There have been various dimensions of culture which have led to rising minority groups which may be subordinated in relation to power and privileges. This is especially so in the societies which have not emphasized the need for cultural inclusiveness. In such an environment, there is always unequal treatment, involuntary membership, in-group marriage, distinguishing cultural and physical traits and awareness of subordination. In the end, attitudes in such subordinate groups are based on one’s ethnicity, gender, religion and race. In the United States, for example, subordination has been characterized by assimilation where the minority group is forced to conform. This write up will seek to examine the various dimensions of diversity and inclusion which have become common in today’s society.
According to Schaefer (2011), culture has various dimensions leading to the complex nature of its diversity. He notes that cultural diversity has both the primary and the secondary dimensions, which impact on its members in terms of influencing their values, expectations, opportunities and self image. It is thus these two dimensions of culture which give meaning to human life. For example, it is the various dimensions of culture that have led to rising minority groups, which may be subordinated in relation to power and privileges, especially in the societies which have not emphasized the need for cultural inclusiveness. It has thus led to various types of subordinate groups. This paper will examine various aspects of cultural diversity and inclusion.
The different dimensions of cultural diversity can be categorized into two broad groups; the primary and the secondary dimensions. Schaefer (2011) noted, the primary dimensions of diversity encompass age and gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity, as well as one’s mental abilities and physical features. They form the core dimension of cultural diversity because of the importance of their societal impact on people through all stages of life. On the other hand, the secondary dimensions of cultural diversity are normally not easily visible. They majorly contain elements which every member of the society is free to choose. They include such factors as religion, family status, first language, work style, and education.
The first dimension of cultural diversity is the racial groups which refer to either the majority or the minority group that has certain obvious physical differences, thus making them set apart socially. Such physical differences may include such factors as skin color and body hair as is the case with the United States, where such characteristics have been used, in this nation, to categorized people as either black or white. The second dimension is that of ethnic groups, which are distinct from the dominating group based on aspects of cultural differences, such as food habits, and attitudes people hold towards marriage, language, or attitudes towards parenting. Such a group may be unique from the other groups based on where their origin or their unique cultural patterns (Schaefer, 2011).
Another dimension of cultural diversity is the religious groups. This has mostly been evidenced in regions where people tend to stress on the need to identify with certain religions other than the domineering faith. United States, for example, is dominated by the Protestants. This means that those who are not part of Christianity always experience some misunderstanding as they try to adhere to their faith. The next dimension of cultural diversity is the gender groups. Schaefer (2011) observes that even though males are normally fewer than the females, they normally enjoy the status of the social majority over them. The women are normally considered as the social minority and thus experience numerous forms of discrimination, as well as prejudice.
Other dimensions of culture include age group, gays and lesbians and people with disability. For instant, Schaefer (2011) notes, older people are prone to be victims of various forms of discrimination. They are always distinct from the other groups based on their physical characteristics. Equally, those with various physical and emotional disabilities have often faced discrimination compared to those who are normal. This has been because such people are viewed as being unable to perform given tasks. Finally, the gays and lesbians have also suffered being the victims of discrimination. This is based on the fact that the dominant others believe that there is something that is always wrong with this group.
Personally, I consider myself both a Caucasian and a European. The members of these two groups have certain social attributes which make them fit together as a people of a similar group. As Caucasians, we are people with the roots traced back to Caucasus. The group thus includes people who live in countries such as South and North America, Europe, Australia. Equally, most of us have used the term to refer to all the Whites especially those whose ancestry can be traced back to Europe. However, term has been argued to carry with it a lot of racist implications, since it is associated with an assumption that the physical appearance exhibited by the whites is far much better than that of the blacks. The group also believes that the first appearance of their species took place in Africa.
On the other hand, as Europeans, we believe that the basis of our culture is in civilization and the Greco-Roman law, the Renaissance, the rise of Christendom, and the Enlightenment. We can thus be better defined not just in terms of inhabiting Europe, but rather in terms of such aspects as our belief and practice of strong attachment to liberalism, freedom of thought, equality and civil rights.
There is indeed a big difference between diversity and exclusion. The concept of diversity takes into accounts all the attributes that are unique for every human-being within a given group. It may take various dimensions including; the difference in people ethnic groups, religion, and language (Schaefer, 2011). On the other hand, cultural inclusion requires clear environment, mutual respect, explicit understanding of the expectations of each cultural group, effective relationships and critical reflection of oneself. This means that for a society to be considered as culturally inclusive, it has to grant all its members the freedom of expression, participation, and security. Moreover, it assumes that people are able to accept their diversity by freely expressing their opinions and their different viewpoints concerning matters affecting them (Schaefer, 2011). It thus means that it is the inclusiveness that identifies and supports the various needs and contributions of people possessing diverse cultures. This is made possible through raising people’s awareness of their diversity while embracing negotiations and compromise where necessary.
The pressure upon organizations to reflect cultural diversity in their workforce has been increasing; therefore, there has been the need for diversity training. Such trainings have been encouraged as mitigation measures of versatile conflicts that would result from the differences in work experience, race, education and sexual orientations. This is possible since the training increases the awareness and knowledge of the employees on their diversities enabling them to accept their differences. This goes a long way to create a work environment that is positive for all the workers as each employee will be to tolerate towards their colleagues (Schaefer, 2011).
In addition, the diversity training is normally useful to the administrators since it helps them in the delegation and evaluation of the various job assignments. Moreover, research has shown that this form of training increases the motivational level of employees, thus increasing their effectiveness and efficiency. This is based on the fact that the training creates an environment where the insights and perspectives of every employee are taken into account while such vises as prejudice, disrespectful behaviors, and discrimination are avoided. It inculcates trust, respect and tolerance among the employees (Schaefer, 2011).
Having worked for my present organization for a long time, I strongly believe that my company is highly inclusive. For example, the workers are encourages to embrace one another irrespective of their age differences. The management of the company has also ensured that they employ the workers of all age groups. Additionally, the organization has also increased gender balance of its employees by recruiting additional women to join its workforce. This has been enhanced through involving workers in recognizing the existence of the glass ceiling that could improve the advancement of the women workers up the management ladder.
Another aspect of cultural diversity that the company has taken note of to allow inclusiveness in its workforce is ethnicity. The organization has been keen to ensure transparency on issues concerning the ethnic composition of its workforce. It has also established given codes of conducts that help it safeguard the possibility of the eruption of ethical problems among the workforce, as well as between the management and the workers.
Apart from these three, which were the major cultural factors eminent in the organization, other dimensions of diversity that the organization has had to deal with because of its global nature included the worker’s countries’ of origin. This has been particularly important because our workers speak different languages. Other factors that the company has considered include the physical status of employees and as well as the different sexual orientations. In addition, the organization was flexible in its recipe taking into account the fact that its workers had different preferences in terms of food.
I, therefore, love working for the organization since each employee has been made to feel unique and accepted irrespective of differences in cultural orientation. All of us enjoy equal chances at work, while being rewarded equally based on the amount of work one accomplished, and not our cultural diversity. I, therefore, believe that the workplace created by the organization is truly inclusive. In conclusion, the need for inclusiveness and acceptance of cultural diversity is thus a topic that should be embraced by any organization aspiring to achieve its goals.