The demographics of America have changed in so many ways over the last decade. Because of this, our view of diversity in the workplace has also changed. There are many more people of different races, nationalities, and disabilities. They are in the workplace, in schools as students, and also in supervisory positions.
According to Taunda Edwards, a contributor at eHow; diversity is the inclusion of things, people, and places that are different. For example, having different races, genders, ages, and ethnicities of people in one place is showing great diversity. No one thing or person is the same and is made up of different cultures and backgrounds. Also diversity can be the different opinions of individuals. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the lines of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
According to the Global Compliance Network, an organization has to put policies and procedures in place to make sure that diversity in the workplace occurs. Organizations also have a responsibility to make sure that they are creating and implementing programs that will help diverse populations succeed in their organization. In order for diversity to work, employees on all levels of an organization must be committed to the program. The company must be actively seeking out diverse employees to hire. Human Resources have to understand the importance of
implementing diversity in an organization since that department is the “voice and face” of the company. They have the job of expanding the pool of possible employees to target a diverse population.
In order for an organization to truly implement a culture of respect for diverse populations, all employees must understand the business value of diversity. These would include acceptance, understanding, open-mindedness, the ability to recognize difference, and the ability to embrace commonality. A company must acceptance that our country is changing and that if the company is to grow they will have to learn how to work effectively with different cultures. Acceptance involves realizing that you may be a minority whereas before, you were the majority. This will help one to be open to the training necessary to change the culture of an organization. We must realize that the culture of the 1970s is not the same as today.
After we accept that change is inevitable, we need to learn, seek to understand other cultures, and adjust our mindsets as well as our behaviors. We can learn by asking questions, conducting research, and listening to others. It is important that we also share our culture with others. We can then began the process of embracing commonalities, and respect for others differences.
In the classroom, it is very important for a teacher to understand and embrace diversity. The US is constantly changing and therefore more students are coming into our school from other countries. Many of them have different beliefs than we do. They dress differently than we
dress. If we are going be able to reach and teach these students, we must gain knowledge and accept them as equals like everyone else. Students can sense when a teacher is treating them different than they treat their peers.
Concepts of Diversity, May 31, 2013, from http://gladstone.uoregon.edu
Edwards, Taunda. What is the Definition of Workplace Diversity, May 31, 2013, from http://www.ehow.com
Global Compliance Network, Diversity for Supervisors, May 31, 2013, from http://www.gnctraining.com