If Managing Diversity brings us these advantages, how do people go about doing it?
Legislation requires that companies use 3 strategies in order to comply with the law.
A Multi-cultural strategy
This does not always mean Africanisation of our enterprises. It means that our Organisational culture must be a blend of European, African, Asian and even Martian if that is beneficial to the organization.
We therefore need to hold on to what is functional in the Euro centric culture, discard what is dysfunctional and add from other cultures that which is useful. The time of recreating the British Empire has come and gone.
Striving towards Employment Equity.
People need to examine our policies and practices. Is everybody dealt with equally with respect to salaries, perks, opportunities etc? Do we encourage Black people, women, or physically challenged people to join our enterprises? Are offices made to take care of the physically challenged? These are but some of the issues that we need to address.
87% of the managers in our organisations are still white - having a small % being female. I prefer the Afrikaans phrase ‘’ Regstelllende Aksie’’ to ‘’Affirmative Action’’ as it defines exactly what needs to be done.
Since 1948 we’ve had a affirmative action policy in South Africa. The only issue with it was that it helped only a small minority of the people.
What I would like to move on to now is what prevents the process of implementing the above strategies. In fact I want to focus on the primary reason for its failure, or restricted success - RACISM.
Sexism is a close second, is probably the one factor that has cost enterprises millions of Rands though unsuccessful implementation of Diversity Strategies.
For an in depth discussion of these concepts and other important areas of discussion please refer to training on diversity.
What is this evil - Racism that I am referring to?
Racism is not about damaging attitudes towards individuals of the different Race or colour. Racism is also not about just a deep prejudice based on race or colour. Racism is much more serious than those behaviours based on negative attitudes or prejudice.
Racism is rooted in an "Ideology of Superiority" in which one group thinks they are better and the other group internalised this to such a degree that both groups start thinking in their relative positions to each other.