DiversityNursing Blog

New Report Finds a ‘Diversity Dividend’ at Work

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 02:29 PM

By JOANN S. LUBLIN

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Is there such a thing as a diversity dividend?

A new study of 366 public companies in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Brazil, Mexico and Chile by McKinsey & Co., a major management consultancy, found a statistically significant relationship between companies with women and minorities in their upper ranks and better financial performance as measured by earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT.

The findings could further fuel employers’ efforts to increase the ranks of women and people of color for executive suites and boardrooms — an issue where some progress is being made, albeit slowly.

McKinsey researchers examined the gender, ethnic and racial makeup of top management teams and boards for large concerns across a range of industries as of 2014.  Then, they analyzed the firms’ average earnings before interest and taxes between 2010 and 2013. They collected but didn’t analyze other financial measures such as return on equity.

Businesses with the most gender diverse leadership were 15% more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median, the study showed. An even more striking link turned up at concerns with extensive ethnic diversity. Those best performers were 35% more likely to have financial returns that outpace their industry, according to the analysis. The report did not disclose specific companies.

Highly diverse companies appear to excel financially due to their talent recruitment efforts, strong customer orientation, increased employee satisfaction and improved decision making, the report said.  Those possible factors emerged from prior McKinsey research about diversity.

McKinsey cited “measurable progress” among U.S. companies, where women now represent about 16% of executive teams — compared with 12% for U.K. ones and 6% for Brazilian ones.  But American businesses don’t see a financial payoff from gender diversity “until women constitute at least 22% of a senior executive team,’’ the study noted.  (McKinsey tracked 186 U.S. and Canadian firms.)

The study marks the first time “that the impact of ethnic and gender diversity on financial performance has been looked at for an international sample of companies,’’ said Vivian Hunt, a co-author, in an interview.  Yet “no company is a high performer on both ethnic diversity and on gender,’’ she reported.

And “very few U.S. companies yet have a systematic approach to diversity that is able to consistently achieve a diverse global talent pool,” Ms. Hunt added.

McKinsey has long tracked workplace diversity. A 2007 study, for instance, uncovered a positive relationship between corporate performance and the elevated presence of working women in European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com

Topics: jobs, work, gender, workplace, management, minorities, recruitment, report, companies, employer, employee, gender diversity, ethnic diversity, diversity, ethnic, career, race

A Student Nurse's Guide to Culture and Nursing

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Mar 01, 2013 @ 01:54 PM

By: 

Every student nurse needs to have a strong understanding of culture and ethnic considerations so that they may be able to care for their patient's as whole. Many nurses when not faced with diversity are not fully understanding to exactly what culture is.

Culture is a set of learned values, customs, practices and beliefs that are shared by a group of people or are passed from one generation to another. A subculture shares many of the same characteristics with a primary culture but they may have patterns of behavior or ideals that differ and separate themselves from the rest of a cultural group.

Not all members of a culture will have the same behavior though; some of the differences are age, religion, dialect, socioeconomic backgrounds, geographic locations, gender identities, gender roles, and the degree of values that are adopted in a current country.

Stereotyping is something a nurse must learn not to do because culture can influence each person in varies ways and not each person from a certain culture may feel the same way as another person. Stereotyping is a generalized feeling about one group that is formed based on behavior, of an individual or a group. Ethnic stereotyping is a fixed concept of how all members of a certain group may think or act.

Race is considered a group of people who share biologic and physical characteristics, while ethnicity is a group of people who share a common social and cultural heritage based on beliefs, traditions, and national origin, physical and biologic characteristics.

Transcultural nursing is the understanding and integrating of the many variables in culture and subculture practices into all the aspects of nursing care. Different cultures have a variety of practices that may relate to response to illness and death, care of people of different age groups, childbirth, diet and nutrition, and even health care in general and treatment methods.

The nurse must be aware of personal culture beliefs and practices of their patient and understand that these beliefs put influence on their ability to care for those patients of different cultural backgrounds. By understanding these personal beliefs it gives the nurse the ability to react to different cultures with understanding, respect, openness, and acceptance of the differences between them. Depending on the location you work you may come across many different cultures and subcultures it is a nurse's duty to become versed in the different patients they may take care of.

