Section 1 Understanding Individual Perspectives of Diversity
Each of the first six sections of this text is organized to facilitate the process of learning about workplace diversity. Sections begin with learning goals and an introduction to the material that follows. Next, we provide an exercise on experiences that will help you to actively participate in the learning process by considering some new perspectives on diversity that are intended to challenge your knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about differences. Because diversity is an interdisciplinary topic, the essays and cases that follow were written by experts from business, psychology, anthropology, economics, and sociology. These articles are followed by additional opportunities for active learning: discussion questions, Diversity on the Web, and Writing Assignments. To provide linkages, each of these six sections ends with a unifying case and a set of integrative questions that cut across the articles in that section. The seventh section is intended to connect all of the course material together by providing three options for a capstone learning experience.
Learning Goals for Section I
· To learn the differences between prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination
· To understand the notion of privilege and how it affects one’s life experiences
· To motivate the student to examine his or her own perspectives on difference
· To explore the relationship between differences and conflict
· To explore organizational diversity
Often, we begin a diversity course by asking the question: “Who in this room is prejudiced? Raise your hand.” As expected, only a couple of students are willing to join the instructor and admit that they have some prejudices! At the end of the semester, we ask the same question and almost every hand in the room is raised. Why does this always happen? We have been socialized by family, society, and the media to think that prejudice is always negative, so it is easier to deny it. Then, why do most students raise their hands at the end of the semester? Because they now realize that everyone treats some people differently than others. It is very natural to prefer people like ourselves. Think about your friends. While they may be of mixed races and genders, are they all close to your age? Are there any people with a handicap in the group, and so on?
Basic to understandingthis text Section I is clarification of some terminology that is often used interchangeably in everyday conversation. Prejudice is a preconceived evaluative attitude based on a person’s social group membership. Prejudices can come from many sources such as our socialization, our peers, our life experiences, and especially the media and it can be positive, negative, and neutral. For example, you find out that you will be getting a new boss next week and she is a middle-aged female. If you find yourself thinking that she is going to be hard to work for, rigid, even bitchy, and so on, before you even get to know her, this is a negative prejudice. Have you ever “prejudged” a professor, positively or negatively, before taking his or her course based on a few comments on a ratings website?
Stereotypes are an overgeneralized belief that a category of people are alike. Like prejudice, stereotypes are learned not innate which means that they too can be unlearned. While the conscious mind often tells us that of course people are unique, the unconscious mind tries to categorize people, unless we make a deliberate effort to think more deeply about them as individuals. For example, if you think, even unconsciously, that Asians are too quiet to be productive in sales jobs, this is a stereotype because you have prejudged or generalized this idea to apply to an entire group of people. Although it may be true of some Asians, it is also true of some Euro-American whites, Hispanics, and African Americans. Individuals need to be judged on their individual merit and qualifications. Stereotypes can be negative as in the example above, but also can be positive or neutral. A student once provided us with the following example of her manager’s positive prejudice. He would only hire Asian women to work in the computer manufacturing facility “because they have small hands.”
Both prejudices and stereotypes are mental processes that we all experience but discrimination is different because it is a behavior or action that occurs when we treat people differently because of their membership in some group. It builds on our stereotypes and prejudices. So, following through on the previous example, when young men applied for manufacturing work at this company, the manager threw away their applications. They were not even considered. His stereotype, even though it was positive toward Asian women, resulted in discrimination to male applicants. Denying or failing to examine our stereotypes and prejudices to ourselves is more apt to lead to discriminatory actions. While discrimination can be individual as in these examples, it can also occur in organizations. This is important to understand because managers need to identify and change policies and practices that the unintentionallydiscriminate, that is, structural discrimination, or intentionally discriminate, that is, institutional discrimination (Pincus, 2000). There will be many examples of the problem that organizational discrimination causes throughout the cases in this text.
