Diversity-mistreatment

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Please respond to questions from both of the following scenarios:

  • An individual who looks different than you (color, age, ethnicity, disability, or orientation) comes into your favorite dining establishment. Some of the restaurant staff treat him or her poorly, providing lesser service to the individual. You hear snide (off-color) remarks being made by staff and fellow patrons. What action do you take?

  • Similar scenario, though instead of a restaurant, it is coworkers mistreating a coworker who is visibly different than they are. What actions would you take, and why? Please explain.

Unit Resources Chapter 8: Native Americans and Multi-Racial Group Members, pp. 226-242

Unit Lesson

Prejudice and Discrimination A teenage girl walks into a privately owned coffee bar. Within a few minutes, several people are in line behind her. Her turn comes, and the barista passes right over her and helps the customer behind her. She realizes the place is busy and does not say anything at first. The barista continues to help the people behind her in line. Nobody stands up for the girl. The other patrons receive their orders. After several customers after her are helped, the teenage girl asks the barista to take her order. The barista ignores her. The other baristas making drinks observe what is going on and say nothing. She tries again to get the barista to take her order. The barista ignores her. She exits the line. As she looks around, she is the only person whose appearance looks to be of her heritage in the coffee bar. A sign over the register states: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” She gets several sideways glances as she walks out of the shop. Discrimination and prejudice come in all shapes and sizes. Bias and separation are available in all colors, genders, and cultures. Misperceptions, assumptions, and justifications can be faulty. How we choose to understand those who appear or behave differently will have a greater impact on ourselves and those around us. An infant does not innately hate or judge others at birth. The infant will learn through his or her senses what is acceptable. As the child grows, he or she will learn based on experiences and social influencers. These influencers will be parents, relatives, and care providers. The young child will learn through observation of those who are part of his or her community and society. The child will learn how to treat others or what will be expected from media. From these outlets, the individual will begin to formulate his or her own model of beliefs. Children will form opinions and insights based on those around them. Their teachers, after-school caregivers, and coaches shape their thinking. If we hold someone up as if they are of greater value than ourselves, we will emulate this person’s life. If we do not know people or what they are like, we will compare them to what we know (Heck & Krueger, 2016). It is from this comparison that we will form our perception. The person born after 1945 in the United States does not know what a World War is like—other than what he or she reads or studies. The young person born in late 2001 or later only knows a world after the events of 9/11. He or she only knows the United States in the War on Terror. The individual born in a small village that is remote to general society in Korea will only know this way of life. He or she may be told that those living in cities are out to hurt or cheat people. The individual from the country will bring this perspective and be prone to be suspect of anyone from the city. The child living in rural parts of the South in the 1950s and 60s may not have known that people who are not White are of equal value. Unless taught there was a difference, these children would assume they were equal. Many times, parents or influential adults of these children would demonstrate a segregated behavior of inequality. When individuals were questioned as to why they thought this way, their response would often be that it was the way they were raised. If it was good enough for them, it is good enough for their children. The world has shifted the paradigm from 60 years ago. Society, community, and business are viewed very differently regarding treatment of people with diverse backgrounds. The uniqueness of that which brings new perspective can either unify or divide us. Those willing to challenge old paradigms will add to the potential for greater opportunity for all that will risk, step out, and step up (Heck & Krueger, 2016). Those who hold to old ways of thinking will hold to their core foundations, maintaining a line of expectancy. Consider this story: A middle-aged couple was driving through a little community. They stopped in front of a small store where some older locals were standing. The husband asked the men what the community was like. One of the older men asked, “What is it like where you are from?” The husband replied, “The people were great. I loved the people around us. Everyone was friendly. We were sorry we had to leave.” The older man replied, “You would like it here. Everyone is friendly. We help each other. This is truly a wonderful place to live.” The couple thanked the man and drove off. An hour later, another couple is driving through the small community and stops to ask the older local men what the community is like. The older man asked, “What was it like where you came from?” The husband replied, “It was horrible. The people were mean and self-centered. The wrong kind of people moved in and destroyed the community. We could not wait to leave.” The older man stated, “You may as well keep driving; this community is also filled with those kinds of people.” The story illustrates that we are impacted and influenced by our perceptions of those around us. As young children, if we are not exposed to people of different nationalities, cultures, or religions, then our sphere of understanding is that of which we know. If the influencers who have a solid impact on our thinking show bias or prejudice, we may not know it because we will understand this as normal behavior until that understanding and perception are challenged. Media and advocacy groups speak of diversity and inclusion or synthesis of culture, race, and religion. Society talks of bringing people together, yet the same message that unites us is driving us apart. Those who were raised around many varied cultures and personalities will be established in adjusting to increased inclusion and change. Even these individuals may have their own bias based on previous learning and experience. The individual that grew up in an environment of sameness may see inclusion differently. It would be easy to judge what appears to be a simple life of sameness. The reality might be that a community can also see people by their position or personality rather than color, religion, or race Discrimination is often cited as a racial issue. The truth is, discrimination is a form of division based on far more. Some areas of prejudice are rich and poor, well-educated and less-educated, rural and metropolitan, and even inner city and suburban. Judgement is rendered based on each and every one of these areas (Heck & Krueger, 2016). How we respond to others in these different areas will vary based on understanding, perception, and past experience.

