“Diversity without unity makes about as much
sense as dishing up flour, sugar, water, eggs, shortening and baking
powder on a plate and calling it a cake.”
---C. William Pollard
put like this, one gets a great visual! It’s not enough to say that you
hire women, blacks, and Hispanics. Simply giving someone a job is just
the beginning. Do you remember the days when the United States was
called a melting pot? That analogy didn’t hold up because it meant that
we take all these diverse peoples, add them together, stir things up
and come out with a melted down version and everyone is the same. That
is what many businesses are supporting today. It’s acceptable to hire
women and minorities as long as they “act” like white males. Corporate
America is still striving for the melting pot. What we need is a salad
bowl where everyone can maintain their unique flavors but when put
together, the salad is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
We will not truly value diversity until there is unity. People and differences will no longer be tolerated; they will be respected and appreciated. We need a sense of teamwork and togetherness. We must value the differences and actually see and understand how what each person brings to the table is an asset. I remember when women wanted to be firefighters and many men argued and complained that women had no right to attempt to do manual labor that required the strength of a man. One of the things I always thought about is what if there were a structural fire and a child was hiding in a small space? Wouldn’t it be possible that a woman might be able to enter a smaller space and calm a frightened child? Her differences adds an advantage to the team.
Instead of being frustrated by differences, we must learn to recognize them and find a way for those differences to create a stronger team, provide value in the marketplace and generally enhance the lives of those who experience it. There must be unity or minority members will not feel comfortable sharing their expertise, people will go about doing things in a random fashion and too much time will be wasted arguing about who is right instead of looking for ways to leverage the contributions of each member of the team.