Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Anita 2/5/16–Addendum: I had struggled for quite some time with the name of my suggested model, as expounded in my post below, for lapping and overlapping of the myriad layers we have for identifying ourselves. I initially went with Layered Applied Diversity & Inclusion (LADI) model. However, one reader, Sarah B. Kent, suggested differently and I am truly grateful to her for her time and input in suggesting a better name and consequent acronym. After some pondering, I am amending the name of the model as per Sarah’s suggestion. It is now called, Diversity & Inclusion Applied in Layers (DIAL) model. I have made the required changes in my post below. It is still a working title, and if anyone else has any other suggestion, kindly send a personal message or post here as a comment. Once again, thank you to Sarah B. Kent for her suggestion. It take a village to develop anything, in this case a name and acronym, and I am thankful for any and all feedback that comes my way. Best wishes, Anita

It is challenging to say anyone is monolithic or mono-dimensional. We describe ourselves in various ways; through race, national origin, gender, religion, color, orientation, disability, education, marital status, the children we have and so forth. Thus, we are multi-dimensional and have many layers of identities or ways to describe ourselves. Other individuals are the same. And we view them similarly, ascribing various characteristics and consequently behavior patterns that they might have or not. How tough it is, therefore, to understand diverse individuals and seek inclusiveness at work places! To better appreciate our many layers of identification, I have developed what I call, the Diversity & Inclusion Applied in Layers (DIAL) model. It’s always easier to understand things visually.

In the DIAL model, I am presenting a different take on the British mathematician John Venn’s diagram. Since our own identities are lapping and over lapping each other, some more pronounced at one time or another, thus such a visualization might help us in comprehending ourselves and others in the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) paradigm. Imagine the complexity of one DIAL for ourselves interacting with so many other DIAL’s of individuals who too have many layered identities and ways to describe themselves. What a conundrum of Venn diagram lapping and overlapping! However, if we look at it visually and apply it at our work spaces, we will realize the challenges and beauties of diversity and inclusion, and this will help us to appreciate those different from us thereby leading to the possibility of real inclusion. Below is a generic DIAL model describing various diversities by which individuals can/do describe themselves and others. More circles with more categories can be added. After familiarization with this, one can create one for themselves as I have presented for myself, a personal DIAL, further below.

Anita2

 

Now, if I were to describe the way I view myself or my identities (not all of them, but those I consider relevant for knowing myself) below are some ways I would do so. I am presenting below in variations of the Venn diagram.

Thus, I could describe myself as in figure 1, a free Venn diagram which I prefer the most, as no one identity is more important than the other as such, and all can lap and overlap with each other with minor increases and decreases at given times and circumstances.

Anita4

Or, I could describe myself as in figure 2, in a stack Venn diagram projecting that identity or feature of mine I consider most important for me in the largest circle and the one which is the least, in the smallest circle.

Anita3

Go ahead, try to visualize and draw out your identities/ways you describe yourself. Make your own DIAL using any of the above or below, or any other diagram/s that you can come up with showing the lapping and overlapping of your identities:

Anita1

 

Now try to employ the same approach at your work place before judging someone or ascribing any characteristics based upon what is visible to us. And while working one-to-one with a colleague or in a team, remember how many descriptions or identities are trying to work with each other for the benefit of the organization, self and others!

There are other familiar models that assist us in understanding the many– primary and secondary ways– we describe ourselves. There is the Iceberg Theory, which originally came from Ernest Hemingway’s writing style focusing on surface elements which many critics said distanced him from his characters. This has been adapted in the D&I realm as the Waterline of Visibility, as in an iceberg, to show how we tend to look at what is visible to us and ignore that which is below the surface which actually might tell us more deeply about a person. For an image and more explanation, please check out on D&I consultant Brook Graham’s website at: http://www.brookgraham.com/WhatWeDo/Iceberg.aspx 

