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Welcoming Diversity Presented by

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1 Welcoming Diversity Presented by
Thank you. It is an honor to be here today along with Timothy Rush EO Officer in Mississippi and to be a part of this year’s Training Symposium. Accepting diversity is an individual choice. So, during our presentation you will have an opportunity to personally reflect on your own level of accepting diversity. You will also have an opportunity to have some discussion with those sitting with you at your table. We hope that by the end of this presentation you will make a personal commitment to embracing diversity and share with your respective agencies by opening dialogue and developing your own training for those working with our customers in the one-stop centers. By doing so, you can make others aware of diversity in the workplace and is another way to ensure equal access to our services and programs. You have a copy of the presentation and can take notes as we go along. If you have any questions please jot them down and we will be available after the presentation to answer questions. Presented by Cece Slater, EEO Chief State of California Timothy Rush, EEO Officer State of Mississippi

2 Welcoming Diversity Civilization should be measured by the
degree of diversity attained and the degree of unity retained…. W. H. Auden I’d like to begin by sharing a quote with you from W. H. Auden. READ SLIDE

3 Welcoming Diversity Diversity: The art of thinking
independently together…. Malcolm Stevenson Forbes I’d like to share another quote. This one is from Malcolm Stevenson Forbes. READ SLIDE

4 Goal The goal of today’s presentation is to create a culture that embraces the similarities and differences of individuals to enhance the services provided to our customers. READ SLIDE As EO Officers we should foster and promote a diverse workforce that reflects the population we serve. We should be committed to ensuring that individuals from all backgrounds are provided equal opportunity to develop, perform, and advance to their maximum potential. As EO Officers it is our responsibility to ensure that those assisting our customers respect and treat every customer with dignity and afford all of them equal opportunities.

5 Objectives Define Diversity
Treat everyone in the workplace equally and respectfully Effectively respond to instances of perceived bias using positive communication methods Model behavior that may reduce harmful workplace tension and conflict Identify personal biases and analyze ways to prevent them from triggering inappropriate behaviors By the end of today’s training, you will be able to…. READ SLIDE

6 Objectives Continued Take actions which contribute to creating an environment where all employees may reach their full potential Actively participate in creating an environment that attracts and retains a diverse customer base Describe the benefits of having a diverse workplace in an environment which encourages inclusion, equality, and respect READ SLIDE I hope that you enjoy today’s presentation and take something from this presentation that you can incorporate into your day to day interaction with those that you work with and those that you interact with on a personal level. As an EO Officer you have the ability to set the bar and in some instances raise the bar. You can be the example to those that have direct contact with our customers.

7 What is Diversity? Diversity is understanding each other,
moving beyond simple tolerance to embrace and celebrate the rich dimensions of uniqueness contained within each individual. What is diversity? Diversity can have many different meanings to many different individuals. READ SLIDE

8 Benefits of Embracing Diversity
Learning to accept and appreciate individual uniqueness increases our understanding of each other and gives us a greater leverage to achieve common objectives. READ SLIDE We all benefit from embracing diversity. For the next 5 minutes I would like for each of you to discuss with the group at your table what embracing diversity means to you and identify some of the benefits of embracing diversity. Why is it important?

9 Benefits of Embracing Diversity
Improving self-awareness and developing a better sense of how others see us can be beneficial in the work environment as well as in everyday life experiences Learning more effective and open means of communication can have a positive impact in all our relationships and interactions Recognizing and overcoming (or at least suppressing) our own biases develops strength of character There are many benefits to embracing diversity. In addition to the benefits that you identified, let’s take a look at other benefits. READ SLIDE

10 Benefits of Embracing Diversity
Interacting well with co-workers, managers and customers builds positive relationships Stimulates growth and supports innovation Provides a better understanding of our customers Helps reduce conflict in the workplace It’s the right thing to do READ SLIDE