Source: Yahoo Voices

Topics: student nurse, nursing, ethnic, cultural, patient, beliefs

Focus on Diversity - Meet the Santos Family at CentraState Healthcare System in New Jersey

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 @ 09:15 AM

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CentraState Healthcare System located in Freehold, NJ is a nonprofit community health organization consisting of an acute-care hospital, an ambulatory campus, three-senior living communities, a family medicine residency program, and a charitable foundation. Over the years, CentraState has employed multiple family members from numerous families in NJ.

In this “Focus on Diversity” issue of our bimonthly eNewsletter, we are featuring 4 members of the Santos family who work at CentraState – 3 family members have worked at CentraState for over 24 years! Joe Santos is the spokesperson for the Santos family.

Pat Magrath from DiversityNursing.com recently had the opportunity to chat with Joe Santos, RN and Unit Manager at CentraState’s Manor Rehab Healthcare Center. Joe said “every day is a different day working in the Rehab Center. My patience is tested daily and I love it”.

Joe grew up in the Philippines and while living there, Joe’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Joe took care of his father. He loved taking care of him and discovered he had a passion for it. Joe was always interested in science and medicine, but medical school in the Philippines was too expensive, so he became a Mining Engineer. When Joe immigrated to the US in 1989, no one needed his mining engineer skills so he went to CentraState and applied for a job as an orderly. He was hired the next day.

Joe has worked at CentraState for 24 years. While working as an orderly, he went to school and became an LPN. CentraState encouraged him to further his education and paid his tuition fees to become an RN where he is now the Unit Manager at the Manor. Over the years, Joe has been appointed Acting Director of Nursing, not once, but twice. He was happy to help out, but he was not interested in the position on a permanent basis.

Many years ago, there was a pretty lady named Evangeline living in Joe’s apartment complex. She too grew up in the Philippines and was already an RN at CentraState. They met and soon married. Evangeline has also been at CentraState for 24 years! She worked in Orthopedics for 16 years, transferred to short-stay Surgery for 2 years and currently works at the CentraState Family Medicine Center. They have 2 daughters and are expecting their first grandchild. Perhaps like their parents, they’ll be working at CentraState too!

Joe’s brother, Teodoro started working at CentraState in 1989 -- the same year as Joe and Evangeline. His career started as a cook in the hospital and 9 years ago, he became the Senior Cook at the Manor where Joe works.

Joe’s niece, Charmaine, has worked as a Patient Care Technician in the 5 North Progressive Care Unit for 6 years.

Well there you have it… 4 members of the Santos family – Joe, Evangeline, Teodoro and Charmaine... all happily and productively working at CentraState.

I had to ask… What makes CentraState such a great place to work? Joe responded… When they all immigrated to the US, they lived close to the hospital which was much smaller at the time. The convenient location and the “one big happy family” feel at the hospital, gave the Santos family a terrific opportunity for employment. They grew in their careers among genuinely friendly and caring people.

As the years have gone by, CentraState has expanded and it still feels great to be working there with talented, caring staff and family. As Joe told me, “we live in the community, work in beautiful facilities, enjoy generous benefits, and appreciate the ability to continue to grow in our careers at CentraState where we have been supported and encouraged”.

Dolores N. Napolitano, Manager of Recruitment for CentraState Healthcare System stated “we value our employees and feel like they are our family members too. When individuals who are actually blood related family work here, it makes it even more special and unique.  CentraState is their hospital in more ways than one because they live in the community and work here as well. The Santos’ are one of many multi-generational families working at CentraState and we embrace the concept and actuality of it.  It is only a part of what we do to acknowledge and support the diverse staff we have and the community that we serve".

"We welcome you and your family to visit our website http://www.centrastate.com/Careers/Nursing-Career-Information and check out our job opportunities.”