Privilege is an unearned advantage that gives those who have it economic, social, or political power. Privilege is socially constructed, that is, dependent on time and place. For example, in some cultures, older workers are revered for their wisdom but in North America, being younger and attractive gives one privilege in the workplace. Most people with privilege
The articles in Section I open with two opportunities to discover what you know about today’s workplace diversity, Diversity Today: Fact or Fiction and the Diversity! game. Then, I Am . . . , Body Ritual Among the Nacirema, and Increasing Multicultural Understanding: Uncovering Stereotypes provide opportunities for introspection and honest discussion about prejudices and stereotypes. Next, Are You Privileged? and White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies explain and provide an opportunity for you to experience the notion of unearned privilege. Since differences can bring out conflict that escalates if ignored, The Emotional Connection of Distinguishing Differences and Conflict addresses this issue. This section closes by providing an opportunity for students to evaluate organizational diversity at their college, university, or workplace and by introducing the reader to an example of how organizational diversity can be well managed with The Pitney Bowes case.
1. Pincus, F.L. (2000). Discrimination comes in many forms: Individual, institutional and structural. Chapter 4, Readings for diversity and social justice: An anthology on racism, sexism, anti-semitism, heterosexism, classism and abelism. Maurianne Adams et al. (eds.) New York: Routledge.
Diversity Today: Fact or Fiction?
Carol P. Harvey
Assumption College, Professor Emerita
Which of the following statements are fact and which statements are fiction?
1. While increasing the diversity of an organization’s workforce may be a good thing to do, in terms of bringing more creativity into the decision-making process, it cannot be proved that a more diverse workforce can make an organization more profitable.
2. The United States leads the world in offering paid paternity leave to new fathers.
3. Finnigan’s, a Minneapolis based beer producer, donates 100% of its profits to feeding the hungry.
4. In a May, 2013 Gallop annual survey of Values and Beliefs, 47 percent of the respondents said that they believed that people are born with their sexual orientation and thirty-three percent said that they believed one’s sexual orientation was caused by one’s upbringing and/or environment.
5. The unemployment rate for persons with disabilities, seeking work, is approximately double that of people without disabilities, seeking work.
6. Since the election of the United States first African American President, racial prejudice has decreased.
7. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Hispanics are the fastest growing race.
8. UNIQLO, Asia’s largest retail and fastest growing clothing chain, which has 1295 locations throughout the world, has a goal of employing at least one physically or mentally challenged employee per store. So far, they have met this goal in 90 percent of their stores.
9. Mentoring can be very important to the careers of diverse employees and the most effective mentoring results from relationships that just develop informally between employees.
10. Bullying occurs more often in the workplace than sexual harassment and most bullies are male.
Jeanne M. Aurelio
Bridgewater State University
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Most Americans in the workforce experience people who are very different from themselves on a daily basis. Those differences certainly include temperament and personality, but also culture, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, age, and size differences. Much is known about the kinds of differences people possess, yet far too much knowledge is available for any single person to know all about diversity. What is needed is openness to differences, and the understanding that everyone’s behavior is partially influenced by their diversity profiles. In the interest of being able to work with others (and they with us), we must continually strive both to educate ourselves on what is known about how and why people are different, and to keep an open mind.
The purpose of the game Diversity! is to provide knowledge about many areas of diversity, plus some information about the U.S. laws regarding these differences. Because the game is played in teams, it will also enable students to get to know one another.
How to Play
1. Choose teams of 4–5 people or more. One team will randomly be chosen to select the first question category and level.
2. All teams will debate their answers internally and one team member will raise a hand or use their assigned team noisemaker when the team is ready. The instructor will call on the first team to respond. If their answer is correct, they will receive the number of points indicated and choose the next question category and level. If their answer is incorrect, the instructor will call upon the second quickest team to respond, and so on.
3. In the event that no team answers the question correctly, the instructor will give the correct response. The team that chose last still has control of the board and should choose the next question. Scores will be recorded and the winning team announced at the end of one or two rounds, depending upon the time available. As the class responds to various questions, make note of those you would like to discuss at the conclusion of the game.