11 History Equal Opportunity: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to ban segregation and discrimination in employment, public access and housing Affirmative Action: Equal opportunity laws were soon reinforced with affirmative action programs Diversity: Diversity initiatives go beyond equal opportunity laws and affirmative action programs Now let’s go over the history from which diversity originated. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY – READ SLIDE……The basis for the act is the principle that everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, age, sex, nationality, or disability should have equal opportunities. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION – READ SLIDE…..Affirmative action refers to policies or legal mandates that promote access to employment opportunities or education for women and minorities. DIVERSITY – READ SLIDE…….It is recognizing that just increasing the numbers of diverse groups and individuals in the workplace is not enough. It is important to ensure that all individuals feel that they are recognized, valued, and in all ways, included

12 Acceptance vs. Assimilation
Willingness to treat somebody as a member of a group or social circle. Assimilation: The absorption of one culture into another. The unique traits of the original culture are frequently lost or suppressed. READ SLIDE The goal of inclusion is NOT to provide a means for all those who are somehow different to assimilate in order to succeed in the dominant culture or in the traditional workforce. Inclusion does not mean conformity nor does embracing diversity mean recognizing a collection of isolated groups. The ideal is to enlarge our definition of who “we” are in order to encompass everyone. We are one team and will succeed or fail as one.

13 Department Representative Scenario
Was this an act of bias, goodwill or both on Nadine's part to send Lupe to the recognition luncheon even though she was not an active participant in the community fundraising event? Welcome back READ SLIDE If your answer was both, an act of bias and goodwill, you are correct. It is very likely that Nadine was acting with good intentions. However, that does not remove the strong possibility that a type of bias also played a role in her decision. Nadine's belief was that "it will be nice for Lupe because she'll probably never get an opportunity to represent the department for any other recognition“ this demonstrates a bias of low expectations”. This type of bias is not obvious, either to the one practicing it, or to others. It is often rooted in a misguided attempt to be kind. If Nadine does not expect Lupe to excel, due to her ethnic or cultural traits, then she will not provide Lupe with opportunities to succeed, which may include not providing development or mentoring opportunities. Let’s think about how this relates to your interaction with the customers you serve. How do you ensure that all participants are guaranteed equality in the services you provide. Think about situations that can be frustrating to you when assisting customers. What makes the situations frustrating? Could it be related to a bias? I hope this interactive activity gave you an opportunity to learn to be open to listening to others thoughts and perspectives.

14 Dimensions of Diversity
Primary Dimensions Aspects of ourselves we are generally unable to change Secondary Dimensions Elements we have some control over and which are less visible There are two dimensions of diversity: Primary Dimensions- READ SLIDE- For example: age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical characteristics and physical or mental abilities. Secondary Dimensions- READ SLIDE - For example: religious beliefs, education, income, work background, family status, geographic location. All are defining characteristics which make up who we are as individuals.

15 Dimensions of Diversity
Gender Race Color Religion National Origin Sexual Orientation Familial Status Education Social Class Financial Position Weight/Height Physical Attractiveness Marital Status Political Leanings Career Path Physical/Mental Abilities Suppose you were asked to list your personal, defining characteristics, including the following listed on the slide…….Please take a few moments to read through the list PAUSE Now I would like you to imagine that you were asked to choose only one of the many single characteristics listed which defines you the best. Could you choose just one trait that tells someone everything he or she needs know about you in order to form an opinion of you? The answer is probably not, but yet that is exactly what most people find themselves doing when forming opinions of others. Try to get to know others, before forming an opinion of them, you might find you actually have more in common with others than you think. And now, Timothy is going to discuss acquiring bias.

16 Acquiring Bias Whether or not we acknowledge them, verbalize them, defend or deny them, we all hold biases and stereotypes. READ SLIDE Biases and stereotypes are learned very early. Throughout our lives, from infancy on, we acquire attitudes, values, norms, social roles and language from individuals close to us.

17 Acquiring Bias (sources)
immediate family extended family friends acquaintances classmates teachers preachers co-workers leaders advertisers movies TV music books newspapers magazines internet video games We also absorb direct and indirect biases and stereotypes from many different sources. Biases are acquired from the words and behavior from all different sources. Take a few moments to read through the sources listed on the slide. PAUSE In other words, biases and stereotypes are learned from just about anywhere and everywhere.