Topics: CentraState, diversity, ethnic, diverse, family, ethnicity

Ethnic Minorities have Lower Cancer Rates

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 03:15 PM

ethnicNew research suggests that ethnic minorities in Scotland are less likely to get cancer than white Scots.

According to data gathered by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the rate of cancer in Indian men living in the country was 45.9% of that of white Scots, whereas the rate among Chinese men was found to be 57.6% in comparison.

The investigation, which examined ethnic variations in the rate of cancer using figures from the Scottish Cancer Registry, the NHS and the 2001 Scottish Census, revealed the lowest rate of lung cancer to be among Pakistani men living in Scotland, at 45% of the rate for white Scots.

People from Scotland’s Pakistani community were found to have the lowest rates for colorectal, breast and prostate cancers

Professor Raj Bhopal, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, said: “Cancer rates in migrants and their children tend to become similar to those in the local population. Despite their long residence in Scotland, however, ethnic minority groups have lower rates of cancer than the white Scots.

“There is much to learn here that could benefit the whole population, which could improve everyone’s health.”

The results were published in the journal BMJ Open.

Topics: risk, minorities, less likely, ethnic, cancer

Cultural Competency in the Nursing Profession

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Sun, Sep 23, 2012 @ 02:20 PM

By Shantelle Coe RN BSN - Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Creadescribe the imageting an environment that embraces diversity and equality not only attracts the most qualified nursing candidates, but an inclusive environment also helps to assure that the standards of nursing care include “cultural competency.”  Cultural differences can affect patient assessment, teaching and patient outcomes, as well as overall patient compliance.

Lack of cultural competence is oftentimes a barrier to effective communication amongst interdisciplinary teams, which can often trickle down to patients and their families.

With the increase in global mobility of people, the patient population has become more ethnically diverse, while the nursing forces remain virtually unchanged.  Nursing staff work with patients from different cultural backgrounds.  Consequently, one of the challenges facing nurses is the provision of care to culturally diverse patients.  Hospitals and healthcare agencies must accommodate these needs by initiating diversity management and leadership practices.

According to Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., and Isaacs, M. (1989); these are the 5 essential elements that contribute to an institutions ability to become more culturally competent:

  • Valuing diversity
  • Having the capacity for cultural self-assessment.
  • Being conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact.
  • Having institutionalized cultural knowledge.
  • Having developed adaptations of service delivery reflecting an understanding of  cultural diversity. 

A culturally competent organization incorporates these elements in the structures, policies and services it provides, and should be a part of its overall vision.

From all levels, the nursing workforce should reflect the diversity of the population that it serves.  A more diverse workforce will push for better care of underserved groups.  It’s important to note that that diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness isn't just about race or ethnicity.  We must always keep in mind socioeconomic status, gender, and disability in our awareness.

Becoming more inclusive is a shared responsibility between nurses and healthcare agencies.  Becoming an “agent of change” within your facility can inspire awareness and affect attitudes and perceptions amongst your peers. 

Nurses and healthcare workers must not rely fully on the hospital and healthcare systems to institute an environment of cultural awareness.   

Nurses can increase their own cultural competencies by following a few guidelines:                                   

  • Recognizing cultural differences and the diversity in our population.
  • Building your own self-awareness and examining your own belief systems.
  • Describing and making assessments based on facts and direct observation.
  • Soliciting the advice of team members with experience in diverse backgrounds.
  • Sharing your experiences honestly with other team members or staff to keep communication lines open.  Acknowledging any discomfort, hesitation, or concern.
  • Practicing politically correct communication at all times –  avoid making assumptions or stereotypical remarks.
  • Creating a universal rule to give your time and attention when communicating.
  • Refraining from making a judgment based on a personal experience or limited interaction.
  • Signing up for diversity and inclusions seminars.
  • Becoming involved in your agencies diversity programs – find out what your resources are - most institutions have something in place.

By incorporating a few of these steps into your daily nursing practice, you are taking steps towards becoming culturally competent.

Inclusive nurses demonstrate that we are not only clinically proficient and culturally competent, but are the essence and spirit of the patients that we care for.

