Chapter 11 Outline

Chapter 11: Diversity, Tolerance, and Respect

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Observe the people you go to school with and notice each individual has specific beliefs, ethnicities, values and qualities. Chapter 11 will help you understand the importance of diversity in all areas of your life. We must embrace these differences.

I. Appreciating Diversity and Practicing Tolerance in Your Personal Life

It is imperative to learn tolerance in today’s world. Intolerance of diversity has become less and less acceptable.

a. Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination. People tend to make snap judgments based on stereotypes. This is called prejudice, which can be both positive and negative. When we act on our prejudices, we are engaging in discrimination.

b. What is Tolerance? Every person on earth is different and we should not expect our society to be made of people exactly like ourselves. Tolerance is extending the same respect to everyone that we would like for ourselves.

c. How Do I Practice Tolerance in My Personal Life? An effective way to practice tolerance is to eliminate diversity. Take time to understand people around you and approach situations with an open mind. Always practice the Golden Rule. Tolerance can open you to new friendships and cultural experiences but also help you lesson tensions and avoid conflict.

i. Don’t bring up any controversial topics and don’t allow yourself to be drawn in to any heated conversations

ii. Be polite and courteous to everyone

iii. Avoid telling ethnic, sexist, political or otherwise biased jokes

iv. Follow your mother’s advice, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

II. Diversity on Campus

If tolerance is practiced in your personal life, it will naturally do the same in your educational arena; however, schools are proving to be one of the lease tolerant areas of society. College should be a place where ideas can be exchanged without fear, judgment or bias. Nationality and gender bias are very detrimental.

a. Is That a GIRL in My Lab? Technical colleges have primarily been for men in the past and women are working to gain respect and acceptance. This must be addressed at the college level if it will be conquered in the workforce. If you struggle with intolerance, ask yourself the following questions.

i. Why do I feel threatened by that person’s presence in my class?

ii. Am I acting fairly toward that person?

iii. Use the Sunlight Test

iv. What do I gain from acting out intolerance?

v. What if it were me?

b. I Can’t Understand What You’re Saying. Tolerance means accepting the language differences of other nationalities. College campuses will have any number of languages and accents that might be unfamiliar. If you can’t understand them, don’t be rude, but put yourself in their shoes. If an instructor is difficult to understand, ask he or she to print class notes for everyone.

c. Watch Your Words. Words are powerful and can ruin relationships forever. Here are three no-no’s to help make sure your words are positive.

i. Avoid racial, gender and sexual-orientation stereotyping. Broad, sweeping stereotypes and generalizations can be very hurtful and seldom true.

ii. Avoid sexist language. Be careful that what you say cannot be taken as sexist or inappropriate.

iii. Avoid racial slurs and epithets. Familiarize yourself with the socially accepted terminology. Using these insulting words are hurtful and can also make the user sound ignorant.

III. The Diverse, Non-Hostile Workplace

Diversity is distinct or unlike elements. The Title VII Civil Rights Act was established in 1964 to prohibit discrimination in the workplace, whether based on race, nationality, gender, sexual discrimination, religion or disabilities.

a. What Should I Do if I am Harassed or Discriminated Against? Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, religion, nationality, disability or age. Harassment becomes unlawful when:

i. Enduring the conduct becomes a condition of continued employment

ii. Conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment

Offensive conduct can include but is not limited to:

1. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker or a non-employee.

2. The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct

3. Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

If you believe you are a victim of harassment, do the following:

1. Document

2. Begin your ladder of escalation

3. File a formal complaint with your human resources department.

4. Contact your state’s workforce agency

5. Consult an attorney

6. File a claim with the EEOC

b. How Can I Avoid Harassing Others? Fellow employees can be sued for discrimination or harassment. A wise employee will make sure to do the following.

i. Review the Watch Your Own Words tips in our previous section

ii. Respect other people’s personal space

iii. Censor your e-mails and keep private mail off your company computer

We must be increasingly aware of the consequences of a hostile workplace. When people look for similarities, they will find common interests, goals and motivations that will create alliances instead of just situations of tolerance.

Tying It Up

Tolerance might seem complicated, but all in all, it is as basic as creating an environment of mutual respect.