Individual Assignment: Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion
Week 1 Individual SOC/315
What are the dimensions of cultural diversity? Identify and briefly explain the dimensions by referencing both textbooks. The dimensions of cultural diversity are made up of peoples of different races, ethnicities, religion and genders that when they come together their cultural characteristics that make them up should not be thrown away or overlooked, rather it should be preserved and respected. Harvey and Allard (2009) say that “Cultural features do not exist merely as badges of identity to which we have some emotional attachment. They exist to meet the necessities and to forward the purposes of human life…Cultural diversity viewed internationally and historically, is not a static picture of differentness but a dynamic picture of competition in which what serves human purposes more effectively survives while what does not tends to decline or disappear”. With what ethnic, cultural, or other groups do you identify? Describe what members of your social circle have in common. I am a 3rd generation Russian immigrant, my great grandparents came from Russia late 1890’s to 1905ish, I’ve never seem to have gotten a final answer on that. I am 100% Russian and all American, but I seem to fall into that typical white identity, Just white. The members of our family social circle are also Russian, and while it’s not just social it’s cultural and religious wrapped up into one. I am 100% Russian because of the sect of Christian religion that my community follows, has gotten legalistic in religious terms. They believe that members of our Russian community should only marry other members of our Russian community. They pride themselves on tradition quite a bit, even more so than their religious practices. We are all of the same community, we come from the Judeo-Christian Background, and we all know each other. Likewise in my personal social circle, I have always identified with just about every other social circle and other groups. My best friend is Mexican, another hilarious friend is Trinidadian, other friends are Muslim, and my fiancée is Black. I have friends that are of all races and ethnic backgrounds and work with many more. I associate with all of them because we have a few things in common, we are all American, we live in the same city, and have all gone to the same schools growing up. We know the same things and strive for the same goals, trying to make it in this jobless depression. What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?
An article from Mission-Health.org (2012) gives a great definition of inclusion: “The word inclusion used to be more frequently used to mean representation, and is an exercise in arithmetic. In other words, we strive to have some representatives from all categories, in some kind of proportion. Up until now many companies have understood workforce diversity this way and have used affirmative action programs as their usual means of achieving it.” Diversity is acknowledging that there are different races, ethnicities out there that need to be included in the work force. Making them part of the work force is just that, being included, it’s part of the word inclusion. More so now than ever in America, we see more people with distinctive personalities and cultures and viewpoints that they can bring into the workplace. Companies can use these people of different diversities that will match their own mission statement and corporate values and ideals. Change is necessary in our changing environment, and if society changes with an explosion of diversity of people, then companies need to change as well. This is not a bad thing, as it could bring new ideas, opportunities and values that will help grow organizations and the individuals themselves. What is the importance of workplace diversity training?
Mitchell Holt (2012) of Training in Workplace Diversity states that “Cultural awareness serves as a bridge between employees whose paths might not otherwise cross. A training program serves to inspire cultural sensitivity in religion, ethnicity, sex, background, sexual orientation, disabilities and age” The goal is to raise awareness of the diversity and to develop abilities amongst the staff to help them correspond and communicate in a more open and knowledgeable level. Having an understanding and learning to adapt to variations of race, ethnicity, sex gender can be very advantageous for employees and staff. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness in the workplace that may increase tolerance between co-workers background and culture that may produce a positive atmosphere at work. An article called Diversity Training from Etools4Education (2012) says that “diversity programs help administrators delegate job assignments to subordinates and saves time in properly evaluating employees. Consequently, employees become more active in brainstorming and participating in projects, allowing for better teaching to occur”. Ultimately it’s about relationships and interactions with different kinds of people in a civil manner, so then companies need to have the motivation and skill to distinguish, recognize, and make use of the contributions despite who they are. What is your experience with workplace culture? Could there be, or could there have been, more inclusion? In my years of working I have experienced a cornucopia of culture that came in all areas and situations. I have worked with all races and ethnic backgrounds; I also have had supervisors that were of all races and backgrounds as well. My experience has always been positive and race or ethnicity or gender has never come into play or been an issue. I have always seen fair amounts of diversity at my work locations, and every employee has always got along with each other. I think it’s because of my generation, (although I am in my early 30’s) has always grown up and worked together with every race, ethnicity and gender so it’s not something I think most people think about around here. I currently see the fair amount of inclusion and personally don’t think that there needs to be more or less. As I see others around me, they naturally are respectful and responsive to each other’s background in the workplace. For the most part I see that most leave their home-life at the door anyways a pickup the worker mindset.
To sum it up, I believe that America is rapidly changing to accept more peoples of all backgrounds and religions and races. After reading and understanding the way race is made up, it becomes clear that we are just human after all, according to Schaefer in Racial and Ethnic Groups chapter 1 “The way the term race has been used by some people to apply to human beings lacks any scientific meaning. We cannot identify distinctive physical characteristics for groups of human beings the same way that scientists distinguish one animal species from another. The idea of biological race is based on the mistaken notion of a genetically isolated human group”. I see more people here where I live accept that more people of all backgrounds are moving in and living and working together. We have white, black, Mexican, Indian, Russian, Armenian, Hmong, and many more living here. You can see that each subculture of peoples will show their heritage and make contributions to our city in a positive light. When it comes to cultural diversity within the work place I see more of it coming in, and more of it accepted. I believe that our generations have grown up in this mixing pot and its normal for all of us to be around each other now, were all people of all ethnicities, heritages, and religions.
Harvey, Allard, C. J. (2009). Understanding and managing diversity . (4 ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall
Diversity vs. inclusion in the workplace what's in a name?. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mission-health.org/health-and-wellness/employers/diversity-vs-inclusion-workplace
Holt, M. (n.d.). Training in workplace diversity. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/training-workplace-diversity-3026.html
Unknown. (n.d.). Diversity training. Retrieved from http://www.online-distance-learning-education.com/diversity-training.html
Schaefer, R. (2011). Racial and ethnic groups. (12 ed.). Pearson Education.