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Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

In 2018, Starbucks made headlines when it closed its stores for all employees to attend unconscious bias training. The training came after an incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks, in which two young Black entrepreneurs had the police called on them and were led out in handcuffs less than 10 minutes after they arrived.

Their “crime”? They had been waiting for a business meeting to begin and had not yet ordered anything.

“Starbucks is a microcosm of what’s happening in the United States, said Jen Randle, a consultant who helped coordinate the trainings. “We all have bias. It doesn’t matter your race or ethnicity.”

With Starbucks a microcosm of society, this type of incident could happen in your workplace. Let’s explore how diversity training in the workplace (when properly implemented) can truly benefit all.

Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

  1. Diversity Provides Fresh Perspectives

Not all people think or view the world alike. Hiring people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and religions opens the door for fresh perspectives. Thus diversity offers your company benefits such as increased problem solving.

Some managers struggle with the idea of hiring different types of people and personalities. It can be awkward to introduce diverse opinions. But research has demonstrated that more diverse teams have a 60 percent improvement in decision-making abilities.

  1. Improved Recruitment and Retention

A company seeking diverse candidates has access to a wider talent pool. As you reflect on your hiring process, you may find you’re biased against certain employee traits, but this might weed out some valuable candidates. Embrace diversity in background, thought, ethnicity, culture, nationality, etc. to hire the very best talent.

Furthermore, having a diverse workforce can improve your retention rate. Most employees and job seekers desire a diverse workforce and take this into account when evaluating companies and their job offers. Companies that emphasize diversity are more likely to attract and keep the best talent.

  1. Diversity Increases Profit

Businesses must make a profit. The good news is that focusing on diversity – and enhancing it in your workplace – will improve your profitability. A report by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35 percent more likely to have above-average profits. Another study by BCG found that increasing the diversity of the leadership teams leads to improved financial performance. These findings demonstrate just how important it is to prioritize your staff. You handle your staff, and they’ll handle the work.

Final Thoughts

Diversity is a fact, inclusion is an act. To benefit from diversity, you must create inclusion. “Diversity and inclusion” work in tandem. Diversity is essential for all the benefits above, but without inclusion, there can be a diversity backlash. So focus and D&I to enjoy the full benefits of inclusion in the workplace.

Respectful scheduling is an essential component of inclusion and belonging. For tips, see our 2023 Diversity Calendar, as well as our 2023 Interfaith Calendar.

Black Lives Matter: How D&I Has – and Hasn’t – Changed

George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, resulting in an immense response worldwide. In the U.S., citizens took to the streets and expressed anger through protests, giving birth to the Black Lives Matter movement.

During this period, many businesses made public statements against racism and injustice. Many companies voiced a desired to boost support for diversity, equity, and inclusion in response to the movement.

Today we’re nearly 2.5 years out from Floyd’s death, and we’ll highlight how DEI has and hasn’t changed.

Workplace DEI: Sustainable or Performative?

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, companies sought to illustrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion. They did this by, for example, promising the following:

  • Making hiring practices more equitable
  • Selecting vendors that support D&I
  • Financial commitments ($50 billion overall)

Unfortunately, some of these promises were not sincere. Companies like Wells Fargo and the NFL have been accused of conducting sham interviews of candidates with diverse backgrounds, after positions were already filled. In other words, they never intended to hire these candidates; they simply held them to meet their stated diversity objectives.

Furthermore, although U.S. companies pledged $50 billion toward racial equity, only $250 million has been spent toward that specific initiative, according to the firm Creative Investment Research.

Make DEI Mission-Critical, Not Peripheral

DEI training in the workplace is often treated as a task to be done when there’s additional time. One way to ingrain DEI into your organization’s genetic code, is by hiring or expanding your DEI leadership. Job roles such as Chief Diversity Officer, with a dedicated team, will help ensure that DEI is core work, rather than elective.

