DiversityWorking ~ Diversity Management Information
The following are articles written by Sondra Thiederman and reprinted from her website. She is a speaker and author on diversity, bias-reduction, and cross-cultural issues. She is the author of Making Diversity Work: Seven Steps for Defeating Bias in the Workplace (Chicago: Dearborn Press, 2003) which is available at her web site or at Amazon.com.
American Culture: Knowing Yourself In Order to Understand Others
How often have you said something like, "It seems like every other country has a culture but we don't," or "America is just a hodgepodge of groups -- we don't really have any values that distinguish us?" Even Mark Twain -- often regarded as a spokesperson for 19th century American popular culture -- commented that the only thing Americans have in common as a culture is a fondness for ice water.
Language Barriers: Bridging the Gap
How many languages do you think are being spoken in the United States today? Take a minute to think about it. Survey your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and patients and count how many different languages they speak. If you live in states like New York, New Jersey, or California, you probably fairly quickly reached a figure of thirty or more. If you dug a bit deeper, you might even approximate the actual figure of 400 distinct languages being spoken in the United States today. If we add to this the fact that languages other than English are spoken in at least 14% of all homes, we begin to see the impact that language diversity has on our lives.
Formal Mentoring: A Way Around the Barriers of Bias
Sexism, racism, blatant discrimination -- certainly each of these can be a factor in keeping women and emerging groups from advancing in the workplace. More often, however, the reason is more subtle and, because it is subtle, it is harder to diagnose and difficult to cure. That reason is the subtle biases that cause even the most well-meaning of us to exclude diverse groups from our informal workplace networks.
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