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what is diversity

Diversity means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing their individual differences. These differences can be along the dimensions of race, gender, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Diversity is more than tolerating differences, it is a set of conscious practices that involve:

  • Understanding and appreciating the interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
  • Exercising mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
  • Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing.
  • Understanding that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination shapes and provides privileges for some while creating and nurturing disadvantages for others.
  • Forging alliances across diversity so that we can work together to destroy all forms of discrimination.

Definition for Diversity

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 dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic, we will create a success-oriented, cooperative, and caring community that draws intellectual strength and produces innovative solutions from the synergy of its people.

“Diversity” means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:

  • Understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
  • Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
  • Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
  • Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
  • Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.

Diversity includes, therefore, knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences. Finally, we acknowledge that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.

Objective Of Committee Members: To make a difference

Diversity – All of our human differences

Diversity Training – Understanding how our differences may effect or influence our relationships at work (peers, subordinate, boss, and customers – intentionally or unintentionally)

Relationship Between Diversity and an Inclusive Work Place – The intent of looking at the diversity in your workplace and customer ranks is to create (impact) a more inclusive work environment for all employees and in the process attract more customers

A Diversity Issue Exists when…

An issue (policy or business practice – formal, informal, internal, or external) has a different impact on a particular group (i.e., impact on men vs. women, black vs. white, American vs. foreign, urban vs. rural, married vs. single, etc.)

It happens more frequently to a particular group (i.e., different groups may have dramatically different “numbers” – turnover, terminations, promotions, discipline, few or no role models, etc.)

It is more difficult for one group to overcome (i.e., upward mobility for a particular group within an organization – “glass ceilings”)

A diversity issue exists where the policy or business practice has an impact exclusive of difference (not inclusive of difference). Is there a trend or pattern (intentional or unintentional)?

Having a diversity issue is not necessarily a bad thing. Doing nothing about it given you have knowledge of the issue is where organizations go wrong (negligence). Being in denial about these issues do not make them go away. Ignorance is not bliss inside or outside the courtroom. The real question is why do we have this issue and can we take action to correct it or improve the situation.

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