18 Acquiring Bias Many of us may have been told not to judge people by their color or nationality. But did the same lessons apply to those of a different religion? Sexual orientation? Gender? Social or economic status? Political or cultural values? Physical or mental status? READ SLIDE Some of us may believe that we, personally, were not taught to be biased. We may even feel that we were raised with the values of accepting those different than us. There may be some truth to this, but ask yourself these questions: Were all important influences in your life teaching you the same lessons as your primary caregiver may have been teaching you? PAUSE 2. Were there any inconsistencies between what you were told to think, believe, feel and how those instructing you actually behaved? PAUSE These are just some questions to ask yourself, to really assess what influences played a major role in your life and what impact they have had on you as an individual.

19 Acquiring Bias (Dealing with our Biases)
Understanding our own biases enables us to: Suspend judgment of others Encourage an openness and willingness to learn about and from others Appreciate the contributions and worth that others bring to our shared environment In order to begin to accept and appreciate others, we need to acknowledge that our attitudes, values, norms and perspectives are products of our unique socialization and should not be the standard by which we measure the worth of others. READ SLIDE

20 Acquiring Biases A. Asking the employee of Asian descent which is the best Chinese restaurant in town. B. Asking the young woman in your department when she intends to start a family. C. Assuming the young, male African-American co-worker wants to discuss college and professional basketball regularly. D. Asking the gay department head his opinion on re-decorating the reception area. E. All of the above. On the screen is a list of comments directed to specific individuals. I would like for you to take a few moments to silently read the comments. As you read through the comments, think about which comments may be offensive to the person to whom they are directed? Next, I would like for each table to take 5 minutes to discuss as a group which comments may be offensive to the person to whom they are directed.

21 Answer is E. All of the above
Acquiring Biases Answer is E. All of the above Whether any of the stereotypes in these situations are true in the particular instance or not, they are still stereotypes and can be offensive and therefore should be avoided. If you chose E. All of the Above you are correct READ SLIDE It is never acceptable to make assumptions about people based solely on stereotypes of one or more groups to which they may belong. If the time and effort is taken to get to know people as unique individuals, there is less likelihood of inadvertently offending them in casual conversation.

22 Bias or Human Comfort We are all drawn to people most like us. This by itself, does not indicate a biased attitude. There is nothing wrong with a desire for solidarity and commonality with others. Now that we’ve covered acquiring biases I will move onto Bias or Human Comfort…. READ SLIDE

23 Bias or Human Comfort On this slide there are several different individuals ( a woman eating an apple in front of a fruit bowl, a baseball player ready to hit the ball, a women pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair, a man in muslin clothing reading the paper, a doctor, a woman helping a girl to recycle, a woman praying, a man teaching a boy to skateboard, a woman playing volleyball and a teacher in a classroom). Please take a moment to view the slide and I would like you to think about: Of all the different individuals. Which two would you be MOST likely drawn to and which two would you be LEAST likely drawn to. (No worries, you do not have to share your answers with the group. This is a just a quick personal self assessment quiz) PAUSE The majority of us, even those who strongly embrace diversity, will feel most comfortable approaching those who are of our own race, culture. gender, or age in a social or work setting and asking if we can join them. And this is ok.

24 There are many ways people can be like us.
Bias or Human Comfort There are many ways people can be like us. By stretching your definition of who you share a commonality with, you will find new comfort levels with a much more diverse group of individuals. Gravitating towards people like us does not have to be limited to race or nationality. READ SLIDE For example: a young mother with a toddler arrives at a community function where there are groups generally divided by race, but there is also a diverse group of mothers with toddlers. In this instance, the group the young mother chooses to join may be the young mothers rather than the groups made up of individuals of her race or culture. Whether you observe this behavior in yourself or in others, it should not be assumed that choosing a particular group of people with who we feel similarities with, reflects a rejection or negative feeling about the other groups: it most likely just reflects a comfort level.