And, then there is the Johari Window which divides our identities/characteristics in a window framework, into four sections: Open Area, Hidden Area, Blind Spot and the Unknown. It was created by two American psychologists, Joseph Luft (1916–2014) and Harrington Ingham (1914–1995) in 1955. It is a technique employed by people to better understand others and themselves, and how relationships work, with oneself and others. (http://www.amazon.com/Of-Human-Interaction-Johari-Model/dp/0874841984 )

We also have the Diversity Wheel, developed by Marilyn Loden and Judy Rosener to help people identify which social and other characteristics are more important to them and therefore placed in the center of the wheel, and those that are less important are placed in the outer circle. There are certain generic characteristics that most people would tend to place in the inner circle, however, there can be variations from individual to individual. For more details, check out, Workforce America! Managing Employee Diversity as a Vital (1991) and Implementing Diversity (1996). For an explanation of this, please see, Global Diversity Puts New Spin on Loden’s Diversity Wheel by Kimberley Lou & Barbara Dean at: http://www.loden.com/Web_Stuff/Articles_-_Videos_-_Survey/Entries/2010/9/3_Global_Diversity_Puts_New_Spin_on_Lodens_Diversity_Wheel.html

While all these models and others are extremely critical in our understanding of self and others, the DIAL model I am suggesting allows us to view ourselves not only from one lens, but numerous. And it can assist us in comprehending the concept of lapping and overlapping of identities of self and others, some more prominent at one time or another, due to circumstances, situations or the behavior/reactions of others thereby complicating D&I initiatives. I hope my DIAL model will be of use to you and your organizations in lessening those complications.

Thank you for stopping by to read my post. Much appreciated!

My other posts are available at: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/64652618

Also, please visit my blog, www.diversitydiscover.blogspot.com for inspirational quotes and poems

And, follow me on Twitter at: diversitydiscov and on Instagram at: journita_quotespoemsanitanahal

Website: www.diversitydiscover.com

For lectures or workshops on unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion, please contact: anitanahal@yahoo.com or anitanahal@divesitydiscover.com

Have a blessed day!

 

By Dr. Anita Nahal, CDP

It probably comes as no surprise to know that…

 

 

But did you also know?


Although women represent more than half of the total workforce, their share of employment varies considerably across occupational groups.

The female wage gap still presents lots of opportunity for improvement, but a key factor contributing to the gap is GENDER DIFFERENCES ACROSS OCCUPATIONS.

 

 

Today, more Black women are participating in the labor force and have seen their earnings increase over time. Black women are nearly twice as likely to be the sole breadwinner for their families.

However, Black women still face a stark wage gap and are more likely to work in lower paid occupations.

Raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay, and creating access to high-growth occupations with higher earnings will greatly impact the lives of Black women and their families.

There were about 7.8 million Asian American (AA) women and 442 thousand Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (PI) women 16 years of age and over in the U.S. in 2013. Of those, 4.6 million AA women and 283 thousand PI women were in the civilian labor force.

As a group, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women workers have had more favorable outcomes than female workers in other racial groups.

However, there is a great deal of variation and disparity between AA women and PI women, as well as among women in detailed Asian communities.

Of the 4.3 million AA women who were employed, nearly one half worked in management, business, science, and the arts occupations. Meanwhile, of the over 250 thousand PI women who were employed, a majority worked in sales and office occupations, and less than 1 in 3 worked in management, business, science, and the arts occupations.

There were about 10.7 million Hispanic women in the civilian labor force in 2014, representing 1 in 7 women in the labor force. Of those, 9.8 million were employed.+

By 2022, Hispanic women are projected to account for 17.3% of the female labor force and 8.1% of the total labor force.

Hispanic women are more likely to work in occupations that pay less, with one in three employed in service occupations, compared with less than one in five among White non-Hispanic women. Median weekly earnings in service occupations represent less than half of the earnings of workers in management, professional and related occupations.

Opportunities clearly exist for women and the only way we will resolve the disparities is to proactively work to implement strategies that will improve and eventually eliminate barriers to gender and race equality.