Another way to do this is by including a DEI section in performance evaluations. When you tie DEI work to rewards (i.e., pay, promotion, bonuses), it becomes central to people’s daily jobs rather than an afterthought.

Make DEI Real

Performance activism is dangerous. It’s unhelpful at best, and at worst, it’s detrimental. It makes social justice trendy while simultaneously killing the movement of actual social progress. Companies must do more than send an email, schedule an extra interview for a candidate they won’t hire, or pledge funds they won’t spend.

This leads employees to believe that their employer is doing more than they actually are. For employees that choose to work for companies in part because of their alleged DEI initiatives, this can not only be incredibly disappointing but unfair.

Focus on Behavior-Based DEI Training

The DEI efforts in your workplace cannot simply be geared toward increasing awareness or changing attitudes. For it to be effective, training must be behavior-based so that employees (managers included) can see appropriate behaviors modeled and learn how to conduct themselves properly in the workplace.

Final Thoughts

Activism takes time and change requires effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it often requires an overhaul of what’s always been done. The racial justice movement ignited in 2020 shouldn’t be a passing trend; it’s worthy of being ingrained in our society and business forevermore.

December 2022 Diversity Calendar

Below you’ll find a small sampling of our December diversity events – to see all 100+ events this year, see our interactive online DEI Calendar

December is here! It’s a long-awaited month by many because it signals upcoming time off. However, make sure you switch up the office decorations from the typical “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” signs. There are several other diversity days you can celebrate.

December 1: World AIDS Day

This day helps raise awareness for HIV/AIDs. Hold a fundraiser in your office to help fight the HIV epidemic and raise money to find a cure. You can also pass out red ribbons. These are the universal symbol of support for those living with HIV/AIDs. And ensure your employees are sensitive and respectful by exploring the 5 types of diversity training in the workplace.

December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

All people, regardless of ability, deserve to be treated with dignity and given rights. The United Nations created the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 1992 to help people with disabilities participate without any barriers. Spend this day evaluating your workplace. Is it truly accessible to all? Ask your staff and see if they have any feedback they can provide on the topic!

December 10: International Human Rights Day (United Nations)

The UN established International Human Rights Day in 1948 following World War II. It uses the United States’ Bill of Rights as a model. To observe this December diversity day, you can read the full Universal Declaration of Human Rights online.

December 16 to December 24: Las Posadas

The religious festival of Las Posadas is primarily celebrated in Latin American countries, Mexico, and Spain. Some Hispanics in the United States also celebrate this festival. The festival is a reenactment of Mary and Joseph traveling to various homes in the community that are designated as “inns.” After the reenactment, there is a celebration.

December 18 to December 26: Hanukkah

This is an 8-day, 8-night celebration in the Jewish faith honoring the triumph of their ancestors over the Syrian Greeks. To see the “Festival of Lights” observed, ask to join in a night of celebrations with a Jewish friend’s family.

Discover more interfaith events with our list of key religious holidays 2023

December 21: Winter Solstice/Yule

The Winter Solstice is known as Yule to those practicing the Pagan and Wiccan faiths. The day marks the longest night of the year and the return of the sun. You can celebrate Yule by lighting a Yule log, making an evergreen wreath, having a nature-based treat, and decluttering your space.

December 25: Christmas

This is one of the most important Christian holidays that celebrates the birth of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is also of cultural importance to those who do not actively practice the Christian faith.

December 26: Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is an 8-day celebration of life that is inspired by the African harvest celebrations. The holiday was created by an American professor of African studies, activist, and author, Maulana Karenga. It has been celebrated since the 1960s.

Final Thoughts

As the year comes to an end, try to celebrate two or three new holidays in addition to the ones typical to your household. This can encourage learning about other backgrounds and open your mind to other cultures. Who knows — these diversity days may become part of your yearly traditions

Which diversity days do you want to learn more about next year? Get a head start on next year with our Diversity and Calendar 2023

November 2022 Diversity Calendar

Below you’ll find a small sampling of our November diversity events – to see all 100+ events this year, see our interactive online DEI Calendar

Respectful scheduling and inclusion opportunities are an essential part of diversity training in the workplace. This November Multicultural Calendar can help you increase your knowledge about holidays celebrated by diverse people. Here are some you should consider including on the company’s calendar.