25 Bias or Human Comfort Not only should we accept that the comfort factor will frequently govern our actions, but also that we have the ability to make choices which may result in risks and rewards beyond mere comfort. READ SLIDE I have a challenge for you beginning today….. I would like for your to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and make a conscious effort to interact frequently and positively with others that you would normally be least likely drawn to and be open to learning from those that are different than you. How does this process affect our treatment or services to our customer? Now I would like to introduce: Perceptions, Levels of Acceptance, and Communication.

26 Perception Perception is the process of using the senses to acquire information about the surrounding environment or situation. Perception is the way we imagine things are. Although we might believe them to be true, perceptions are based on our past experiences and expectations. READ SLIDE It is important to understand that others may not define themselves - or you - in the same way you do. In other words, each of us has our own perceptions. For instance: When two or more individuals are involved in the same situation, or see the same behaviors, or hear the same words, the interpretations of what was seen, heard or experienced can be vastly different. If someone perceives you - or your situation - differently than you do, and as a result, treats you in a way you find offensive, it is very possible that this was not what the person intended.

27 Perception Don’t assume the worst.
An individual behaving (what you consider) “offensively” may only be guilty of an error in judgment, with no offense intended. READ SLIDE We all make mistakes and assumptions which are only the result of our own perceptions and being unaware of the perceptions and life experiences of others.

28 Perception (Open the Lines of Communication )
The intent of approaching someone is to open the lines of communication to help others understand the impact of their words and behavior. The best thing you can do in a situation where you find a co-worker’s comments or behavior to be offensive is to open the lines of communication. READ SLIDE

29 Levels of Acceptance Expecting that everyone, regardless of race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, and so on, is going to be all-embracing and work together in a totally conflict-free environment is not realistic. READ SLIDE To some of us, the encouragement to accept others who are different from us is intimidating. We may recognize our own deep-seated biases and how we acquired them, but still believe that embracing those we do not understand or identify with is ultimately impossible, so not worth attempting. However, rather than simply refusing to make the effort, a better alternative is to recognize that there are multiple levels of acceptance. Welcoming diversity is not an all or nothing concept.

30 Levels of Acceptance There are four different levels on the Welcoming Diversity Path, from non-acceptance to welcoming diversity. This continuum can be described as made up of multiple levels each with specific, but not totally distinct, attributes. Though there are not always clearly definable differences between the various levels of acceptance, we can generally title them: Exclusion, Tolerance, Acceptance and Embracing.

31 Levels of Acceptance “Exclusion”
is the level furthest from welcoming diversity. In a culture of exclusion, people strive to keep the “Norm” as they are and avoid change. READ SLIDE People who are perceived as different are segregated and treated as outsiders with little value. Sometimes the exclusion is unofficial policy, as in promoting women or members of particular ethnic groups to supervisory positions, but never allowing them to enter top management. Some times we failed to offer or provide equal access to our customers because of our perceptions or biases.

32 Levels of Acceptance “Tolerance”
is the next level on the path towards fully, celebrated diversity. As implied in the verb “to tolerate,” this level reflects an attitude where people who are different may be included, but are not welcomed. READ SLIDE For example: Individuals may be hired in order to comply with the law or included to satisfy expectations or avoid grievances, but the general attitude towards the outsiders doesn't change just because of their presence.

33 Levels of Acceptance “Acceptance”
is the third level, when attitudes begin to change about those formerly viewed as outsiders. People previously seen as different, threatening or unwelcome begin to be actively accepted. READ SLIDE Members of the majority start to recognize that people who are different can contribute valuable knowledge, skills, and insights to the group.

34 Levels of Acceptance “Embracing”
is the highest level of awareness in welcoming diversity. Those who have reached this level truly enjoy others' varied backgrounds and have a sincere desire to engage them — potentially changing the existing structure or culture. READ SLIDE Individuals in an embracing environment are welcomed for their unique abilities and perspectives, not just because they represent groups targeted for recruitment or retention.

