In my last post, I introduced the second diversity competency, diversity knowledge. Individuals with a significant level of diversity knowledge possess information about diverse cultures and groups, including information regarding communication and learning styles. They understand how various issues of diversity affect the workplace, the work environment and interactions between culturally different persons. There are many steps you can take to enhance your diversity knowledge:
1. Take a cultural diversity class. There are many classes, seminars and workshops that provide information on different cultural groups and/or diversity topics. You can identify an appropriate class through a local college, community organization or your place of work.
2. Read a diversity-based book, magazine or article. Likewise, there are many books, journals and periodicals that provide information on a wide variety of diversity issues, topics and cultural groups.
3. Share information about your cultural heritage with others. Revealing information about your cultural background and experiences can be a powerful tool for building stronger relationships. It helps your colleagues better understand who you are as a human being, and encourages them to be more open about themselves.
4. Participate in the holiday celebration of a culturally different group. Whatever your cultural background, you undoubtedly have celebrations, holidays and events specific to your group. For example, African Americans have Kwanzaa, Latinos celebrate Cinco de Mayo and people of Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah. Learn more about the culture and traditions of other groups by participating in one of their celebrations.
5. Visit a cultural museum. There are many types of museums you can visit that will provide you with an opportunity to meet a diverse array of individuals, and learn more about the background and experiences of different cultural groups.
6. Visit a culturally different church. Attend service at a church with a diverse racial or ethnic composition. You will have an opportunity to interact with a wide range of individuals in a pleasant social setting.
7. Write an article on a diversity topic of interest. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a prolific author. Just identify an appropriate publication such as your local paper, a website or a newsletter. Write a brief article that describes a diversity holiday, a cultural practice or lists upcoming diversity events. It’s a great way to learn and to help others increase their diversity knowledge.
8. Develop a list of diversity websites and resources. By doing a little Internet research, you can identify dozens of organizations, websites and companies dedicated to diversity programs and information. Compile a list of these resources and share it with your colleagues and co-workers. Type ‘Diversity Resources’ in any Internet browser to get started.
NEXT POST – February 10, 2009
The 8 Competencies of Diversity #3: Multicultural Communication