Native American Heritage Month

As Thanksgiving approaches, this is a fitting November diversity celebration. Native American Heritage Month celebrates the culture and heritage of native people who enrich this country. You can make this month more personal to your region by researching native tribes living near you, and exploring their rich culture.

Movember

Every November, a fundraiser is held to raise awareness for men’s health issues. These include prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide. Consider holding a fundraiser in your office and celebrating the department that raises the most money.

November 1 – 2: All Saints Day/All Souls Day/Día de los Muertos

This is a Christian holiday commemorating all people who have passed. It is often celebrated in the Mexican and Aztec communities. Have a traditional Dia de los Muertos lunch in the office with chicken tamales, candied pumpkin, Oaxacan hot chocolate, and day of the dead cookies. If appropriate, employees can share about a loved one they’re thinking about on the day.

Explore more religious observances with our Interfaith Calendar 2023

November 16: International Day for Tolerance

The UN founded this day to promote respect for diverse languages, ethnicities, cultures and religions. Education is a key component of tolerance. Acknowledge this day and send out a short sheet reviewing unconscious biases to help inform your staff. And foster greater tolerance and inclusion at work with online diversity and inclusion training.

November 16: Dutch American Heritage Day

Did you know the Netherlands was one of the first countries to recognize the U.S. as sovereign from Great Britain? This November multicultural celebration honors the friendship between the countries for hundreds of years. Presidents Martin Van Buren, Warren G. Harding, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt have all been important Dutch figures in American history.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Dozens of transgender people are killed each year due to transphobia. This November diversity day seeks to remember them. On this day, you can demonstrate your support for transgender individuals who are still living. Strive to practice active allyship each day and always use the correct language to refer to this community. And foster a sense of inclusion with our LGBT training in the workplace

Final Thoughts

Get outside your bubble and bring multicultural holidays and diversity days into the workplace! Explore next month with our December 2022 Diversity Calendar. Or get a head start on next year with our Diversity Calendar 2023

October 2022 Diversity Calendar

Below you’ll find a small sampling of our October diversity calendar events – to see all 100+ events this year, see our interactive online DEI Calendar

As we approach the holiday season, it’s essential to include diversity days and months on your workplace’s calendar. While the masses may only celebrate Halloween and Christmas, others in your office will appreciate and benefit from your acknowledgment of lesser-known holidays. To help you, below you’ll find our October 2022 Diversity Calendar.

Global Diversity Awareness Month

The world is full of diverse beliefs and cultures. Expand your horizons and become more globally aware during this October diversity month. We suggest seeking out someone who has a different background than yourself and asking them to coffee. During your coffee date, ask open-ended questions that can help you learn about their story. And explore cultural competency, one of 5 types of diversity training in the workplace.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October diversity topics include acknowledging the workplace contributions of people with disabilities. We recommend educating your workforce about disability employment issues in your workplace during the month of October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October diversity events include this annual campaign, which helps raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, hold a short seminar in your workplace to educate employees about the symptoms and importance of early detection.

National Polish American Heritage Month

Our October multicultural calendar includes honoring Polish heritage. October was chosen because that’s when Polish settlers arrived in Jamestown, VA in 1608. Host lunch for the office one day and order Polish dishes like pierogis. And foster greater awareness of cultural diversity in the workplace

October 10: World Mental Health Day

This day promotes mental health awareness and education. All people have mental health, in the same way they have physical health. Hold a mental health workshop in your office to explore the importance of self-care and mental wellness.

October 10: Indigenous Peoples’ Day (United States)

Many people remember this holiday as “Columbus Day.” They even learned the rhyme “in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” to celebrate. However, Columbus couldn’t discover a land that already existed and was inhabited by the indigenous people of North America. This day now honors the original inhabitants of the Americas.