Here are but a few ways that can make sustainable differences:

  • Strengthen Women’s Equal Pay Rights by Ensuring Women Receive the Minimum Wage and Overtime.
  • Advance Opportunities for Women in Non-Traditional Occupations and Male Dominated Fields.
  • Identify Challenges and Solutions for Targeted Groups: In September 2013, the Women’s Bureau initiated its Economic Security for Older Women Workers initiative, including convening a research conference on older workers that explored retirement patterns and barriers to employment and reemployment such as age and sex discrimination. Since its onset, the Bureau has published its first fact sheet, Older Women and Work, and has begun to convene listening sessions and roundtables across the country to collect information from communities on challenges and best practices in hiring, recruitment and job training.
  • Keep Women Workers Safe at the Worksite: In response to the persistently high rates of injuries among the largely female healthcare workforce, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a new emphasis program to increase inspections at nursing homes and residential care facilities.
  • Support the Creation of State Paid Leave Programs and Research Paid Leave Programs.
  • Increase Women’s Health and Retirement Security: The Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) educates women about retirement and health benefits to help them increase their financial fitness, maintain health coverage, and exercise their rights under the law.
  • Tailor Training to Women’s Needs and Use Social Networks to Spread Knowledge.
  • Enhance Programs on Training and Employment for Female Veterans: Women are the fastest growing population of veterans and are more likely than their male counterparts to be in the workforce. While approximately 10 percent of all veterans are women, 13 percent of all veterans in the labor force and 20 percent of Gulf War II veterans are women. Efforts to create and expand opportunities for working women must include female veterans, who may experience an overlap of challenges faced by both other working women and their male veteran counterparts. The new VETS Women Veteran Program, implemented in collaboration with the Women’s Bureau, is designed to empower women veterans to achieve economic stability and equality in the workplace.
  • Help More Women Access and Participate in International Markets: The Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) continues to work with ministries of labor and employment from other governments on developing programs and policies combating discrimination in the workplace and ensuring equal opportunities for all workers.
  • Help to Sustainably Improve the Education Levels of All Women.

 

By Mi’Shon Landry, CDP
Certified Diversity Professional and Society for Diversity member
Champion for Diversity, Culture Consultant
MISHON LANDRY, CDP
Contact Mi’Shon at (817) 602-1444
Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mishonlandry

Reference Sources:

+U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections Program

**U.S. Census

WOMEN’S BUREAU
United States Department of Labor

Fact Sheet, June 2014
United States Department of Labor

The Society for Diversity the largest professional association for diversity & inclusion leadership in the U.S. and Braidio, a Collaborative Learning Platform, Will Bring Professional Diversity and Inclusion Training to Small Businesses and Enterprise Organizations  

 

Plainfield, IN – Oct 16, 2015 – The Society for Diversity and Braidio, a cloud-based collaborative learning platform, have established a partnership to easily make professional diversity and inclusion training an integral part of any organization’s employee learning program, from small businesses to enterprise organizations. The Society for Diversity selected Braidio to be its preferred learning platform provider due their next- generation technology, which offers easily scalable “self-serve” learning content via a turnkey, “plug ‘n play” application.

 

Brands like the Hyatt Regency, American Express and Sodexo have successfully harnessed diversity and inclusion (D&I) to yield better results in recruiting, learning, marketing and measurement. However, the average organization has yet to experience diversity and inclusion outcomes worth reporting.

 

“There are many challenges to getting diversity and inclusion right. The starting point is to determine whether an effort centers on messaging or learning. Messaging is ‘we value diversity’, while learning allows people to make and fix mistakes. While messaging serves a brand need, learning wholly serves business success. For businesses to truly deliver on the diversity and inclusion promise learning must be relevant, repetitive and reinforced. This is why Braidio and Society of Diversity have partnered,” said Brian Sorge, VP of Client Solutions at Braidio.