35 Communication When introducing diversity to the already complex process of communication it becomes more complicated, but also a much richer experience — and opens a path to learning more about other cultures. READ SLIDE The saying that "everyone should be treated with respect" does not mean that everyone should be treated in the same way. Due to cultural differences, personal preferences and individual perceptions, behaviors which may be acceptable to some will be offensive to others. A good example of this is direct eye contact, which may be interpreted in very different ways across different cultures. Looking a person in the eyes may be seen as a sign of open and honest communication in one culture, but in others, the same behavior can be seen as impolite, disrespectful, aggressive, and even threatening. Get to know those whom you perceive to be different from you. This may sound simple, but can actually be quite difficult for many of us. The key to better understanding and accepting each other begins with open effective communication. We also need to remember that sometimes we are faced with barriers when communicating with our customers. Perhaps a customer is not able to effectively communicate in English. Rather than pushing the person aside with minimal assistance, do employees get someone who can assist the customer in the language that he or she speaks? As EO Officers we are responsible for ensuring a plan is in place to assist limited English proficient customers. Are all employees are aware of and familiar with this plan?

36 Communication Collusion is cooperation with others, intentionally or unintentionally, to reinforce stereotypical attitudes and biases, or disrespectful, harmful language. The three types of collusion are: Silence Denial Active Participation Often, when abusive language occurs in the workplace, those involved or aware of it either minimize its harmful nature or attempt to place the blame elsewhere. This is often the case when the language is meant to be humorous. There is a temptation to believe that we are not guilty of offensive behavior because we do not initiate it, or because those who are being demeaned are not present. An honest appraisal of our own actions, however, may suggest otherwise. Let’s take a look…READ SLIDE Silence – Remaining silent may seem harmless, but it can reinforce stereotyping, lack of value for diversity, and lack of respect for individuals or groups. Denial – How many of us have denied an inappropriate act of others by providing an excuse, not only for the person engaging in the offensive behavior, but also for ourselves, so we may avoid the discomfort of expressing disapproval. (Example: "She doesn't mean anything by it.“ or "It's only a joke.") Active participation - The most obvious and damaging type of collusion. My hope is that none of us here actively participate in this type of behavior by saying or doing inappropriate things. As EO Officers we must remember our role. Give example of I rec’d from someone that provides me statistical data. Now I’ve never met this person before he just supplies me with data. How many of us have received jokes or inspirational quotes??? Well, one day this person sends me an joke. As I’m reading it, I come to a play on words non-profit (as in non-profit organization). The joke puts a different spin on it…non-profit = atheist. I was immediately offended and wondered how many of the others included in the thought about me…after all I am the Chief of the EEO Office. I immediately called the person that sent me the and ask that I only be sent work related . I did not actively participate and I did not remain silent.

37 Conflict Resolution Healthy debate among diverse members of a team frequently leads to better strategies, perspectives and problem solving. Unhealthy or destructive conflict is disruptive, and interferes with the ability to succeed as a team, and can be demeaning and abusive towards groups or individuals. When communicating conflict may be unavoidable. However, conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in any environment there will be both healthy and unhealthy conflict. READ SLIDE Insert Timothy’s example Take a few moments to think about how that situation can be handled in a healthy way?

38 Conflict Resolution Continued
All too often, unhealthy conflicts are swept under the rug instead of being addressed head on, especially if they are a result of uncomfortable situations involving a clash of cultures or diverse perspectives. READ SLIDE Often unresolved conflict may appear to fade away, but is actually churning just under the surface, ready to explode in even more destructive ways. For this reason, you should not avoid an opportunity to openly discuss a situation because you fear it will lead to a disagreement. Communication is the best way to achieve understanding and promote cooperation in the workplace.

39 Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one
Welcoming Diversity Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.... Ola Joseph I’d like to leave you with this quote from Ola Joseph… READ SLIDE On behalf of Timothy and myself, I want to thank you for attending this session. We hope that you took advantage of this time to reflect on your personal level of EMBRACING diversity. In closing, I’d like for you to take a few minutes to jot down your personal commitment to embracing diversity in your own office and in your personal life. We encourage you to extend similar training sessions to individuals that you interact with in your job back in your state. Thank you.


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