Cultural Diversity: More than Racial Difference

I’m finally getting around to reflecting on an enlightening talk from September 12, 2007 at our local CAPS meeting. John Norris challenged a group of counselors in the Dallas area to “explore the importance of investing in relationships to enhance diverse communications.” He delivered both depth and breadth. I’ll elaborate more in another blog post about his synthesis and assessment of wide disparities that could pull our society apart.  Thanks to Alvinette McCleave for all the photos in the video and for connecting us to John Norris.  I came away personally with a reinforced notion of how poorly we handle differences. Furthermore, we can base intense polarizations on the smallest of differences. Six “big differences” that can distance us from others are Age (which I am getting a lot of), Race (of course), Ethnicity (which is different from Race), Gender, Physical Abilities, and Affectional Orientation. Eight ‘secondary dimensions of diversity” are Work Background, Income, Marital Status, Military Experience, Religious Beliefs, Geographic Location, Parental Status, and Education. Reflecting on these dimensions made me sad to think how much any one of them can trigger distance and negative judgment of others. I would like to think that we could make our differences work together (like gears) to accomplish so much more and experience life so much more richly. Then I open the front page of the newspaper.

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