The different areas shared will carry a value—either high or low. Add to this race, culture, and religion, and the issues are further exacerbated. Further issues arise when we consider if we are competing or working with team members who are dissimilar from us, and there is a predetermined interpretation of the other team members based on this perspective. The professional matter can quickly become very personal. All organizations, large or small, have an environment, working culture, and understanding (whether spoken or unspoken) regarding how things exist. When this understanding is challenged by changes in process, team members, or stakeholders, there will be resistance to the perceived source of change (Bell, 2017). The individual who can bring innovation and creativity to a team may be seen as a troublemaker because of his or her radical ideas and background (Yen, 2005). The lesson has been more of a sociology tutorial than directly related to business based on a surface review. As we contemplate the deeper learning and meta-message, we can see the value here concerning how each individual brings bias, prejudice, and discrimination based on what he or she knows. Discrimination and prejudice are not the root of hate and inequality in business or society. Because an individual loves Ford and would not purchase a Chevrolet, this does not mean he or she hates Chevy. There may well be respect for the Chevy even though he or she is partial to the Ford. Some individuals may prefer city life and think less of those in the suburbs or in rural areas. They may have an understanding of these individuals who live a very different life than what the others know. They choose the city while others would not ever consider the city because they see city people as something other than country people or suburbanites. The straight, White, Anglo-Saxon male Protestant who grew up in Los Angeles, California, may have difficulty understanding the perspective of the Caribbean-born atheist female living in St. Barts and vice versa. Both may be gurus at software development or sales, but they come from different places and experiences. To quote a scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Hermione, a wizard who did not come from a wizard family, is called a filthy mud blood by Draco (Rowling, 1999). He is referring to her being less of a wizard because of her non-wizard bloodline. Hagrid, in a scene soon after this, explains there is hardly anyone who is not some degree of muggle and mud blood. The scene demonstrates a situation we see today in society and in the workplace. Can we tell the bloodline of any person by just looking at the individual? The lines are increasingly blurred. Nationality is not determined solely by color. An individual born in the United States could be dark skinned, light skinned, or somewhere in between. An individual born in South Africa could be dark skinned, light skinned, or somewhere in between. A very light-skinned individual may have a heritage of Hispanic, Portuguese, and Chinese on one side of the family while the other side is English, Dutch, and Syrian. Families who are third generation U.S. citizens may still celebrate the holidays of their ancestry even though they have been in the United States for generations. Discrimination and prejudice serve a purpose in society and organizations, but organizations must not be left unchecked without learning or understanding an ever-changing paradigm of inclusion, assimilation, and advancement of building a stronger society (Bell, 2017). Change and continuing adjustment to work climate, population, and technology require greater insight, study, and acceptance.

References

Bell, M. P. (2017). Diversity in organizations (3rd ed.). Cengage Learning.

Heck, P. R., & Krueger, J. I. (2016). Social perception of self-enhancement bias and error. Social Psychology, 47, 327–339. doi:10.1027/1864-9335/a000287

Joseluis89. (2013, February 12). Affirmative action supreme court demonstration 2003.png [Photograph]. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Affirmative_Action_supreme_court_demonstration_2003.jpg

Rowling, J. K. (1999). Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets. Scholastic.

Yen, H. (2005, December 8). Poll: Bias at work for 1 in 6. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pollbias-at-work-for-1-in-6/

Instructions

Please respond to questions from both of the following scenarios:

· An individual who looks different than you (color, age, ethnicity, disability, or orientation) comes into your favorite dining establishment. Some of the restaurant staff treat him or her poorly, providing lesser service to the individual. You hear snide (off-color) remarks being made by staff and fellow patrons. What action do you take?

· Similar scenario, though instead of a restaurant, it is coworkers mistreating a coworker who is visibly different than they are. What actions would you take, and why? Please explain.

Your journal entry must be at least 200 words. No references or citations are necessary.

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