Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Is Diversity Dead? Just ask the "Little Dutch Boy"

Did you read the article in a recent Wall Street Journal that announced that, based on a study conducted by Harvard professor, Dr. Robert Putnam, diversity is dead.

But is that really what Dr. Putnam said?

Not really.

What he did say was that diversity was "inevitable and desirable". Diversity has proven to be a boon to the economy. That fact is born out by a study conducted by DiversityInc., which reports that over 300 of the Fortune 500 know that diversity is good for business and see diversity as a competitive advantage.

Studies have also revealed that diversity "fosters creativity and better and faster problem-solving." I guess it is the 'two heads are better than one' theory on steroids!

At the end of the day, trying to stem the tide of diversity is like being the little boy Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. He couldn't hold back the tides and neither can we.

And, really why would we try?

For parents there are two messages: first is a reminder that the media's point of view-is only that-a point of view. It is the reporter's interpretation of the world based on his or her own background listening. We all make judgements and interpretations based on our backgrounds-and we know that they aren't always the truth. So be careful about believing everything you read or see-and help your children to realize the same. Careful evaluation of media-whatever media-will allow you and your children to glean the facts and then make your own interpretations-a hugely valuable skill for your children in our "Information Age".

The second thing that parents can take away from this brouhaha is the realization that no matter what we do, or think,our kids do have to deal with people of every size, shape, color, and smell-and that is a GOOD THING.

As we become a more diverse society, kids who have been taught to celebrate similarities and differences can only benefit. Not only will their world view expand, they will be well on the way to a successful future.

And isn't that our job-to prepare our kids for the future?

Incorporating diversity into your everyday lives is a daunting process. Many of us just throw in the towel, thinking that we just can't do anything that will make a difference.

Try turning it around-what small thing can we do today that will help our kids realize that we are open to EVERYONE.

It may be as simple as pointing out an attractive person who doesn't share any of your physical features. It could be looking for books that are fun to read but get the message across. It may mean watching TV with you child-with an eye towards pointing out biases and stereotypes.

It only takes a little push to get the ball rolling.

Consider yourself pushed!

With Respect,

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