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Career Interests

Diversity

*warning, some language and ideas posed here may be offensive to some.  You’ve been warned.

So, I took a diversity survey for work. I’m going to preface this whole thing with a simple statement. Diversity is good, without diversity everyone would be like me. I know, I know, you’re thinking that would be fantastic, a Utopian world! But please keep in mind, it would also be a very boring world. After all, who would I make fun of?

The questions for this “diversity” survey seemed like they were pulled from a very generic set of questions. So I will present some of them here to you. The options for just about every question were something along the lines of:

  • To a great extent
  • To some extent
  • To a small extent
  • Not at all
  • Do not know

For the sake of brevity, I will not include the options after each question (unless the options vary greatly from the default listed above), just my own thoughts, which I know is what you all really want anyhow.

2. To what extent do you think workplace employees should reflect the types of diversity found within the population of the State?

I think to base diversity off of the state, or for that matter another city/region is a bad idea.  Come on folks, lets think about this, the population is poor down trodden Appalachians that can’t read, who would want to move to that area?
Likewise, you have a position open in an area that the population is 98% of one particular ethnic group, do you really expect to attract a Mr. White Bread American to that area?  Shouldn’t this diversity thing work both ways?  We can’t have a company/club/university that is made up strictly of one ethnic group can we?  That would defeat the purpose of diversity.  Which brings up a whole other rant which would be titled “Why is it OK to have a University that limits enrollment to an ethnic minority group, yet it’s not ok if that ethnic group is a majority?

3. To what extent, within the workplace, do you have regular contact with people from different backgrounds?

All the time.  I work with a Russian, a Chinese individual, a German, a woman, a redneck and a MAC user.  How diverse can you get?!

4. To what extent would you find training on diversity issues beneficial.

Well, that would depend, is it truly based on diversity (and I’m started to think maybe it shouldn’t be called diversity, how about “cultural acceptance“)?  Or is it going to be a session about how the majority should cater to the desires of the minority.
OK, stop throwing shit and listen for a minute.  When any one group gets preferential treatment it is wrong.  If, for instance, I am required to observe several minutes of silence and face east twice a day that would be just as wrong as an individual being required to celebrate Christmas.  Sidenote: I overheard a person explain that they enjoyed being “Jewish” around Christmas because it got them out of buying gifts.  This is a paraphrasing because I don’t remember the discussion word for word, but the idea of using your ethnic/cultural background as an excuse/crutch seems to be a bit weak.  And, I’m quite certain that same person doesn’t come into work on Christmas Eve and Christmas day while everyone else is off in order to celebrate their cultural heritage.

5. To what extent do you think the workplace are comfortable and accepting places for workplace employees with disabilities?

I couldn’t tell you.  I’m not a person with disabilities (unless you count being color blind and fat a disability).  Things I do notice is the campus as a whole isn’t very friendly to those with physical limitations.  After all, almost any walk from one building to another is up or down hills.  Does this mean in order to handle diversity (in the form of those with disabilities) all future campuses will be built on flat ground?  Oh, and don’t forget to build “people movers” like they have in airports so you wouldn’t actually have to walk between building.

6. To what extent do you feel prepared to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds?

I think that I’m rather well prepared to work with people from a diverse background.  The question to them is are they prepared to work with me?  Are they prepared to listen, ask when they don’t understand, repeat when I don’t understand , and not assume that I should automatically comprehend what they want the first time around?
Hell, I have problems dealing with people from my own background, why should it be easier to deal with people from a diverse cultural background.  Have you ever tried to talk your parents through installing a program or removing a virus?  Uh?  Have you?  You can’t get much closer as far as ethnic background than that.  However, if you think cultural (age), it’s a whole other story.

