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Welcoming Diversity Course handout

Challenging Attitudes : Changing Practice


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What is Diversity? 'Diversity is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to the groups and organisations with which they interact.' Diversity: Builds on and works with equality initiatives Is a method by which organisations maximise the potential of a diverse workforce Managing diversity develops the harmony created within a diverse team Involves taking a proactive approach to the identification of existing and potential service users Is the development of varied provisions to meet the differing needs of the diverse client group

Why Manage Diversity? Managing diversity isn‟t just the right thing to do. It‟s a long-term strategic business factor that has a significant impact on productivity, workforce motivation and innovation, market competitiveness, teamwork and customer loyalty. How we all work together – whether it is teamwork, communicating with people, decision making, designing policies and systems, management, leadership, plans for reaching goals, simple day to day actions – all will benefit from considering different perspectives. The driving force behind introducing diversity management policies is seen as the „business case‟ – that a diverse workforce will result in more focused marketing, greater creativity and decision making and happier staff who stay longer and benefit from organisational opportunities. The public sector and the voluntary sector, for example, support and work with a diverse range of service users, supporters and partners. If the „public face‟ of an organisation reflects that diverse public, then individuals will more easily identify with it, thinking "this is an organisation for me". The main elements of the business case are: Market access and customer service A wider pool of potential employees Learning and innovation Improved individual and team performance Retention of staff Improved identification and utilisation of skills and abilities Improved value for money 2 Copyright  Challenge Consultancy Limited Z:\courses\Welcoming Diversity\AAA Course materials for copying\AAA - Full Day\WD handout no law - 1110.docx


What is Equal Opportunities? It is a commonly held belief that Equal Opportunities means “treating everyone the same”. It is this incorrect assumption that often leads to misunderstanding and even resentment when certain groups in society are treated differently from others. It is easier to understand the concept of Equal Opportunities when we bear in mind common place situations in which steps are taken to „level the playing field‟.

Source: NDP Gender and Equality Unit, Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform Ireland 3.

For example, you may well have memories of smaller children being allowed to start further forward in a race so that they would have the same chance of winning the race as taller children. Whatever examples you use to illustrate Equal Opportunities they should all address the following points: Recognising the differences between people Acknowledging past imbalance Taking steps to redress imbalances Maintaining the element of competition Providing equal access to jobs, services or benefits

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The Oppression Cycle Š

How oppression works Monitoring

Training

Review

Positive Images

Stereotype

Challenging

Messages

Oppression

Prejudice

System

Thoughts

Discrimination

Sharing Power

Action

Representation Consultation

Policies Procedures Guidelines

Power

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The Importance of Language Introduction Language plays a vital role in the fair treatment of people as it can help to form, maintain and reinforce prejudice and discrimination. Language is constantly evolving, reflecting the changing society in which it‟s used. No word is good or bad in itself. Its use, however, can be judged in two ways: the intention of the person using it and the effect on the person about whom it‟s used. Most of us wouldn‟t hesitate in condemning words that are used with the intention to abuse or offend. However, because of the frequent changes of terminology for describing groups that are the subject of prejudice, some people may unknowingly use words that others find offensive. This guide is designed to explain why language is so important and some of the terms in current use.

General Guidelines If we are truly to demonstrate respect, understanding and fairness, tackle discrimination and exclusion, we need to make sure that the language we use is consistent with those intentions. This means not only avoiding words and phrases that offend, but also using language which is inclusive of others. Getting it right, or demonstrating a willingness to get it right, sends an important message about our awareness of equality issues and our respect for individual differences and preferences. Communication isn‟t just about words however, and we should also make sure that our tone of voice, our demeanour and our body language conveys the same message of inclusiveness. Sometimes we might all use inappropriate words by mistake and being challenged about them doesn‟t necessarily mean that we are being accused of being racist, sexist etc. What it does mean is that we need to re-examine our choice of words and be sensitive to the potential offence we might cause.