Questions on the game board cover five levels of difficulty. Here are some practice questions at various levels. (Answers appear below in Figure 1-1.) Sally Ride 2. 6,800 3. Islam Figure 1-1 Answers to Practice Questions Level 2: In 1983, this astronaut became the first American woman in space. Level 3: This is the number of languages known to be spoken in the world. Level 4: In cultures that embrace this religion, men may have multiple wives while women must remain monogamous. Discussion Questions After one or two rounds of Diversity! the class should focus upon the following questions intended to stimulate interest and learning. Which of the Diversity! questions would you like to discuss further? What did you learn as a result of this game that you did not know prior to it? In what areas did you notice that you and/or class members were particularly knowledgeable? In what areas did you lack knowledge? What is your reaction to this experience? 5 How do you think this experience ties in with the purpose of your course? Jeanne M. Aurelio, DBA, is a professor of management at Bridgewater State University. She has consulted with numerous corporations and federal agencies on topics including organizational performance, diversity, managerial effectiveness, and performance counseling. Christopher Laib is the assistant director of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth–Student Activities, Involvement & Leadership Office. He has worked in higher education administration for over fifteen years, presenting training sessions dealing with diversity, ethics, and organization/team development. Instructor: To access the DIVERSITY! game, see the online Instructor’s Manual under DIVERSITY! Body Ritual Among the Nacirema Horace Miner *From the American Anthropologist, volume 58, #1, 1956, pp. 18–21. The anthropologist has become so familiar with the diversity of ways in which different peoples behave in similar situations that he is not apt to be surprised by even the most exotic customs. In fact, if all of the logically possible combinations of behavior have not been found somewhere in the world, he is apt to suspect that they must be present in some yet undescribed tribe. This point has, in fact, been expressed with respect to clan organization by Murdock (1948:71). In this light, the magical beliefs and practices of the Nacirema present such unusual aspects that it seems desirable to describe them as an example of the extremes to which human behavior can go. Professor Linton first brought the ritual of the Nacirema to the attention of anthropologists twenty years ago (1936:326), but the culture of this people is still very poorly understood. They are a North American group living in the territory between the Canadian Cree, the Yaqui and Tarahumare of Mexico, and the Carib and Arawak of the Antilles. Little is known of their origin, although tradition states that they came from the east. According to Nacirema mythology, their nation was originated by a culture hero, Notgnihsaw, who is otherwise known for two great feats of strength—the throwing of a piece of wampum across the river Pa-To-Mac and the chopping down of a cherry tree in which the Spirit of Truth resided. Nacirema culture is characterized by a highly developed market economy which has evolved in a rich natural habitat. While much of the people’s time is devoted to economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity. The focus of this activity is the human body, the appearance and health of which loom as a dominant concern in the ethos of the people. While such concern is certainly not unusual, its ceremonial aspects and associated philosophy are unique. The fundamental belief underlying the whole system appears to be that the human body is ugly and that its natural tendency is to debility and disease. Incarcerated in such a body, man’s only hope is to avert these characteristics through the use of the powerful influences of ritual and ceremony. Every household has one or more shrines devoted to this purpose. The more powerful individuals in the society have several shrines in their houses and, in fact, the opulence of a house is often referred to in terms of the number of such ritual centers it possesses. Most houses are of wattle and daub construction, but the shrine rooms of the wealthy are walled with stone. Poorer families imitate the rich by applying pottery plaques to their shrine walls. While each family has at least one shrine, the rituals associated with it are not family ceremonies but are private and secret. The rites are normally only discussed with children, and then only during the period when they are being initiated into these mysteries. I was able, however, to establish sufficient rapport with the natives to examine these shrines and to have the rituals described to me. The focal point of the shrine is a box or chest, which is built into the wall. In this chest are kept the many charms and magical potions without which no native believes he could live. These preparations are secured from a variety of specialized practitioners. The most powerful of these are the medicine men, whose assistance must be rewarded with substantial gifts. However, the medicine men do not provide the curative potions for their