7. To what extent do you think the topic of diversity should be included during new employee orientation

Once again, let’s change diversity to “cultural acceptance“.
So, new employee orientation should have a phrase that says “Yo, dumb ass, you’re gonna be working with a bunch of different people from different backgrounds.  Don’t be an asshole“.  And a second section that says “Hey, if someone says something that you find offensive, say something.  Be polite about it, but let them know that when they call you (stealing an example from a radio personality) “a knappy head ho” that you find it offensive.  If they don’t listen, then take it to their supervisor“.   Take it from me, I’ve said things and there are words that are a part of my vocabulary that some people might find offensive (think 7 words you can’t say on radio and a combination of those words).

9. To what extent do you think your supervisor demonstrates a commitment to meeting the needs of workplace employees from underrepresented groups?

My supervisor is of German decent.  Does that mean anything?  Other than that, see number 3.

10. To what extent do you think the workplace should recruit and retain more employees from diverse racial and ethnic minority groups?

Okay, this is the question that really started it all for me.  When I read this question, what I interpret it as saying is… “To what extent do you think the workplace should try to recruit and retain more employees from diverse racial and ethnic minority groups regardless of their skills or ability to do the job for which they applied?”
Really? Come on folks, hire the best damn person for the job PERIOD! To truly be fair I suppose you would have to do some sort of double blind scientific type interviewing process to assure you were hiring the candidate based on skills alone.  Besides, when you hire trying to meet some statistical standard and don’t simply hire the best person for the job, you are doing a disservice to the minority group.
Say you have 3 blue people, 5 orange people but no green people… so, to meet some diversity criteria you hire a green person.  That green person, if they aren’t the best person for the job, will end up giving the orange and blue people a poor impression of the abilities of green people.  Now, is that stereotyping?  Sure, and I bet you never do that right?  Like right now you aren’t stereotyping me as a white male asshole? 😉  Come on, I know you are!
I’m just opposed to any practices to keep people employed based on anything other than skills, abilities and performance.

17. To what extent do you think most workplace employees are treated fairly and with respect regardless of their sexual orientation?

Personally, I don’t give a damn about your sexual orientation.  What you do on your time is your business.  But, if you start making out in the middle of the workplace, you’ve got to expect some reactions.  There’s another rant in there somewhere, but I’ll have to work on that.

19. To what extent do you think most workplace employees are treated fairly and with respect regardless of job classification?

You’re kidding right?  Uhm, the CEO calls and asks for something, you can bet they are going to get a quicker response than the person cleaning the toilets.  Is that “right”?  Probably not, but the CEO signs my paycheck….

21. During the past 12 months, have you ever felt a need to minimize some characteristic of yourself in order to fit in within the workplace(yes or no)?

Not yes, but hell yes.  Do you really think I feel I can express these particular views to everyone – eh, make that anyone – at work?  Oh H E double L NO – a couple of terms come to mind… sexist and racist would be two.  Funny thing is, I don’t care about race, I don’t care what sex you are, or your sexual orientation.  What I do care about is your ability to do your job.  I care if incompetent people are kept employed because they help the workplace meet a ratio for diversity.  So, in short, yeah, I feel I need to minimize who I am at times.  I’m opinionated (surprise!) but I’ve learned that not everyone shares my opinions and I’m thankful for that.

23. With what race/ethnicity do you identify? (Please check only one.)

I always want answer these questions with *other – HUMAN.  Simply by asking that question, you are requiring the person to align themselves with on ethnic group or another.  If you think about history, there was some concern by the founding fathers of the UNITED States of America that individuals within those states would identify/align themselves with the state before they would align themselves with being American.  Same thing goes for race, how about we all just do our best to look at each other as human and be culturally accepting.  I was talking with a coworker about this scenario and he mentioned that his home country has several nationalities (something that geographically I realized but just never considered the full cultural significance), each with it’s unique cultural aspects and that over the centuries his fellow countryman has learned to appreciate those cultural differences.  It’s something that takes time, but it takes work from all sides.

</rant>

By Mark

I work in IT and ride Motorcycles. I do one to support the other.