 

Braidio kicked off the global partnership with a webinar for the Society for Diversity on the topic of “Diversity and Inclusion: Why Are We Still Talking About This?” The Society for Diversity offered the fall learning session to its 9,200 members and non-members.

 

The partnership will level the playing field, so that more organizations can receive consistent results in the realm of diversity and inclusion learning.

 

“The goal of diversity and inclusion is not to change people – that’s where organizations veer off to the left. The purpose is to change the way that an organization approaches, utilizes and responds to differences, so that it can proactively and strategically serve customers better. First, you have to understand your organizational culture. Second, you must know how your customer has changed and will shift over the years. Utilizing this model allows organizations to focus on customer preferences, the bottom line and their unique competitive position,” said Leah Smiley, President of The Society for Diversity.

 

The Society for Diversity offers years of experience and significant D&I outcomes to help more organizations build cultural competence. For example, The Society for Diversity’s subsidiary, the Institute for Diversity Certification, provides D&I credentials to more individuals than any other program in the United States.

 

For the 2016 diversity certification program, Braidio will help refine the online preparation courses so that the classes are more technologically-interactive and advanced.

 

“The Society for Diversity spends a lot of time trying to be the best. We also invest a considerable amount of effort in helping our constituents outperform their peers in the field of diversity and inclusion. That’s why this Braidio partnership is so perfect – it enhances our work so that diversity officers can lead effectively and continue to get great results,” added Smiley.

 

The Society for Diversity and Braidio are working together on the 2015 Diversity Leadership Retreat. The conference will facilitate organizations’ approach to profitability through employees and customers/students around the world. Through intimate, robust and balanced conversations, the conference will encourage interactive learning and demonstrate innovative thinking in the specialized, yet highly complex, area of diversity and inclusion. Participants will learn simple techniques that they can apply on the job to solve common problems, while saving time and money.

 

The conference will take place in Charlotte, NC, from October 20-23. Braidio will provide a branded conference site, where speakers can post their presentations and other content, and users can collaborate and share prior to, and after, the event, creating continuous and sustained learning. Braidio will also provide a two-hour general session featuring Sorge on the topic of “How to Create Sustained Learning Around Diversity and Inclusion.”

 

###

 

About The Society for Diversity:

The Society for Diversity is the #1 and largest professional association for Diversity and Inclusion. We empower leadership and drive culture change through diversity and inclusion education, and a focus on bottom line impact. Since 2009, the Society for Diversity has acquired members in 43 states and 3 countries. Our members represent the best global employers in the corporate, non-profit, education and government sectors. The organization’s mission is to educate and equip diversity executives and professionals with the tools needed to design and execute effective diversity and inclusion strategies; share information and resources through an international business network; and establish a global standard of quality in the field of diversity. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto: www.societyfordiversity.org

 

Society for Diversity Media Contact:

Leah Smiley

1-800-764-3336

leahsmiley@societyfordiversity.org

 

About Braidio:

Braidio’s cloud-based Collaborative Learning Platform focuses on three basic human activities – learning, networking and collaboration – to establish a sustainable employee-driven learning economy within your organization. Our content delivery approach enables your employees to organically integrate learning into their daily workflow while allowing the employer to build and monitor learning metrics. As a result, Braidio advances your business with talent development tools that employees will actually use, at a fraction of the cost of traditional (and under-utilized) training tools. With customers ranging from Fortune 100 enterprises to SMBs, Braidio provides a solution that is affordable, scalable and effective regardless of whether you have a few employees or offices around the globe. For more information, please visit braidio.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Braidio Media Contact:

Benjamin Doda

Resound Marketing

(732) 580-7276

ben@resoundmarketing.com

By Leah Smiley

spongebobWhile some may not like rap music or the hip hop culture, we all have to come to terms with its dominant influence on youth around the world.