 October 14: Defender of Ukraine Day

October multicultural holidays include this powerful event. The first celebration of Defender of Ukraine Day took place on October 14, 2015. The day honors all those who fight for Ukraine’s sovereignty, including the ongoing invasion by a Russian dictator. Observe this day by donating to an organization providing humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.

October 21: Spirit Day

Did you know that every year, up to 40 percent of LGBTQ youth consider suicide? This number rises when you consider just transgender and nonbinary youth. Spirit Day is an October diversity day to show support for these individuals by wearing purple. We must show acceptance and speak out against bullying. And foster a sense of inclusion with sensitivity training in the workplace.

October 24: Diwali

An October diversity celebration, Diwali is perhaps the most important festival in the Hindu faith. During this time, Hindus praise diverse deities. Go all out in your office this year and ask Hindu associates to help plan some festivities. Some ideas include getting Henna artists, decorating the office, and having an ethnic clothing contest. And discover more interfaith events with our list of key religious holidays 2023

Final Thoughts

And that concludes our October 2022 Diversity Calendar! Don’t stop there. What other diversity days would you enjoy discovering? Preview next month with our November 2022 Diversity Calendar. And get a head start on the coming year with our Diversity Calendar 2023

Cultural Competency Training: 6 Keys

What Is Cultural Competency Training?

The United States is called the Great Melting Pot, a nation with incredible cultural diversity. And with such diversity, it’s essential for organizations to foster cultural competence and sensitivity.

It’s essential for workplaces to give employees the cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills to increase cultural knowledge and boost social awareness. Here’s what you need to know about cultural competency training.

What is Cultural Competence?

Cultural competence is the combination of cultural knowledge, awareness, and social skills. It enables people to communicate effectively, and collaborate with individuals of various cultural backgrounds. Here are 5 skills that are obtained through education and experience:

Mindfulness – the ability to be aware of how communication and interaction with others are developed

Cognitive Flexibility – the ability to create new categories of information rather than old categories

Tolerance for Ambiguity – the ability to maintain focus in situations that are not clear, rather than become anxious, and to methodically determine the best approach as the situation moves forward

Behavioral Flexibility – the ability to adapt and accommodate behaviors to a different culture

Cross-Cultural Empathy – the ability to visualize the situation of another person from an intellectual and emotional point of view

Cultural competency training both models and provides educational instruction that outlines positive behaviors, attitudes, and policies.

What Are the Benefits of Cultural Competency Training?

Here are some benefits of cultural competency training at work:

  • Increases cultural understanding and skills
  • Boosts customer satisfaction
  • Improves work outcomes
  • Creates more open-minded employees
  • Encourages active listening, empathy, and overall better communication skills
  • Fosters a variety of diverse perspectives, ideas, and strategies
  • Prompts productivity and cooperation

How Do You Create Cultural Competency Training?

To add or boost cultural training in your workplace, consider these 6 keys as a layout for your program and build from there.

1. Define Diversity

Ground your entire cultural competency program with an initial discussion about diversity. What is it? How has it impacted your organization? How does it impact others with different identities? How do we develop an understanding of ourselves in relation to others? The process of socialization deeply impacts our behaviors, values, and interaction with the world.

Celebrating diversity made easy, with our best-selling DEI calendar – respectful and inclusive scheduling made easy!

2. Improve Self-Awareness

Spend some time exploring social groups and how they impact the lives of participants. This can be an interesting part of your session as some people deeply identify with their social groups, while others have hardly thought about how they belong to them. Either way, boosting self-awareness will allow your participants to see how they are connected to a greater system.

3. Unpack Cultural Baggage

While most people don’t like to admit it, we all have biases, stereotypes, and prejudices. Discuss your unconscious biases, unpack your cultural bias, and understand the unintended impact that comes with that…especially as it pertains to someone’s individual professional role.

