American society is slowly, but surely, moving towards equality in the workplace. In the past decade laws have been passed that prohibit discrimination in hiring, retaining and promoting employees based on race, gender, disability and religious beliefs. Although not all groups have been included yet, the movement towards a more just workplace is evident. Nowadays, almost every single employer will have the sign 'Equal Opportunity Employer' under the name of the company, especially when recruiting. However, even though companies have adopted these standards as a part of their corporate culture, not all people are able to fully appreciate and accept diversity in the workplace. Although there are many different issues to be considered, I believe that the most prominent issue is that of socialization - the way people were taught and learned to interact with the society at large and its members. This issue has many various aspects that can help understand the difficulty of accepting diversity. These issues include unfair and outdated expectations of others, fixed views on certain issues, and unwillingness to admit that problems exist and that they need to be dealt with.
The concepts of expectations and fixed views intersect in a few places. Fixed views are not what one expects of someone, but how the person relates and perceives that someone. Strong views are often followed by expectations. For example if one thinks that someone else is a violent person, he/she will expect to see outbursts of violence. If one has been ?conditioned?, by which I mean that through interaction with society on has learned a particular view or behavior, to think that homosexual relationships are ?disgusting? or at least that they are not ?normal?, one will probably find difficulty with dealing with such instances in the workplace. Williamson, in his article ?Is this the Right Time to Come Out??, discusses a situation that a young homosexual employee faced at work. His boss was unable or maybe unwilling to understand the parallels of homo- and heterosexual relationships. In this particular instance, the employee had a chance to tell his employer how he feels. Unfortunately, there are man situations where homosexual employees are afraid of being ridiculed or made uncomfortable about their sexual preference. As the article me...
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...nt. However, the most difficult obstacle in removing the above two issues is the unwillingness to admit that those issues exist and deal with them. Some people might be afraid of lawsuits; it is understandable that nobody comes out shouting, ?I hate women, what are we going to do now??. However, if such problems exist, they will not be removed until they are confronted. McIntosh mentions in her article that men are unwilling to admit that they are privileged and that white people are unwilling to admit that as well. This can be difficult for those who did not have as many or any privileges. I believe that such behavior is the biggest obstacle to solving problems in the workplace.
Corporations should actively participate in the quest to make the working environment a better, less intimidating place. I believe that this goal can be accomplished through further development of diversity in corporations. Ellen won respect from men in Bahrain only after they started working closely with them. Hopefully, through closer interaction we can start addressing and changing certain views and expectations that will make the new improved corporations feel almost like Aristotle?s ?polis?.
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