In the wake of the “Straight Outta Compton” movie occupying the #1 box office spot for three weeks in a row, and generating over $147 million (in respect to a $28 million budget), the entertainment industry is paying attention to hip-hop music. Case in Point:  Over Labor Day weekend, Nickelodeon ran a Sponge Bob dance party commercial featuring a “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)” remix by 17-year old rapper, Silento.

In the making for over 40 years and globally diverse, the hip-hop culture has impacted language, graffiti art, music, dance, social and multi-media, as well as styles of dress. CNN recently explored hip hop’s influence on fashion in a documentary entitled, “Fresh Dressed”. This fascinating chronicle revealed the historical influences in the development of a new genre of music, and its ultimate relevance to the entertainment and fashion industries.

When rap music first appeared, many thought it was a fad that was associated with gangs and undesirable “urban consumers”. But trillions of dollars later, some actually realize that this style of music can impact everything from education to product placement. Some forward thinking companies were able to brilliantly parlay hip hop music into increased sales, new product development, and better market penetration for Generation X, Millennials, and I-Gen. While such a multi-cultural marketing strategy does not replace traditional efforts, it does supplement an overall game plan to stay relevant for generations to come.

Beyond the entertainment industry, professionals and executives must continuously ask themselves, “How Can I Stay Relevant?” There are several things that we can do to personally ensure that our careers do not stagnate amidst a global culture that is continuously changing:

  1. Manage your time well so that your schedule allows you to read professional and industry-related news on a regular basis.
  2. Anticipate problems by understanding how trends will impact the organization now and in the future.
  3. Become more knowledgeable about global affairs—read, take classes, attend conferences, and network with others.
  4. Build a strong professional network, inside and outside of your organization.
  5. Demonstrate self-initiative by volunteering for key assignments or acquiring skills that are relevant to industry trends (e.g., such as foreign language skills or building strong teams across cultures)
  6. Take advantage of data and analytics to provide deeper insights.
  7. Foster a transparent environment by demonstrating your own openness to different ideas, requesting feedback outside of performance reviews, asking for help, and being responsive.

 

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org

Diversity & Inclusion

How are you proactively planning for the future of business?

Last week, I co-presented a webinar about the 2015 Diversity Leadership Retreat. I discussed “5 Trends That Will Impact Diversity & Inclusion Work.” A summation of my presentation follows.

Within the scope of diversity and inclusion work, it is important for organizations to proactively:

  • Understand Diversity & Inclusion from a Global Context
    There is a “Make in India” pitch, a “Made in China” campaign, a “Made in America” movement, and so many other promotions to persuade manufacturers and consumers to invest their monies. Beyond short term job creation and tax revenue benefits, these campaigns point to a long-term strategy for global dominance.

    Sustainable revenue growth is one of the drivers behind the need to do business better in international markets, as well as the impetus to appeal to diverse employees and consumers in distinct regions. Nevertheless, in these global markets, diversity issues will manifest in different forms. For example, in some places, religion, age and income are issues; in other places, the biggest diversity “problems” center around emigrants and women, or the LGBT and disabled communities.

    In Forbes, Glenn Llopis writes, “No longer can America’s corporations hide behind their lack of cultural intelligence.  Organizations that seek global market relevancy must embrace diversity – in how they think, act and innovate.  Diversity can no longer just be about making the numbers, but rather how an organization treats its people authentically down to the roots of its business model.   In today’s new workplace, diversity management is a time-sensitive business imperative.”

    Thus, instead of viewing diversity as a problem, the challenge lies in seeing opportunities that exist when embracing under-served and under-utilized markets.

  • Realize the Need to Offset Impending Labor & Economic Shortages with Women
    “A society where women can shine should not only be a PR exercise (for companies and the government) to demonstrate that they are utilizing female talent. The important thing is to change the rules of the game by incorporating the perspectives of women in corporate management and work style,” Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe once said.

