With protests and discussions over Racism and Discrimination happening all over, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to participate. A good way to start is to refresh your understanding of the terms and concepts.
You can’t be part of a meaningful conversation and contribute to the solution if you don’t have a grasp of the concepts and a functional vocabulary.
To this end, we’ve compiled a diversity glossary to bring you into the conversation and help you become part of the solution.
Understanding the Terminology
Merriam-Webster defines Intolerance as being “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression, especially in religious matters: unwilling to grant or share social, political or professional rights.”
Wikipedia defines Racism as “the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioural traits corresponding to physical appearance, and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another.”
Wikipedia defines Discrimination as “the act of making distinctions between human beings based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they are perceived to belong.”
Discrimination occurs when individuals or groups are treated “in a way which is worse than the way people are usually treated; on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in certain groups or social categories.”
Wikipedia defines Prejudice as “an affective feeling towards a person based on their perceived group membership. The word is often used to refer to a preconceived, usually unfavourable, evaluation of another person based on that person’s political affiliation, sex, gender, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, beauty, occupation, education, criminality, sports team affiliation or other personal characteristics.”
Merriam-Webster defines a Bigot as “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.”
Wikipedia describes Police Brutality as “a civil rights violation where officers exercise undue or excessive force against a subject. This includes, but is not limited to, physical or verbal harassment, physical or mental injury, property damage, and death.”
Wikipedia defines Systemic or Institutional Racism as “a form of Racism which is embedded as a normal practice within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as Discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other issues.”
Wikipedia defines Injustice as “unfairness or undeserved outcomes. The term may be applied in reference to a particular event or situation, or to a larger status quo. The sense is usually felt in relation to human action such as misuse, abuse, neglect, or malfeasance that is uncorrected or else sanctioned by a legal system or fellow human beings.”
How To Be Part of the Solution
If we look at the opposite, constructive side of the spectrum, and consider solutions, we need to understand the following concepts.
Wikipedia defines Dignity as “the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically.”
The Human Rights Commission defines Equality as “ensuring every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.”
“It is also the belief that no one should have poorer life chances because of the way they were born, where they come from, what they believe, or whether they have a disability.”
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) define Diversity as “the collective mixture of differences and similarities that include individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviours.”
The SHRM defines Inclusion in the same article as ”the achievement of an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.”
The Cambridge dictionary defines Tolerance as “a willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them.”
AllBusiness defines Respectful Communication as “the ability to effectively assert your own views and fully listen to the views of others.”
During my research, I found several comprehensive resources to check out:
- Review Yale’s Diversity Glossary here
- University of British Columbia offers its Diversity Glossary here
- The University of Washington’s Glossary can be found here
- If you want to dive into this topic, there are over 2,500 Diversity Resources listed here
- Forbes published a practical article on 13 Ways to Educate Employees on Diversity here
- For owners of very small businesses, here’s an article with excellent suggestions to consider
Thoughts to Consider
After reviewing these definitions and contemplating their meanings, I find it disturbing we’re still struggling with these issues. The alternatives seem so reasonable, and yet here we are in the thick of it. Could it be that Ignorance, Intolerance, Scarcity Thinking and Greed are the roots of our social dysfunction?
I’m left wondering whether we’re missing something obvious. Kids don’t normalize hate until they learn it from friends and family. It takes social role modelling to corrupt their hearts and minds. Perhaps the real failure is within our education system. Should we be doing more to street proof kids and teach them how to address these issues constructively?
I know I did not receive formal diversity training until I was in my mid-twenties and thirties. And then it was a part of my communication and leadership training. Why not teach this in elementary school?
How do we preserve our kid’s inherent intelligence? How do we train them to expect Tolerance and Inclusion from those in power; then alert authority when confronted with the opposite?
How do we decontaminate our institutions and ourselves through training, exposure, and personal development?
How then do we combat Intolerance within our most revered institutions, without fostering more Intolerance or throwing the babies out with their bathwater?
As a small business owner, how do Diversity and Tolerance shape your hiring, culture, marketing and customer experience?
What Do You Think?
Even though Diversity Training is not my practice area, I believe it is a crucial leadership conversation that directly relates to marketing, experience design, brand values, staffing, customer service and more. If you have the expertise, experience, resources or constructive thoughts to share, please do so in the comments area below.