4. Explore “isms”

“Isms” are attitudes, actions, or institutional structures that can oppress certain individuals or groups. What are the most common “isms”? What is the relationship between these systems of oppression and the assumptions people make about others?

Explore more with our training on Microaggressions at the workplace 

5. Understand Privilege

Spend some time unpacking the complex web of privilege. Different types of privilege interconnect, and most have a systemic origin. Start broad with these details, and then get specific about the types of privilege that benefit some – and not others.

6. Create Allies

Cultural competency training seeks to create allies. Spend some time discussing actionable ways that you can address issues when they arise, or if diversity, equity, and inclusion are threatened.

Final Thoughts

Cultural competency training can improve the knowledge, understanding, and skills. These benefits show when working with both customers and coworkers from culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. Take this step to ensure everyone at your organization is protected!

Get a headstart to the next year with our 2023 diversity calendar for diversity topics to include at the workplace

Celebrate and schedule with inclusion with our 2023 Interfaith calendar

September 2022 Diversity Calendar

Below you’ll find a small sampling of our September diversity calendar events – to see all 100+ events this year, see our interactive online DEI Calendar.

September is a busy month for most people! Between the change of season, the start of a new school year for families, countless birthdays, Labor Day Weekend, and so much more, most people have packed calendars. This year, get some September diversity days on your schedule as well. This will keep you motivated to learn about new cultures and practices around you.

September 15 to October 15: National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month was first declared in September 1989. It aims to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community. During this month, the independence days of several Latin American countries are also celebrated. These include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chile.

National Recovery Month

This is a national observance held each September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices for substance use disorder. It was launched in 1989 by SAMSHA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). During this time, you can honor National Recovery Month by reaching out to anyone you know in recovery, attending 12-step meetings, or posting on social media about your own progress or experience.

September 20: HeForShe

Our list of September diversity topics includes HeForShe is a social movement campaign created by the UN to promote gender equality. It’s targeted at men to become the agents of change for women’s rights. If you’re a man, here’s how you can be a better ally for gender equality.

  • Actively listen to women and their perspectives
  • Reflect on your own power and privilege as a man
  • Credit your female coworkers’ ideas fairly
  • Advocate for gender-equitable policies in the workplace
  • Challenge sexism and speak up when you hear sexist language used
  • Take on your full share of the housework and childcare at home

Building strong allyship on your radar? Head to our online diversity training page for useful resources.

September 22: Autumnal Equinox

Fall is now upon us! The autumnal equinox may seem like a simple shift of seasons, but around the world, it’s the time for various religious observances worldwide. Discover more interfaith events with our list of key religious holidays 2022.

September 25 to September 27: Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, a September multicultural celebration, is the Jewish New Year festival. The holiday officially begins at nightfall, and those following the rabbinical customs will attend synagogue services to recite a special liturgy about teshuva. Eating symbolic foods is also now a tradition of the holiday. Some symbolic foods include apples dipped in honey. If you’ve never celebrated Rosh Hashanah previously, you may try participating in some of these customs.

Final Thoughts

Which diversity days do you want to learn more about this year? Get a head start on next month with our October 2022 Diversity Calendar, or next year with our Diversity Calendar 2023.

August 2022 Diversity Calendar

Below you’ll find a small sampling of our August diversity calendar events – to see all 100+ events this year, see our interactive online DEI Calendar.

August brings a season of change. For some people, it’s back to work and/or back to school. For others, it’s a relaxing time for vacation. Whatever August means to you, try challenging yourself by integrating August diversity days into your personal or work calendar. Celebrate a religious holiday you’ve never heard of or enjoy a book on a topic below.

