Valuing Diversity

West Virginia Community Educational Outreach Service Conference October 12 – 14, 2004 WVU Jackson’s Mill

Larry LeFlore, Ph.D. Director and Professor Families and Health Program West Virginia University Extension Service

Valuing Diversity
Valuing Diversity— An Operational Definition

Valuing Diversity
Valuing diversity is what institutions and members of communities do to acknowledge the benefits of their differences and similarities. They work to build sustainable relationships among people and institutions with diverse memberships.

and physical disability. sexual orientation. 2002) . ethnicity. (American Psychological Association.Valuing Diversity A community that values diversity ensures that institutions provide equal treatment and access to resources and decisions for all community members regardless of race.

Valuing Diversity In order to value diversity. and other forms of oppression. . sexism. homophobia. a community must strengthen its ability to: Continuously and effectively address racism. Develop and implement strategies that publicly recognize the cultural traditions and practices of every major group.

privilege. Understand the dynamics between a group’s characteristics and issues related to power. PsyNet. while at the same time. 2003) . and oppression and know how to integrate the knowledge into its valuing diversity strategies.Valuing Diversity (cont.) Support processes that allow each group to address their own priorities. help the different groups find common ground to address shared concerns. (American Psychological Association.

Valuing diversity is a critical competency for leadership in today’s society. Effective management Building a capacity for trust Acknowledging other groups’ contributions to the greatness of this society .

” (Renzentti and Currin. . given the diversity of cultures that are found in this country alone.Diverse Groups: “ . it seems more appropriate to emphasize the phenomenon of multiculturalism than to speculate about a single world culture. . 1998) .

The world is much smaller and connected than ever before. .Multiculturalism Multiculturalism is a more contemporary term/concept used to emphasize the fact that many groups have played significant roles in the cultural development and advancement of this country. The concept begs for the recognition of historical and contemporary contributions of the diverse cultural groups in our society. They should be respected for and appreciated for their cultural practices and experiences.

Census estimates for the United States’ population in 2050 suggest the following representation: < 1% 8% 25% 14% 53% White Black Hispanic Asians Am. Indian .

Developmental and acquired disabilities (people with developmental or acquired disabilities). Ethnicity (ethnic minority cultures). Religion and spiritual orientation (religious minority cultures). adolescents. .Other forms of Diversity Age and generational influences (Children. elders).

Indigenous heritage (indigenous peoples). .) Socio-economic status (people of lower status by class. Sexual orientation (gay. Gender (women and transgender people). family name). bisexual people). education. National origin (refugees. international. occupation. lesbian. income.Other forms of Diversity (cont. students). rural or urban habitat. immigrants.

It is a commitment to diversity. multidisciplinary. and opportunity. It is revolutionary and progressive. It is concerned with offering hope. and contextual. It is bio-psychological.A new Cultural View Regarding Multiculturalism of Cross-culturalism It is a world view. and nations. It is multicultural. It is ecological. historical. It is committed to social justice and activism. It is concerned with empowering individuals. (Cuellar & Paniagua. 200:10) . It is concerned with optimizing communication. groups. optimism. interactional. and multisectional.

” John Cogley Commonweal .Quotations on Diversity: “Tolerance implies a respect for another person. not because he is wrong or even because he is right. but because he is human.

at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-63) 35th U.“If we cannot now end our differences.S. President. Democrat .

“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together. businessman .” Malcolm Stevenson Forbes (1880-1954) American publisher.

civil rights leader . Jr. but by the content of their character.” Dr. Martin Luther King.“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin. (1929-68) African American reverend.

” Dr.“Our loyalties must transcend our race. civil rights leader . our tribe. Martin Luther King (1929-68) African American reverend. our class. and our nation: and this means we must develop a world perspective.

“There never were.” Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-92) French essayist . or two grains. the most universal quality is diversity. no more than two hairs. in the world. two opinions alike.

” Nelson Mandela (b.“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. Nobel Peace Prize winner . 1918) South African civil rights leader.

Men are not superior by reason of accidents of race or color.“I am inferior of any whose rights I trample under foot. They are superior who have the best heart—the best brain.” Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-99) American politician. lecturer .

” Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) 26th U.“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people. President. Republican .S.

“Prejudice is the child of ignorance.” William Hazlitt .

“It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.” Wings of Wisdom .

and its establishment as the norm. right and wrong. To experience cultural imperialism means to experience how the dominant meanings of a society render the particular perspective of one’s own group invisible while at the same time they stereotype one’s group and mark it as the “other. different. normal.” . When we are inside our comfort zone we are not challenged and we are not learning anything new. Cultural Imperialism – involves the universalization of a dominant group’s experience and culture.Relevant Concepts Comfort Zone – refers to zones of comfort about different topics or activities. or attractive. appropriate. Culture – refers to aspects of a social environment that are used to communicate values such as what is considered good and desirable.

It involves a systematic process in which the energies of the “have-nots” are continuously expended to maintain and augment the power. Feminism questions and challenges patriarchal social values and structures that serve to enforce and maintain men’s dominance and women’s subordination. Exploitation – is oppression that occurs through a steady process of the transfer of the results of the labor of one social group to benefit another. political. and the belief in and advocacy for social. rituals. and economic equality and liberation for both women and men. music. status. and wealth of the “haves. .Relevant Concepts Cultural Oppression – was social norms.” Feminism – is the valuing of women. and art to reflect and reinforce the belief that one social group is superior to another. language.

Learning Edge – is when we are on the edge of our comfort zone. Marginalization – refers to people as “marginals” when the system of labor cannot or will not employ them. anger. or intolerance of lesbians and gay men or any behavior that falls outside of traditional gender roles. surprise. confusion. single mothers. anxiety. hatred. we are on the learning edge which may be signaled by feelings of annoyance. people with mental or physical disabilities. or defensiveness. Blacks or Latins who cannot find first or second jobs.) . (Examples: old people.Relevant Concepts Homophobia – is the fear. These reactions are signs that our way of seeing things is being challenged. young people.

. The powerless are situated so that they must take orders and rarely have the right to give them. and continues throughput our lives as we receive systematic training from people we love and trust on “how to be” our social identity. and societal/cultural beliefs and practices that favor men and subordinate women. institutional. with no choice on our part.Relevant Concepts Powerlessness – occurs when people do not regularly participate in making decisions that affect the conditions of their lives and actions. (Example: the working class. Socialization – begins before we are born. thus lacking significant power.) Sexism – involves the individual.

Relevant Concepts Social Oppression – exists when one social group. White Privilege – refers to the concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to shape the norms and values of society that Whites receive. . unconsciously or consciously. whether knowingly or unconsciously. exploits another social group for its own benefit. by virtue of their skin color in a racist society.

Vol. American Families. San Diego. Peters. Handbook of Multicultural Mental Health (Eds). W... M. Blumenfield. MD: Association for the Study and Development of Community.. Adams. Gaithersburg. & Paniagua. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. M. The Valuing of Diversity Project: Final Report. X. H. & Zuniga. M. www. A. Population Bulletin. & 55. . No. Hackman. L. (2003).S. F. 4. CA: Academic Press. Casaneda. R.. M. (2000). (December 2000). I.Reference List American Psychological Association.prb. New York: Routledge.apa. (2002). Cuellar. L. W. “The Valuing of Diversity American Psychological Association. (2000). Bianchi. J..” http://www..

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D.Valuing Diversity West Virginia Community Educational Outreach Service Conference October 12 – 14. Ph. Director and Professor Families and Health Program West Virginia University Extension Service . 2004 WVU Jackson’s Mill Larry LeFlore.