    “International organizations including the World Economic Forum and the International Monetary Fund have long called on Japan to make more use of its female workforce to offset the labor shortage brought on by its rapidly aging population and antiquated traditions — some 60 percent of Japanese women quit work after giving birth. One of the obstacles blocking working moms from climbing the ladder, let alone staying employed, is posed by Japan’s notoriously and often unnecessarily long working hours”, according to a July 2014 article, Female Workers May Finally Get Foothold, in Working Woman Report.

    Japan isn’t the only country facing a shortage of skilled workers. Nor are they the only nation to consider fully-engaging women in the labor market and economy.

    Since 2006, the World Economic Forum has issued a Global Gender Gap Index. According to The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, the authors propose that closing gender gaps is important not only from an equity perspective, but also from an economic one: Research shows that investments in women’s education and use of female talent boost a country’s competitiveness.

    Report authors cite the benefits of more women working: The talent pool across leadership positions is larger, women’s decision making tends to be less risky, and gender-equal teams may be more successful. Countries that have closed education gaps and have high levels of women’s economic participation—the Nordic countries, the United States, the Philippines, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia–are better prepared for global competition.

  • Hedge Competitive Pressures with Innovation
    The competitive landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade. For one, customer preferences are shifting rapidly, placing a higher preference on personalization, interaction and mobile solutions.

    In the Marketing Society’s Forum on “Are We Keeping Pace with Changing Consumer Preferences?”, Louis Fowler, Marketing Director at First Direct, asserts, “We are prone to making the mistake of thinking we can predict what’s going to happen, rather than finding a way to respond quickly when things do. Technology not only enables, but also holds us back as it can be slow and expensive. The answer is in people, not systems.” People, in particular diverse employees, are key to anticipating and addressing changing customer preferences before the competition meets their needs.

    The second major component of competition involves the global context of modern day business. These competitive pressures are not just being felt on businesses. Educational institutions, nonprofits and government entities are concerned about competition as well. For example, Inc. Magazine recently ran an article entitled, “Pushing the Boundaries” by Greg Lindsay. The article highlighted the fact that Santiago, Chile offers entrepreneurs a one-year visa, free workspace and $33,000 in cash to relocate. Meanwhile Tallinn, Estonia, began offering e-residencies, which grants foreigners the same digital identities that are Estonians’ birthright.

  • Stay Abreast of Continuously Changing Demographics & Projections
    California recently scaled back its 2050 Hispanic population projection by 7 million. A Pew Research Center report states that “Under projections published in 2007, the state’s Hispanic population was expected to reach 31 million in 2050, or 52.1% of all Californians. But according to updated projections released late last year, Hispanics are now expected to number 23.7 million in 2050, or 47.6% of all Californians. That pushes the prospect of a Hispanic demographic majority further into the future – perhaps to sometime after 2060.”

    California is not alone. In May 2015, the Washington Post reported, “As the Department of Homeland Security continues to pour money into border security, evidence is emerging that illegal immigration flows have fallen to their lowest level in at least two decades.”  Recent Census reports show that data pertaining to older workers, women, veterans, LGBT, and other demographic groups are also moving targets because of global population changes and the complexity of diversity.

  • Utilize Multi-Dimensional Frameworks
    Speaking of complexity, the U.S. Census Bureau is presently grappling with how to describe current demographics pertaining to existing definitions of race and family, as the current definitions are not as clear-cut as they used to be half a century ago.

    Likewise, in the workplace, using a uni-dimensional framework with employee resource groups, supplier diversity, or recruiting, worked well at some point in the last decade. But employers are quickly learning that using singular dimensions such as race, ethnicity or gender are not sufficient anymore. For example, some companies have been exploring how to create Business Resource Groups that include White men. Additionally, simply having an Employee Resource Group for individuals with disabilities may not adequately serve a company’s growing base of caregivers. Hence, organizations must think beyond current diversity efforts toward the future of inclusion.

