isn’t good to let stereotypes affect my relationship with others because:

1. Stereotyping can prevent us from really getting to know people on an individual basis. That's because we act on the assumptions we make about people instead of taking the time to really understand who they are. Stereotyping, in its most basic form, is the process of interacting with the assumptions we make about people, as opposed to the people themselves. This can cause us to develop superficial relationships with others, instead of relationships based on mutual respect and understanding; an understanding that can only come about when people genuinely take the time to get to know each other. 2. Stereotyping increases the likelihood of making communication errors and offending others. This is because stereotypes are learned and culturally transmitted generalizations we have about members of a particular group. The problem is that these assumptions and generalizations are often inaccurate. So we may say or do something that is offensive to the party we are in communication with. 3. Stereotyping can make us shy away from people from particular cultural groups. Many of us avoid interaction with others because of their race, age, gender, educational level, socioeconomic status or position. We may assume those individuals have nothing in common with us, or that we will be more comfortable with people who look more like us. This is one of the biggest reasons why people from similar race, age, gender, educational level, socioeconomic status tend to stay together, and separate themselves from other groups. 4. Stereotyping can make us judge people who have a different way of thinking than what we do and this can make us miss out on opportunities to learn something different. 5. The most frightening realisation of stereotyping, is the fact that we all do it to a certain degree, through thought, speech or action (whether we want to believe it or not), and it often happens unconsciously. This is a huge problem because stereotyping can have an extremely negative impact on communication and human interaction, especially if culturally diverseness is there. 6. In my opinion, the best way to solve the problem of stereotyping and possibly offending somebody is to always be aware of one’s thoughts, speech and actions. In other words to think before you leap. I think it is of utmost importance to show total respect at all times to all individuals, be it in one’s personal life or one’s work life.

2. What have been the effects of stereotyping that you have seen in your workplace or in a social situation?

Stereotyping that blacks are slaves:
When I worked for Thomas Cook, a colleague asked another colleague if they would fetch a printout off the printer for her. The other colleague replied: “No, I won’t. Do I look black? I’m not your slave.”

I am a person of colour who was born in Cape Town, South Africa and the comment, even though said in jest; it raised some sensitive issues within me, which was very painful because of the apartheid system which I grew up with in South Africa. I approached the person who made the comment and advised them that I realised that the comment was made in jest, but personally, hearing that comment, for me it was very offensive. She said...
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