Times have changed. Thirty years ago when someone would say diversity in the workplace, one would think about adding a woman to the payroll. Today however is a different story. Recruiters are not only looking at work history and education, now they are looking at ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and but not least religion. All of these are key factors to making Corporate America run smoothly. America is post to be the “melting pot”, so why has it been so challenging to introduce diversity into the workplace? However, we do have corporations in the US that have managed to make the workplace as diverse as that can and guess what it worked for them. What better place to show the world that the US is the “melting pot.”
Being diverse means, being 'different, unlike, variegated'; diverse derived from divers and was influenced by adverse and perverse”
I used to think that diversity in the workplace was only race. In the last several years I have come to understand that it’s far more than the color of your skin. Diversity is not only the color of your skin, buts it’s your age, your sex, your religion, even your sexual preference. Over the years we as a society have grown so much. Boy oh boy have I grown. I know now that people vary from shape, size and color.
Let’s face it, with this economy it is hard for anyone to try and find a job. We have seniors who have worked their whole life to retire but have been forced back into the workplace to survive in this day and time. We have people with all types of disability working. And let’s just be honest about the situation, being white is not that popular anymore. The white race is almost obsolete. With the growing number of Hispanic, Blacks, and Asians and multiracial, it’s almost impossible to have a company with just white men sitting at the board table.
Disney and Wal-Mart, two of the biggest corporations in the world, didn’t get that way by looking at race or social class. Disney is well known for being diverse in the workplace. Every year they have gay week. Where gays and lesbians can come and have fun, without worrying about discrimination and feeling uncomfortable. They managed to do this because they learned to listen to different points of view from people of different ethnicities and preferences. They have one mission which is to put a smile on every face regardless of what color and how old it is. If you've ever noticed, the employees there are just as diverse as the millions of visitors that flow in annual. This is one of the things I believe has played a part in making them so successful. As to Disney, the next time you walk into a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club, take a look at their employees. Do you think they all have the same ethnic background or sexual preference? Do you think it would have been this way 30 or 40 years ago?
The hardest thing about living or working with so many different types of people is the language barrier. This is particularly hard for me and many others because if you can’t understand someone, how can you work with them. I don’t agree with changing the language on everything such as local newspapers and manuals. I recognize that the US is a melting pot, but, I didn’t think that meant if you come here (the U.S.), not knowing our language we would tailor to you.
In other words I can’t call my bank without hearing press one for Spanish and 2 for English. I guess this bothers me because my parents are from Haiti. When they moved here, they had to work hard to learn to speak, read, and write English in order to get a job. Even still it was hard because they were black. Nothing was handed to them. Yes, there are things my mom still doesn’t understand like certain slang phrases and words,