In our next webinar for the 2015 Diversity Leadership Retreat, l will discuss 7 areas where you could make more of an impact with diversity and inclusion. To register for this FREE webinar, click here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4193645463497400833

Also, we need your feedback! Please participate in a brief survey on “Global Supplier Diversity Trends” at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DXYLK5B

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto www.societyfordiversity.org

 

global tech

 

The comfort of community, and the idea that I belong, is a powerful nod to something that is better understood than articulated. As a 22 year-old black male in America I am reminded daily that I do not belong to the “in-group” in mainstream society. Yet, I embrace this challenge. As I draw stares and confused glances, I realize that the message behind these uncomfortable interactions is progress. My suit is Ralph Lauren, my smile is big, and my personality is even bigger. I represent progress.

For the time being, some might be uncomfortable with the idea of inclusion and one day working for a young executive like myself, but the reality is, I am not going anywhere, and neither are all the people I represent.

Yesterday Apple took a huge, progressive step in this realm of representation by embracing diversity in global customer preferences, via its recent product development efforts. The company released iOS 8.3 for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch products. The update, which has been in beta for several months, brings over 300 new emojis (including diversity options) as well as a new keyboard for inputting the symbols. iOS 8.3 also includes a whole host of new Siri languages, so more international users can benefit from Apple’s virtual personal assistant. The update adds Siri in Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Siri’s voice has been tweaked to reflect this update.

Being represented on a global scale has to be one of the true proud moments I’ve felt as an American– and to you Apple, I thank you. Emoji’s on the iPhone have always been a part of my day-to-day communications but the emoji’s were previously one-dimensional. To those on the inside looking out at this subject it is easy to claim theatrics, grand hyperbole, etc…and to those who share this perspective,  I forgive you. But it doesn’t change the fact that I, Ian Gabriel Cureton, appreciate what Apple has done for my self-actualization, as well as for setting a precedent in the tech sector by promoting the importance of diversity for all.

 

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Ian Cureton is an intern for the Society for Diversity. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto http://www.societyfordiversity.org.

What Can Indiana Fix?

By Leah Smiley

indianaFirst, let me preface this conversation by stating unequivocally:  religion, politics, and business (in a capitalistic economy) DO NOT mix well.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has caused such an uproar in the last couple of weeks that it’s hard to believe that nearly two dozen other states have the same law. Apparently in Indiana, the bill’s intent of protecting businesses does not align with its impact of hurting companies that do business in the state of Indiana. Even the Society for Diversity got “the message”. In response to a recent membership promotion advertising a partnership with The Derwin Smiley Show and the Indianapolis 500, one person said:

“I would ask you to revisit this contest considering what is happening in Indy right now. I don’t think it is in the best interest of any person or groups of people who work on diversity matters to be supporting anything in Indiana.”

My staff freaked out! Meanwhile, Indiana’s Governor seems to be unfazed by all of the negative attention the bill is receiving in his state.

Governor Mike Pence recently wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal doubling down on his position. He asserted that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is “Ensuring Religious Freedom in Indiana” because it is a law that was intended to preempt the Affordable Care Act from forcing businesses to act against their religious beliefs in the provision of healthcare or insurance.

Yet, something about this RFRA law seems unnecessary, even exorbitant, in the quest for religious “freedom”. Even in the other states where the law has been successfully enacted, there is the stench of religious intolerance– the same kind that has driven millions of believers away from various monotheistic faiths. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center study, “The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.”

I live in Indiana, and the Society for Diversity is headquartered in Indiana.The Society for Diversity’s position on the law is that no organization in the United States should be allowed to legally discriminate against any person for any reason. After all, if you are going to be in business for the long-term, you must serve more people than your competitors– and you have to serve them better than your competitors. This is the competitive advantage of diversity. Additionally, if we are going to bring “religion” into the conversation, what ever happened to doing what is right?

Currently, business leaders are organizing a statewide effort to fix the law. As this process plays out, I would like to know what would you suggest?

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Leah Smiley is the President of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about the Society for Diversity, log onto www.societyfordiversity.org.

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