Topics: diversity, nursing, ethnic, diverse, nurse, nurses, culture, hospital staff, ethnicity, racial group, competence

How to Provide Culturally Competent Care

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Sat, Sep 22, 2012 @ 02:13 PM

By Christina Orlovsky, senior writer, and Karen Siroky, RN, MSN, contributor

As the nation’s population becomes more diverse, so do the needs of the patient population that enters U.S. hospitals. As caregivers with direct contact with patients from a wide spectrum of races, ethnicities and religions, nurses need to be aware and respectful of the varying needs and beliefs of all of their patients.

In its position statement on cultural diversity in nursing practice, the American Nurses Association (ANA) states that: “Knowledge of cultural diversity is vital at all levels of nursing practice…nurses need to understand: how cultural groups understand life processes; how cultural groups define health and illness; what cultural groups do to maintain wellness; what cultural groups believe to be the causes of illness; how healers cure and care for members of cultural groups; and how the cultural background of the nurse influences the way in which care is delivered.”

Additionally, the Joint Commission requires that all patients have the right to care that is sensitive to, respectful of and responsive to their cultural and religious/spiritual beliefs and values. Assessment of patients includes cultural and religious practices in order to provide appropriate care to meet their special needs and to assist in determining their response to illness, treatment and participation in their health care.

There are a number of ways to comply with the requirements for providing culturally diverse care.

First, be self-aware; know how your views and behavior is affected by culture. Appreciate the dynamics of cultural differences to anticipate and respond to miscommunications. Seek understanding of your patients cultural and religious beliefs and values systems. Determine their degree of compliance with their religion/culture, and do not assume.

Furthermore, respond to patients’ special needs, which may include food preferences, visitors, gender of health care workers, medical care preferences, rituals, gender roles, eye contact and communication style, authority and decision making, alternative therapies, prayer practices and beliefs about organ or tissue donation.

Kathleen Hanson, Ph.D., MN, associate professor and interim executive associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Iowa, summarized the importance of learning cultural diversity in nursing education.

“Cultural competency is threaded throughout the nursing school curriculum. We teach every course with the idea that there’s content that may need to be explained for a diverse student group,” Hanson said. “In nursing, cultural competency has been around for a long time. I think that’s probably something that the nursing profession recognized maybe a bit before some other disciplines. We’ve always worked in public health, so we have always seen the diversity of America.”

Hanson concluded: “We need to be able to care for diverse populations because our country is growing increasingly diverse. Oftentimes persons who are in minority groups or who are underrepresented have different health care needs. It’s important for us to have a student population that is as equally diverse as our client; we need to prepare a workforce that not only knows how to work with diverse peoples, but also represents them.”

Topics: diversity, nursing, ethnic, diverse, health, nurse, nurses, care, culture, ethnicity

Ethnicity Table

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 @ 02:12 PM

This table shows the number of students enrolled in generic (entry-level) Baccalaureate, Master's, and Doctoral (research-focused) programs in nursing from 2002 to 2011.

EthnicityTbl

Credit

Topics: diversity, nursing, ethnic, nurse, nurses, professional, ethnicity, student, race, racial group, degree

Enhancing Diversity in the Workforce

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 @ 01:57 PM

By: Robert Rosseter

Nursing’s leaders recognize a strong connection between a culturally diverse nursing workforce and the ability to provide quality, culturally competent patient care.  Though nursing has made great strides in recruiting and graduating nurses that mirror the patient population, more must be done before adequate representation becomes a reality. The need to attract students from under-represented groups in nursing – specifically men and individuals from African American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian, and Alaskan native backgrounds – is gaining in importance given the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projected need for more than a million new and replacement registered nurses by 2016.