clients, but decide what the ingredients should be and then write them down in an ancient and secret language. This writing is understood only by the medicine men and by the herbalists who, for another gift, provide the required charm. The charm is not disposed of after it has served its purpose, but is placed in the charm-box of the household shrine. As these magical materials are specific for certain ills, and the real or imagined maladies of the people are many, the charm-box is usually full to overflowing. The magical packets are so numerous that the people forget what their purposes were and fear to use them again. While the natives are very vague on this point, we can only assume that the idea in retaining all the old magical materials is that their presence in the charm-box, before which the body rituals are conducted, will in some way protect the worshipper. Beneath the charm-box is a small font. Each day every member of the family, in succession, enters the shrine room, bows his head before the charm-box, mingles different sorts of holy waters in the font, and proceeds with a brief ritual of ablution. The holy waters are secured from the Water Temple of the community, where the priests conduct elaborate ceremonies to make the liquid ritually pure. In the hierarchy of magical practitioners, and below the medicine men in prestige, are specialists whose designation is best translated “holy-mouth-men.” The Nacirema have an almost pathological horror of and fascination with the mouth, the condition of which is believed to have a supernatural influence on all social relationships. Were it not for the rituals of the mouth, they believe that their teeth would fall out, their gums bleed, their jaws shrink, their friends desert them, and their lovers reject them. They also believe that a strong relationship exists between oral and moral characteristics. For example, there is a ritual ablution of the mouth for children which is supposed to improve their moral fiber. The daily body ritual performed by everyone includes a mouth-rite. Despite the fact that these people are so punctilious about care of the mouth, this rite involves a practice which strikes the uninitiated stranger as revolting. It was reported to me that the ritual consists of inserting a magic bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powder, and then moving the bundle in a highly formalized series of gestures. In addition to the private mouth-rite, the people seek out the holy-mouth-man once or twice a year. These practitioners have an impressive set of paraphernalia, consisting of a variety of augers, awls, probes, and prods. The use of these objects in the exorcism of the evils of the mouth involves almost unbelievable ritual torture of the client. The holy-mouth-man opens the client’s mouth and, using the above mentioned tools, enlarges any holes, which may have been created in the teeth. Magical materials are put into these holes. If there are no naturally occurring holes in the teeth, large sections of one or more teeth are gouged out so that the supernatural substance can be applied. In the client’s view, the purpose of the ministrations is to arrest decay and to draw friends. The extremely sacred and traditional character of the rite is evident in the fact that the natives return to the holy-mouth-man, despite the fact that their teeth continue to decay. It is to be hoped that, when a thorough study of the Nacirema is made, there will be careful inquiry into the personality structure of these people. One has but to watch the gleam in the eye of a holy-mouth-man, as he jabs an awl into an exposed nerve, to suspect that a certain amount of sadism is involved. If this can be established, a very interesting pattern emerges, for most of the population shows definite masochistic tendencies. It was to these that Professor Linton referred in discussing a distinctive part of the daily body ritual which was performed only by men. This part of the rite involves scraping and lacerating the surface of the face with a sharp instrument. Special women’s rites are performed only four times during each lunar month, but what they lack in frequency is made up for in barbarity. As part of this ceremony, women bake their heads in small ovens for about an hour. The theoretically interesting point is that what seems to be a preponderantly masochistic people have developed sadistic specialists. The medicine men have an imposing temple, or latipso, in every community of any size. The more elaborate ceremonies required to treat very sick patients can only be performed at this temple. These ceremonies involve not only the thaumaturge but a permanent group of vestal maidens who move sedately about the temple chambers in distinctive costume and headdress. The latipso ceremonies are so harsh that it is phenomenal that a fair proportion of the really sick natives who enter the temple ever recover. Small children whose indoctrination is still incomplete have been known to resist attempts to take them to the temple because “that is where you go to die.” Despite this fact, sick adults are not only willing but eager to undergo the protracted ritual purification, if they can afford to do so. No matter how ill the supplicant or how grave the