8 Things NEVER to Say to a Mixed-Race Colleague

November 13, 2008


In my last post, I introduced an article written by Yoji Cole that describes “9 Things NEVER to Say to White Colleagues”.  Here is another article by Yogi from the series at www.diversityinc.com.  This article describes 8 things you should never say to a mixed-race colleague:

1.  “What are you?”

2.  “What is your nationality?” or “You look foreign”

3.  “You’re all beautiful” or “You make beautiful babies”

4.  “Are you X or Y?” or “Which side are you more on?”

5.  “How in the world did your parents meet?”

6.  “You’re the future” or “You have the best of both worlds”

7.  “You don’t look …” or “You’re not …” or “You sound white”

8.  “Aren’t we all mixed anyway?”

Remember to visit www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay to read the full article.

NEXT POST – November 18, 2008

9 Things NEVER to Say to White Colleagues

November 10, 2008


Greetings, in today’s post I describe another article from the series at www.diversityinc.com describing ‘things NEVER to say’.  Today’s article is written by Yoji Cole and describes 9 things you should never say to your white colleagues.  I find this article particularly interesting and insightful because it addresses some of the destructive stereotypes people of color often hold regarding Caucasians:

1.  “You’re a carpet-bagger” or “Why is a white guy doing this?”

2.  “You’re not diverse”

3.  “There’s no way you as a white person can understand”

4.  White men are automatically “in the corporate in-crowd”

5.  “You’re just a typical white person”

6.  “You KNOW you’re being racist”

7.  “You talk about us when we’re not around”

8.  “You’ve got all the money”

9.  “I don’t like white people” or “I don’t get white people”

I strongly urge you to visit www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay to get a description of each of these statements in Yoji Cole’s full article.  I think you will find it quite interesting.  In my next post, I will highlight another Yoji Cole article.  This one focuses on communicating with people who have a mixed cultural background.

NEXT POST – November 13, 2008

8 Things NEVER to Say to a Mixed-Race Colleague

10 Things NEVER to Say to a Black Coworker

November 4, 2008


Greetings – today I am highlighting another article from the series at www.diversityinc.com describing ‘things NEVER to say’.  Today’s article is written by Eric Hinton and describes 10 things you should never say to a black coworker:

1.  “You’re so articulate”

2.  “Is that your real hair?”

3.  “You people”

4.  “Do you eat a lot of ______________?”

5.  “Why are you so angry?”

6.  “Why are you acting white?”

7.  “You don’t sound black over the phone”

8.  “I don’t think of you as black”

9.  “You graduated from where?”

10.  The N-word

Visit www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay to get a description of each of these statements from Eric Hinton’s full article.

Next Post – November 10, 2008

9 Things NEVER to Say to White Colleagues

Things NEVER to Say to American Indian Coworkers

October 31, 2008


Greetings – in my last post, I introduced an excellent source of information regarding “things Never to say” for a variety of cultural groups (www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay).  In today’s post, I list things NEVER to say to American Indian coworkers from Daryl C. Hannah’s article:

1.  “Hey Chief”

2.  “Squaw”

3.  “How Indian are you?”

4.  “Hold down the fort”

5.  “Do you live in a teepee?”

6.  “Pow-wow”

7.  “Climbing the totem pole” or “Low man on the totem pole”

8.  “Indian-giver”

9.  “That’s a nice costume”

Visit www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay to read Daryl Hannah’s full article and review the explanation for each of these statements.

NEXT POST – November 4, 2008

10 Things Never to Say to a Black Coworker by Eric Hinton

Things NEVER to Say

October 28, 2008


Back in September, I authored 3 posts that described 7 things you should never do if you want to avoid offending others and enhance communication in culturally diverse settings (How to Avoid Offending Others: Parts 1-3).  With that theme in mind, I have come across several articles that describe Things NEVER to Say at www.diversityinc.com.  In my next few posts, I will provide lists of these ‘things never to say’ to Black, American Indian, LGBT and Caucasian coworkers, as well as Asian-American, Latino and Women executives. 

For the full articles, visit www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay.  I think you will find them quite interesting.  First up, Zayda Rivera’s Things NEVER to Say to Women Executives:

1.  Any kind of sexual comment

2.  “You don’t really want that promotion.  You’ll never see your kids.”

3.  “You’ll get the job because you are a woman.” or “You must be the token woman.”

4.  “What’s the matter, is it that time of the month?”

5.  “You’re very attractive (or pretty or beautiful etc.)”

6.  “You look great for your age.” or Do you use Botox?”

7.  “You do that so well…for a girl.”

8.  “When are you due?”

Remember to visit www.diversityinc.com/thingsnottosay to read her full article.

NEXT POST – October 31, 2008

Things NEVER to Say to American Indian Coworkers

by Daryl C. Hannah

Become a Better Listener: Part 3

October 23, 2008


Here are the final 4 steps you can take to overcome the barriers to effective listening:

1.  Make sure your conversations take place at a time and place where you feel comfortable talking.  If you are in a rush, defer the conversation until later.   This will minimize external noise (e.g. interruptions).

2.  Focus on the speaker by making a conscious effort to listen.  Actually say to yourself, “For the next five minutes, I am only going to listen”.

3.  Pay attention to nonverbal clues from the speaker such as body posture, facial expression and gestures (e.g., hand movements).  This is significant because much of the content from the speaker’s message may derive from unspoken communication.

4.  Have patience and be willing to let the speaker take some time to get his or her message across.  Once again, this becomes especially important during multicultural communication.  For example, if you are interacting with someone for whom English is the second language, it is important to listen patiently and give the person a chance to get his or her message across without any interruptions.  Because the person is not speaking in his or her native tongue, additional time may be needed to effectively communicate the message.  It’s during times like these that you really need to be patient.

NEXT POST – October 28, 2008

Become a Better Listener: Part 2

October 20, 2008


Here is another step you can take to improve your ability to listen:

Utilize good nonverbal behavior to demonstrate to the speaker that you are focused on his or her message.  You can effectively manage your nonverbal behavior with the S.O.L.E.R. Technique.  This stands for Square, Open, Lean, Eye Contact, and Relaxed.  Square refers to facing your communication partner directly, with your shoulders parallel to each other.  This allows you to observe nonverbal behavior more effectively.  While doing this, you should maintain an open posture (e.g., don’t fold your arms across your chest), and keep the space between you and your partner open as well (e.g., avoid talking across desks or tables).  While seated, it helps to lean slightly forward.  This demonstrates to the other person that you are genuinely interested in what he or she has to say.  It also helps you focus on the speaker’s message more effectively.  You can also maintain eye contact, although it is important to note that there is a strong cultural element in eye contact.  For example, in some cultures, direct eye contact is taboo, especially between two people of unequal status (e.g., a manager and an employee).  In this situation, direct eye contact from the person of lower status can be seen as disrespectful.  Finally, it is important to try to maintain a relaxed state during all of your interactions.  This is particularly important during cross-cultural exchanges because they often increase our anxiety level.

NEXT POST – October 23, 2008

Become a Better Listener: Part 3