Diversity in the Nursing Workforce & Student Populations

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation's minority population totaled 102.5 million or 34% of the U.S. population in 2007.  With projections pointing to even greater levels of diversity in the coming years, nurses must demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of a variety of cultures in order to provide high quality care across settings.  
  • According to data from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (NSSRN), nurses from minority backgrounds represented 16.8% of the registered nurse (RN) workforce. Considering racial/ethnic backgrounds, the RN population is comprised of 5.4% African American; 3.6% Hispanic; 5.8% Asian/Native Hawaiian; 0.3% American Indian/Alaskan Native; and 1.7% multi-racial nurses. 
  • Though men only comprise 6.2% of the nation’s nursing workforce, this percentage has climbed steadily since the NSSRN was first conducted in 1980. The number of men in nursing has increased from 45,060 nurses in 1980 to 189,916 nurses in 2008. http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurvey04
  • According to the National Sample Survey, RNs from minority backgrounds are more likely than their white counterparts to pursue baccalaureate and higher degrees in nursing.  Data show that while 48.4% of white nurses complete nursing degrees beyond the associate degree level, the number is significantly higher or equivalent for minority nurses, including African American (52.5%), Hispanic (51.5%), and Asian (75.6%) nurses. RNs from minority backgrounds clearly recognize the need to pursue higher levels of nursing education beyond the entry-level.
  • According to AACN's report on 2010-2011 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, nursing students from minority backgrounds represented 26.8% of students in entry-level baccalaureate programs, 26.1% of master’s students, and 23.3% of students in research-focused doctoral programs. In terms of gender breakdown, men comprised 11.4% of students in baccalaureate programs, 9.5% of master’s students, 7.5% of research-focused doctoral students, and 9.0% of practice-focused doctoral students. Though nursing schools have made strides in recruiting and graduating nurses that reflect the patient population, more must be done before equal representation is realized. 
  • The need to attract diverse nursing students is paralleled by the need to recruit more faculty from minority populations.  Few nurses from racial/ethnic minority groups with advanced nursing degrees pursue faculty careers. According to 2010 data from AACN member schools, only 12.6% of full-time nursing school faculty come from minority backgrounds, and only 6.2% are male. www.aacn.nche.edu/IDS

Recognizing the Need to Enhance Diversity

  • All national nursing organizations, the federal Division of Nursing, hospital associations, nursing philanthropies, and other stakeholders within the health care community agree that recruitment of underrepresented groups into nursing is a priority for the nursing profession in the U.S.   
  • Nursing shortage reports, including those produced by the American Hospital Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Joint Commission, and the Association of Academic Health Centers, point to minority student recruitment as a necessary step to addressing the nursing shortage. media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage
  • Besides adding new clinicians to the RN workforce, a diverse nursing workforce will be better equipped to serve a diverse patient population.  According to an April 2000 report prepared by the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, a culturally diverse nursing workforce is essential to meeting the health care needs of the nation and reducing the health disparities that exist among minority populations. http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/nursing/nacnep/reports/first/5.htm
  • A report released by the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce in September 2004 stated: “The fact that the nation’s health professions have not kept pace with changing demographics may be an even greater cause of disparities in health access and outcomes than the persistent lack of health insurance for tens of millions of Americans. Today’s physicians, nurses, and dentists have too little resemblance to the diverse populations they serve, leaving many Americans feeling excluded by a system that seems distant and uncaring.” Download the entire report, titled Missing Persons: Minorities in the Health Professions.

Strategies to Enhance Diversity in Nursing Education

A lack of minority nurse educators may send a signal to potential students that nursing does not value diversity or offer career ladder opportunities to advance through the profession.  Students looking for academic role models to encourage and enrich their learning may be frustrated in their attempts to find mentors and a community of support. Academic leaders are working to address this need by working to identify minority faculty recruitment strategies, encouraging minority leadership development, and advocating for programs that remove barriers to faculty careers.

