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Welcoming Diversity Presented by Cece Slater, EEO Chief State of California Timothy Rush, EEO Officer State of Mississippi.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcoming Diversity Presented by Cece Slater, EEO Chief State of California Timothy Rush, EEO Officer State of Mississippi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcoming Diversity 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

3 Welcoming Diversity Diversity: The art of thinking independently together…. Malcolm Stevenson Forbes

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

12 Acceptance vs. Assimilation Acceptance: 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.

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?

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

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

16 Acquiring Bias Whether or not we acknowledge them, verbalize them, defend or deny them, we all hold biases and stereotypes.

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

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?

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

20 Acquiring Biases A.A. Asking the employee of Asian descent which is the best Chinese restaurant in town. B.B. Asking the young woman in your department when she intends to start a family. C.C. Assuming the young, male African-American co-worker wants to discuss college and professional basketball regularly. D.D. Asking the gay department head his opinion on re-decorating the reception area. E.E. All of the above.

21 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.

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.

23 Bias or Human Comfort

24 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

30 Levels of Acceptance

31 “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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

39 Welcoming Diversity Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another’s uniqueness.... Ola Joseph


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