Diversity Skills That Work At Work


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Diversity Skills That Work At Work

  1. 1. OUR DIVERSITY PRINCIPLES 1. We recognize that “diversity” refers to the many identities and cultures within our society and within an individual, including race, ethnicity, gender, social class, immigration history, religion, sexual orientation and other identities. Each of these identities has its own culture. 2. Because of our experience as an immigrant and refugee-serving agency, our entry point to diversity discussions may be ethnoracial diversity; however, we acknowledge the overlapping nature of the above identities, and the importance of understanding the impact of them all. 3. We see building diversity awareness and skills as a two-way process. On the one hand, we aim to help people of different identities navigate cultural differences they encounter in mainstream society (and in particular the workplace), and on the other hand we help mainstream society transform to embrace the rich cultural differences that people of different identities bring. 4. We have a responsibility to act in helping to change oppressive behaviours like racism, sexism and classism that present barriers to the success and well-being of community members. This is part of our vision of inclusiveness, and truly opens the doors to diversity. 5. We take an approach to anti-oppression work that is based on the belief that oppressive ideologies like racism, sexism and classism are learned, not inherent. We can educate people in a constructive and caring way, without attacking or blaming them for the ideas that they have absorbed from their environment. 6. We believe that personal story sharing is an important and powerful educational tool for diversity work, and that the expression of emotion that comes with story sharing is a natural, positive thing. We can be a helpful resource to each other as we share experiences in a caring and supportive environment.
  2. 2. The Do’s and Don’t’s of Supportive Listening DON’T • Get distracted • Tell your own story • Give premature advice • Interview the person about what you want to know DO • Have a friendly, interested expression • Have attentive body posture appropriate to the culture • Use eye contact or avoid eye contact as culturally appropriate • Use attentive, encouraging sounds and words • Only ask questions that take the person further down their path LISTENING PARTNERS: Take the available time, and divide it in half. Use a timer. Decide who will speak first, about whatever is one their mind. While the first person speaks, the other person does supportive listening. When the timer goes off, the two people switch roles. Great for reducing stress, and helping people think clearly about things. Developed for the Skills for Change Diversity Program 2009-09-09 with acknowledgements to The National Coalition Building Institute, and Re-evaluation Counseling
  3. 3. EXpect that there will be cultural differences and equity dynamics in the workplace and community. -don’t assume your way is the only way, and that others’ ways are faulty approximations of yours -anticipate that what you see as “normal” isn’t necessarily normal to other people -know that equity issues exist, and affect you and everyone else EXplore differences with an attitude of openness and curiosity. -investigate your own values, assumptions and biases -invite others to tell you how they see the world and what they have experienced in their identity groups -do your research; listen to people non-judgmentally and try to find the logic in their cultures and in your own EXpress underlying assumptions that might not normally come to light. -try to articulate why you do and think the things you do -help others to do the same -don’t worry about making mistakes – you will; just be ready to apologize for them -start a dialogue to build closer relationships and better understanding EXpand your view of the world, yourself and others. -don’t hold on rigidly to your assumptions and ways of doing things – be ready to change -enjoy trying out new behaviours and views -reach out to all kinds of people Skills for Change 2009