AACN, in collaboration with leading foundations and stakeholders, has taken the following steps to enhance diversity in nursing education:

  • In January 2010, AACN published a new set of competencies and an online faculty tool kit at the culmination of a national initiative funded by The California Endowment titled Preparing a Culturally Competent Master’s and Doctorally-Prepared Nursing Workforce. Working with an expert advisory group, AACN identified a set of expectations for nurses completing graduate programs and created faculty resources needed to develop nursing expertise in cultural competency. This work complemented a similar project for undergraduate programs which resulted in the publication of the document Cultural Competency in Baccalaureate Nursing Education and the posting of an online toolkit for faculty.
  • In April 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation joined with AACN to launch the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. This program is designed to alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students from minority backgrounds in accelerated nursing programs. Scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to 1,500 entry-level nursing students over the next three years. Preference will be given to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from a disadvantaged background.
  • AACN and the California Endowment are collaborating on a three-year program to offer the Minority Nursing Faculty Scholarship Program to increase the number of nurse educators from underrepresented minority groups. This program provides financial support and mentoring to students pursuing graduate degrees who are committed to teaching in a California school of nursing after graduation. To date, 23 graduate nursing students have been selected to receive scholarship funding. 
  • AACN and the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future launched the Minority Nurse Faculty Scholars Program in 2007 which is modeled after the California Endowment program. In addition to $18,000 in scholarship funding, the program also features mentorship and leadership development components to assure successful completion of graduate studies and preparation for a faculty role. Ten scholars are currently receiving funding through this program.
  • AACN is collaborating with a variety of national nursing organizations to advocate for more federal funding for Nursing Workforce Development Programs, including funding for Nursing Workforce Diversity Grants. This program provides funding for projects to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented among registered nurses. In FY 2007, these grants supported the education of 32,847 nurses. 
  • AACN’s Executive Director Polly Bednash serves as the representative from Nursing on the Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions. Composed of national leaders in health professions education, this interprofessional working group focuses on advancing strategies to increase the number of healthcare providers from minority populations. The Sullivan Alliance’s latest initiative focuses on establishing statewide collaborative groups to coordinate efforts to enhance diversity in the health professions. 

Topics: diversity, Workforce, employment, ethnic, diverse, interracial, ethnicity

Multiracial Identity: Learning with Agility and Openness

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Sep 14, 2012 @ 01:55 PM

By: Tanya M. Odom, Ed.M.

Diversity and inclusion is an evolving field. As a learner and practitioner, I work to embrace the expanding definitions while respecting the importance of the historic diversity topics of race and gender.

How we approach conversations about difference can determine how we embrace new definitions of identity, and the “agility” needed to learn, grow, and support all people in organizations.

Multiracial people are one of the fastest growing groups in the United States. As Andrea Williams mentioned in her article about multiracial students in the April/May 2012 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity, “the 2010 Census marked the second time in the survey’s history that responders were allowed to check more than one box regarding their race; the first was in 2000. And as a result, demographers now have access to data that allows for comprehensive comparison and charting of the mixed race population. The results are remarkable: from 2000 to 2010, the number of multiracial American children – who will soon be attending colleges and universities across the country – rose by almost 50%, to 4.2 million.

The changing demographics have inspired people to create language like “the multicultural generation” and “ethnically ambiguous,” among others. Williams’ article presents some important reflection about creating schools and universities that support multiracial students.

Not-for-profit organizations and corporations will also need to update their language, understanding, and awareness to include multiracial employees, and employees with multiracial families.

A June 2012 Fast Company article talked about the importance of “cultural agility.” They defined “cultural agility” as “the capacity to recognize, understand, and respond appropriately to various cultures, and to work within those cultures to achieve business results.” The language of “agility” is also highlighted in the Center for Creative Leadership’s recent newsletter. They talk about flexibility and agility as a key to leadership. Agility is an important part of the learning and awareness in diversity and inclusion. Multiracial identity is not new, nor is the presence of multiracial families in our organizations.

There is a global history of multiracial people. There is a substantial scholarship focusing on the role of multiracial people in our history, media, etc. What we have not seen at the same level is the inclusion of multiracial people in diversity and inclusion dialogues and programs. As a multiracial global diversity and inclusion practitioner and coach, I have learned that, as with all diversity topics, there are varying levels of awareness about what multiracial identity means to employees and to diversity and inclusion initiatives.

One of the first times that I was part of a professional “group” of multiracial individuals was while attending a Working Mother Media Women’s conference. I remember feeling the uniqueness of the experience.