August 4: Barack Obama’s Birthday

On August 4, we celebrate the birthday of the U.S.’ first Black president. Some of his most notable achievements include the Affordable Care Act, the Paris climate change agreement, and Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He was also awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

This day was created by the UN to celebrate the culture of indigenous people around the world. Here are a few recommendations to honor this August diversity celebration at your workplace…

  • Educating yourself by listening to podcasts and radio programs that highlight indigenous voices
  • Supporting indigenous artists
  • Donating to indigenous-led solutions
  • Taking action to protect indigenous land defenders
  • Learning about indigenous language poetry

August 15: Feast of the Assumption

This Roman Catholic feast day is also known simply as “The Assumption.” It’s a holy day that marks the Virgin Mary’s bodily ascent into heaven at the end of her life. Depending on the country, this day may be celebrated by festivals, fireworks, and colorful street processions.

August 18: Birth of Lord Krishna

This August multicultural holiday is also called Janmashtami. It celebrates the birth of one of the most popular deities in the Hindu faith. People celebrate by fasting, singing hymns, visiting temples, preparing feasts, and praying together. Discover more interfaith events with our list of key religious holidays 2022.

August 24: Marlee Matlin’s Birthday

Marlee Matlin is the only hearing-impaired actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor or Best Actress. This is a big win for people with disabilities, and demonstrates the power of representation. Here are some ways you can be inclusive of deaf culture:

  • Speak directly to people instead of their interpreter
  • Look directly into the camera when speaking
  • Make sure that only one person speaks at a time
  • Take meeting minutes and have them distributed

August 26: Women’s Equality Day

Each year on August 26 we celebrate Women’s Equality Day. It commemorates American women gaining the right to vote in 1920. The date was proclaimed Women’s Equality Day by Congress in 1973. To celebrate, we suggest creating a women’s mentoring program at your office, donating to a women-focused cause, or enjoying a book on on your favorite iconic woman. Strengthen your workforce by fostering gender sensitivity and inclusion with our online diversity training

August 29: Al-Hijri

Al-Hijri marks the start of the New Year in the Muslim faith. It begins on the evening of August 28 and ends on the evening of August 29. To celebrate this religious holiday, Muslims will make resolutions and spend time with family. It’s important to note there’s a significant difference in how the holiday is celebrated between the two sects of Islam (Shiites and Sunnis).

August 31: Ganesh Chaturthi

Our August multicultural calendar includes Ganesh Chaturthi, a 10-day Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of this god. Lord Ganesha is the god of new beginnings and a fresh start, and the festival normally lasts 10 days long. If you need a fresh beginning this August, consider learning more about this practice and celebrating the festival.

Final Thoughts

August is all about expanding your horizons! It’s never too late to start learning about diversity and integrating it into your life. Preview the rest of this year with our our D&I Calendar 2022, or get a head start next year with our Diversity Calendar 2023

July 2022 Diversity Calendar

Below you’ll find a small sampling of our July diversity calendar events – to see all 100+ events this year, see our interactive online DEI Calendar.

It’s summertime! When most of us think of July, we think of the fireworks celebrating the founding of the United States. However, several other diversity days are worth our attention. Here are some July diversity topics that should be on your radar this year.

July 2: Thurgood Marshall’s Birthday

Thurgood Marshall was the nation’s first Black Supreme Court Justice. This year, we’ll celebrate his birthday with the first Black woman, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, on the court. These individuals are vital reminders of just how much representation matters. In addition to being a justice, Marshall was also a well-known civil rights activist.

July 6: Dalai Lama’s Birthday

Happy birthday to the 14th Dalai Lama, the most famous Buddhist teacher in the world. The Dalai Lama is widely respected for his commitment to both nonviolence and Tibetan freedom. He was awarded the 1989 peace prize for advocating for solutions based on tolerance and mutual respect. Despite being exiled from Tibet, he has continually sought to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.

July 6: Frida Kahlo’s Birthday

July diversity celebrations include the birthday of Frida Kahlo (Women, Mexican): one of the most recognizable painters of the 20th century

July 7: The Hajj

Our July diversity month includes The Hajj, an annual pilgrimage and one of the pillars of Islam. All able-bodied Muslims are required to undertake the journey to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. Once in Mecca, all Muslims perform a series of rituals. Discover more interfaith events with our list of key religious holidays 2022.