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Language for a Professional Environment Gender Where appropriate make your language non-gender specific References to „he or she‟ can be avoided by using the plural „they‟ Use non-gender specific job titles. e.g. firefighter not fireman Don‟t add lady or female to the job title e.g. lady doctor, male nurse Transgendered/transsexual people have a condition called „gender dysphoria‟ and may wish to live as a member of the gender with which they identify. They should be treated and referred to as that gender from the time they first indicate they are „transitioning‟ Instead of… Girl – if over 14

Try using…. Woman, younger person (if age relevant)

Lady

Woman, member, customer, client, or colleague

Race We all have an ethnic identity based on shared geography, cultural tradition, language or religion so using the phrase „people of ethnic origin‟ suggests that only some groups are „ethnic‟ is wrong. It‟s generally appropriate to use the term „Asian‟ but remember Asia is a vast continent, incorporating many countries. It is often better to refer to people from their country of origin. There are many people who fall under the category of „non-visible‟ minority groups and as much care should be taken in making sure the appropriate language is used as with any other group. E.g. it‟s is unacceptable to use the term „Paddy‟ for an Irish people or „Yid‟ for Jewish people Instead of… Coloured Half-caste Oriental Paki The Blacks West Indian

Try using…. Black, or Asian or African or the name of the country Mixed origin or heritage, mixed race or black Asian or the country Asian or Pakistani Black People Caribbean

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Language for a Professional Environment – Continued Disability Use the term „disabled people‟. It recognises that people are disabled more by society than by their impairment. „Society disables the individual‟. Avoid using terms such as „the blind‟ as it tends to dehumanise people, identifying them in terms of their physical condition. It‟s better to use the term „people with a visual impairment‟. Avoid describing people by their diagnosis e.g. „He‟s a diabetic‟ or „She‟s an epileptic‟. People are more than their conditions so if it‟s relevant use „a person with diabetes‟. Instead of… Handicapped Spastic Mad / Mentally ill Crippled

Try using…. A disabled person A disabled person or person with cerebral palsy Mental health issue Disabled person

Sexual Orientation Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people are excluded by language that assumes everyone is heterosexual. There are many words or phrases that are used to refer to sexual orientation in derogatory ways. To avoid any misunderstanding people should stick to using the words lesbian, gay or bi-sexual. Instead of… Queer Homosexual Bent Straight

Try using… Lesbian or gay Lesbian or gay Lesbian or gay Heterosexual

(Continued on to next page)

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Language for a Professional Environment – Continued Age We shouldn‟t make assumptions about the value of people based on their age. Where it is necessary to make reference to age, it is better to use neutral terms such as older people or younger people when referring to people. For example „services for older people‟ or „younger people‟. Instead of… Little old lady Pensioner Geriatric Youth Youngster

Try using… Woman, member, customer, client Person or older person Older person Younger person Younger person

Religion and Belief Not everyone defines their identity in terms of a religion but all human beings have beliefs and values. The accurate use of language is one way of showing respect for the beliefs of others. Christian name Forename or first name The table above contains just some of the terms that it is preferable to use - if you would like to find out more about language access the link below to „Diversity in Diction Equality in Action‟ – Published by the TUC – Union Learn. http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/Diversityindiction.pdf Our thanks to Union Learn for the use of some of their material

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Challenging Handy Hints Remember challenging doesn‟t have to be aggressive or destructive. Remember challenging doesn‟t have to be long winded or disruptive. If something strikes you as wrong challenge it. Think about your timing, challenging doesn‟t have to be immediate. Think about the situation and structure your challenge accordingly. Know your facts. Trust your feelings. Know when to stop. Use humour. Borrow expressions from a bygone age, a raised eyebrow, slow shaking of the head. Use short clear statements to disassociate yourself from the sentiment e.g. “I don‟t agree with that” or “Statistics show that black women earn only two thirds as much as white women”. Own your challenge by using “I” statements i.e. “I find that offensive” not “some black people might find that offensive”. Offer clear instructions, e.g. please use the term gay rather than queer.

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Notes

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Where to go for Further Advice

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Brandon House 180 Borough High Street London SE1 1LW

Equality and Human Rights Commission Arndale House The Arndale Centre Manchester M4 3AQ

Tel: 020 7210 3613

Tel: 0845 604 6610

www.acas.org.uk

www.equalityhumanrights.com

Challenge Consultancy Limited 11 Oxford House 49a Oxford Road London N4 3EY Tel: 020 7272 3400 www.challcon.com

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Welcoming Diversity  

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