emergency, the guardians of many temples will not admit a client if he cannot give a rich gift to the custodian. Even after one has gained admission and survived the ceremonies, the guardians will not permit the neophyte to leave until he makes still another gift. The supplicant entering the temple is first stripped of all his or her clothes. In everyday life the Nacirema avoids exposure of his body and its natural functions. Bathing and excretory acts are performed only in the secrecy of the household shrine, where they are ritualized as part of the body-rites. Psychological shock results from the fact that body secrecy is suddenly lost upon entry into the latipso. This sort of ceremonial treatment is necessitated by the fact that the excreta are used by a diviner to ascertain the course and nature of the client’s sickness. Female clients, on the other hand, find their naked bodies are subjected to the scrutiny, manipulation, and prodding of the medicine men. Few supplicants in the temple are well enough to do anything but lie on their hard beds. The daily ceremonies, like the rites of the holy-mouth-men, involve discomfort and torture. With ritual precision, the vestals awaken their miserable charges each dawn and roll them about on their beds of pain while performing ablutions, in the formal movements of which the maidens are highly trained. At other times they insert magic wands in the supplicant’s mouth or force him to eat substances which are supposed to be healing. From time to time the medicine men come to their clients and jab magically treated needles into their flesh. The fact that these ceremonies may not cure, and may even kill the neophyte, in no way decreases the people’s faith in the medicine men. There remains one other kind of practitioner, known as a “listener.” This witch-doctor has the power to exorcise the devils that lodge in the heads of people who have been bewitched. The Nacirema believe that parents bewitched their own children. Mothers are particularly suspected of putting a curse on children while teaching them the secret body rituals. The counter-magic of the witch-doctor is unusual in its lack of ritual. The patient simply tells the “listener” all his troubles and fears, beginning with the earliest difficulties he can remember. The memory displayed by the Nacirema in these exorcism sessions is truly remarkable. It is not uncommon for the patient to bemoan the rejection he felt upon being weaned as a babe, and a few individuals even see their troubles going back to the traumatic effects of their own birth. In conclusion, mention must be made of certain practices which have their base in native esthetics but which depend upon the pervasive aversion to the natural body and its functions. There are ritual fasts to make fat people thin and ceremonial feasts to make thin people fat. Still other rites are used to make women’s breasts larger if they are small, and smaller if they are large. General dissatisfaction with breast shape is symbolized in the fact that the ideal form is virtually outside the range of human variation. A few women afflicted with almost inhuman hypermammary development are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee. Reference has already been made to the fact that excretory functions are ritualized, routinized, and relegated to secrecy. Natural reproduction functions are similarly distorted. Intercourse is taboo as a topic and secluded as an act. Efforts are made to avoid pregnancy by the use of magical materials or by limiting intercourse to certain phases of the moon. Conception is actually very infrequent. When pregnant, women dress so as to hide their condition. Parturition takes place in secret, without friends or relatives to assist, and the majority of women do not nurse their infants. Our review of the ritual life of the Nacirema has certainly shown them to be a magic-ridden people. It is hard to understand how they have managed to exist so long under the burdens which they have imposed upon themselves. But even such exotic customs as these take on real meaning when they are viewed with the insight provided by Malinowski when he wrote (1948:70). Looking from far and above, from our high places of safety in developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic. But without its power and guidance, early man could not have advanced to the higher stages of civilization. Bibliography Linton, Ralph. (1936). The study of man. New York: D. Appleton-Century Co. Malinowski, B. (1948). Magic science and religion. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press. Murdock, G. P. (1948). Social structure. New York: The MacMillan Company. Discussion Questions What general message do you think the author was trying to convey in his description of this culture? What stereotypes could you have about the Nacireman culture and its people if this reading were your only source of information? The many strange and interesting rituals observed by Miner led him to conclude that the Nacirema have a strong underlying belief about the human body. What is this belief? Assume that you are carrying on the work of Miner and study the Nacireman culture as it exists now in the twenty-first century. What additional body-related activities could you observe in their culture today? Is Miner’s observation about the preoccupation with body and health still valid today? Explain. Is Miner’s observation about the underlying belief about the human body still valid today? Explain. Describe, as Miner might have, two or more of the body-related activities you listed for question 4(a). How does Miner’s article relate to modern business in terms of outsourcing international business negotiations marketing to growing ethnic populations? On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being very important), how would you rate the appearance and body rituals observed by Miner and by yourself in terms of their importance to personal life? Explain your rating. to the business world? Explain your rating. Other facets of this culture also yield many rituals today. There is, for example, WIKI, a ritual that appears to involve belief in magic. Student Naciremans trade information with each other in this ritual. They believe that when they read a WIKI, whatever it says, it is indeed fact. Somehow, WIKIs magically hold all-knowing truths. How might this ritual relate to prejudice and stereotypes? Vast numbers of individual Naciremans also conduct a Ritual of Networking using magic boxes to weave social “webs.” They exchange pictures of themselves and much personal information with strangers on their webs. “Participants” of the Networking ritual seem to constantly check their webs and respond to them. They walk around webbing; they eat with their boxes and check their webs during meals. The magic boxes are always nearby even when Naciremans are in their shrines devoted to health and appearance ceremonies. It is said that some even sleep with their boxes. This appears to be very ego-centered activity. What does this say about how people in this culture relate to each other? Nacireman market economy also has rituals. Among these is the Business-Hiring ritual. In this ritual, business chiefs check the social webs of those desiring to join their tribes before hiring (sometimes even before interviewing) a position-seeker. Business chiefs do not appear to favor position-seekers who have social webs that indicate values and beliefs different from their own. This is not a secret. It is actually a very curious thing: Large numbers of Naciremans insist upon conducting the social web ritual even though they know that business chiefs may very well disapprove. Business chiefs appear to belong to a different group within this society. When a “participant” is both employment-seeking and networking at the same time, hiring rituals assume great importance. How might the Ritual of the Social Networking help or hurt a position-seeker? How do these clashing rituals reflect the values of the position-seekers and the business chiefs? Participants in the modern Nacireman market economy sometimes create relationships that only exist electronically. They create groups called “Virtual Teams” whose members never meet each other in person. Considering the rituals of Networking, WIKI, and Virtual Teams, what stereotypes might strangers have about Nacireman culture if these three rituals were their only source of information?
Increasing Multicultural Understanding: Uncovering Stereotypes John R. Bowman University of North Carolina at Pembroke Instructions Prior to Class Turn to the Uncovering Stereotypes Worksheet: (Worksheet A). Follow your instructor’s directions for completing the blank category boxes that reflect different special populations. Working individually: Complete the First Thought/Judgment column by writing your first thought about or judgment of each category. Refer to the example given on Worksheet A. Rate each thought/judgment as positive (+), negative (–), or neutral (0) and enter these ratings in the Rating column. Complete the Sources column by indicating the source of your judgment for each category. Instructions for Working as a Group In Class: Turn to the Uncovering Stereotypes Group Summary Sheet: (Worksheet B). Five categories (Family, Media, Experience, Work Experience, Friends) have already been listed on the summary sheet. Add additional categories (derived from your group discussions) to the sheet. Take a quick count of the number of positive, negative, and neutral thoughts/judgments made by your group for each of the Source Categories and enter totals on the last line. As a class, discuss which sources lead to positive, which to negative, and which to neutral judgments. Discuss the implications of having negative or positive stereotypes/judgments from different perspectives; for example, among workers, between managers and workers, and at the corporate level. *(+) = positive (–) = negative (0) = neutral
Diversity on the Web Take and score the multicultural quiz found on the website below. Think about your score on this quiz and your responses to Bowman’s “Uncovering Stereotypes” exercise. What are your primary sources of information about social identity groups that you do not belong to? How accurate is your knowledge about these groups? How could a lack of correct information contribute to the formation of stereotypes? http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/quizzes.html
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