Managing diversity and demographical changes in the workplace presents many dilemmas. Confronted with constant change, management, business educators, and organizational consultants continue to meet the challenges of a new and diverse workforce in a number of ways. Diversity can be defined in numerous ways. Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all inclusive and recognizes every individual and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, gender, ethnicity, age, national origin, religion and disability, but may include sexual orientation, values, personality, education, language, physical appearance, marital status, socioeconomic status, religion and so forth.
All these characteristics can impact an individual’s attitude and behavior toward people that evolves around him and toward the general public on a daily basis. In this paper, we will examine how ethnicity, differences in skills/abilities, occupation and personality traits impact the behavior of people in society and/or how it can impact my own behavior as well.
Many people have a very shallow view of racial and ethnic diversity. They see it as simply the belief that one race is superior to another. It is much more than that. It is a fundamental (and fundamentally wrong) view of human nature. Racism is the notion that one’s race determines one’s identity. It is the belief that one’s convictions, values, ideology, and character are determined not by the judgment of one’s mind but by one’s anatomy or “blood.” This view causes people to be condemned or praised based on their racial membership. In turn, it leads them to condemn or praise others on the same basis. In fact, one can gain an authentic sense of pride only from one’s own achievements, not from inherited genetic characteristics. The spread of racism requires the destruction of an individual’s confidence in his own mind. Such an individual then enthusiastically seeks a sense of identity by clinging to some group, abandoning his authentic sense of his own ethnicity.
I, on the other hand, have much respect for the multi-ethnic groups among our society. I was born and raised as a Jewish Orthodox and am now more of a mix between a Conservative and a Modern Orthodox Jew. While growing up, I was instilled to respect and not condemn a culture of another kind even though I was constantly ridiculed throughout grade school by my fellow classmates of my ethnic background. That unceasing mockery made me feel insecure about who I was and where I came from.
As I got older, my insecurity changed to a positive nature because of the sense of belonging in an environment where everyone came from the very same ethnic background at the private yeshiva for girls where I was enrolled for the duration of my high school years. I was constantly exposed to the multifarious cultures in our society due to leading a life of living in two worlds, my religious environment with my family in one and my socialization with my deaf friends who came from a variety of ethnic background in another. For what I was exposed with growing up has brought my sense of understanding and respect for ethnicity into perspective. I love learning about others and sharing about mine as well as long as the feelings are mutual. The way I behave affects others’ behaviors towards me. This allows for an amicable and friendly relationship with my fellow peers personally and professionally.
With respect to the differences in maintaining skills and abilities, an individual’s behavior can be impacted by its own capabilities or lack thereof. Awareness of one’s physical ability and skill can enhance how one behaves. Maintaining skills is a learned power of doing something competently such as speaking fluently using proper form of language or the memory of mixing drinks. Maintaining abilities is the natural aptitude or acquired proficiency such as a positive attitude or “common sense”.
Being deaf may prevent me from being able to hear or utilize my listening skills; however, it definitely does not hinder me from using my visual skills and the ability to observe. The loss of hearing has gained me