Participants in workshops or present at some of my speeches would approach me and talk about their “invisible diversity,” which for some meant their multiracial identity. For others, it meant their partner, spouse, or child of a different race. Often they swapped tales of not having a place to share their diversity stories.  

The presence of multiracial individuals and families can challenge our notions and comfort around talking about race and history, race and families, and race and racism.

Multiracial individuals and families are part of the changing workforce. In the spirit of learning agility, I would suggest that organizations learn to incorporate language and programs that include multiracial individuals and families.

We can continue to be “agile” in our learning about multiracial identity by:

  • Assessing data collection that does not allow for identifying as multiracial individuals and families;
  • Including multiracial groups as part of the growing affinity/ERG/Networking groups within organizations;
  • Allowing multiracial people to self-identify – and not identify employees based upon what we observe;
  • Updating our language and communication to include multiracial identity and;
  • Learning more about national groups (SWIRL, MAVIN, etc.) that address multiracial identity and families.

Our learning and growth continues as long as we remain “agile.” The inclusion of more stories, experiences, and identities makes the journey even richer.

Tanya Odom, Ed.M, is a part-time Senior Consultant with The FutureWork Institute and a member of the INSIGHT Into Diversity Editorial Board.

Published in September/October 2012 issue.

 

 

 

Topics: multiracial, bicultural, diversity, ethnic, hispanic, black, cultural, culture, ethnicity, haitian

The New Diverse: Multiracial and Bicultural

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Sep 12, 2012 @ 04:05 PM

By Carolina Madrid

August 31, 2012

We tend to categorize every ethnic community outside of  Whites as a minority or diverse population group, but there’s a gray area that we’re failing to pay close attention to: the bicultural and multiracial population. It was the fastest-growing youth group in the country in the last decade, increasing almost 50 percent to 4.2 million, according to Census 2010.

As our nation’s population becomes more diverse, the bicultural population will continue growing and the segregated communications approaches that have worked in the past will not work with this audience any longer. Use the guide below as an overview to understanding biculturalism and how you can think about it in an upcoming campaign.diversity art

A cultural tug of war

Being bicultural, multicultural or multiracial means that you have ties to different cultures. It can mean that you grew up in the United States with roots in another country or that you have parents from distinct ethnic backgrounds. Either way, there’s usually a sense of being pulled in two different directions while trying to maintain both or assimilate into another.  Why does this matter? Because someone who you thought was a Hispanic, Spanish-speaking person may not be receptive to messaging that speaks solely to Latinos.

Inglés or Spanish?

The language preference of bicultural individuals varies.  Younger populations who went to school in the United States tend to prefer English, while older populations will favor their native language.  There’s also the second-generation population who doesn’t prefer one or the other. The language you use will largely depend on the demographic.

What am I?

The degree to which individuals associate themselves with a given cultural background also varies. Just as there are those who believe in maintaining a sense of heritage, there are those who don’t want to stay in touch with their roots and prefer to assimilate into only one culture. This is why it’s important to stay away from explicit cultural messaging that would isolate or turn off the bicultural or multiracial population.

Univision or CNN?

Just because someone speaks Spanish doesn’t mean he or she watches Univision, the nation’s largest Spanish-language network. In fact, he or she will likely prefer to watch English-language TV. Still, on CNN, there is an opportunity to reach the bicultural population with messaging about the Hispanic or Asian population.

Fusion nation

Fusion cuisine is a perfect example of the adaptation and merging of two different cultures. You appreciate the base flavor of the dish, while adding in contemporary ingredients and spices for a blend that’s the best of both worlds. Don’t be afraid to also use this approach in your communications programs, using a mix of messages.

Contextual decision-making

How you communicate with a bicultural population will also depend on the message that you’re trying to convey. Different scenarios will call for the incorporation of cultural messaging, while other times, this might seem forced. But what is certain is that early awareness and the ability to use it wisely will reap the rewards of a genuine connection.

 

Topics: multiracial, bicultural, diversity, ethnic, diverse, inclusion, race, racial group

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