July 18: Nelson Mandela’s Birthday

On this day, we celebrate the birth of the South African civil rights leader. He won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1993. He then served as the country’s first Black president from 1994 to 1999, leading the country’s transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy. Mandela demonstrated that all people can make a positive impact on the world through small acts of kindness. Consider spending this day volunteering for a local cause. And celebrate Mandela’s legacy by fostering greater racial inclusion with online diversity training.

July 25: Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day, a July multicultural holiday, is associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church) as well as a Utah State holiday. It officially marks the date when LDS church founder Brigham Young arrived in the Salt Lake area. To celebrate, most people take the day off, watch fireworks, walk the Mormon Trail, go to picnics, etc.

July 26: Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA. This civil rights law made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in areas like employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and access to state and local government programs/services.

Celebrate the anniversary of the ADA by conducting in-house training to increase sensitivity for people with disabilities. Or review physical or architectural barriers in your workplace, and ensure your website and other digital assets are compliant for people with visual and other impairments.

Final Thoughts

Every day is a great time change the world – and create greater equity and inclusion – with a small act of kindness or celebration of diversity. Get a head start on the rest of the year with our Equality and Diversity Calendar 2022.

What Are Microaggressions?

Microaggressions

Microaggressions are one of the 4 essential types of diversity training in the workplace. They’re behaviors or statements that do not necessarily reflect malicious intent, but which nevertheless inflict insult or injury.

The term was first coined after the Civil Rights era – around the late 1960s or early 1970s. During this time, visible and violent expressions of racism were replaced by subtler manifestations. Today, “microaggression” has become a buzzword in the social justice arena, and now we’re breaking it down for you to understand.

What are some examples of microaggressions?

After reading the above definition, do you know what a microaggression is? Can you think of one you’ve witnessed?

If not, we don’t blame you. Unless you’ve learned about them before or been a victim yourself, microaggressions can be tricky to conceptualize. It’s not because they don’t exist – it’s because they’re like implicit biases. Microaggressions and implicit biases are often not “problems” to anyone who isn’t directly impacted by them.

As psychologist, author, and Columbia professor Derald Wing Sue, Ph.D., puts it, microaggressions are “the everyday slights, indignities, put-downs, and insults that people of color, women, LGBT populations, or those who are marginalized experience in their day-to-day interactions with people.”

Here are some examples. See if any of these are familiar to you!

ThemeMicroaggressionMessage
Alien in own land“So, where are you from?”You are a foreigner
A White person does not want to acknowledge race“When I look at you, I don’t see color.”Denying a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience
The notion that the values and communication styles of the dominant/White culture are the ideal/”norm”To an Asian, Latino, or Native American, “Why are you so quiet? We want to hear what you think. Speak up more!”Assimilate to the dominant culture
A statement made when bias is denied“I’m not racist. I have several Black friends!”I could never be racist because I have friends of color
Statements that assert that race or gender does not play a role in life successes“I believe the most qualified person should get the job!”People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race
White dominant society expect Black folks to be less competent“You’re so articulate or well-spoken.”This remark suggests that they assumed that the person would be less articulate and are surprised to find out that they aren’t

How do microaggressions actually harm people?

Dr. Sue writes that microaggressions cause frustration, self-doubt, anxiety, and cumulative emotional, psychic, and spiritual burden. Unlike macroaggressions – the large-scale, overt aggressions that mostly occur at the systems level – microaggressions are interpersonal. In fact, they commonly occur in academic and professional settings. This means that microaggressions are committed by people you know and in settings you should be comfortable and feel safe in.

How to disarm microaggressions

If you’re commonly on the receiving end of microaggressions, it can be an exhausting experience. How do you disarm them without exceeding your emotional bandwidth? Denise Evans, a certified facilitator of implicit bias and cultural intelligence workshops in West Michigan, suggests using wittiness. She, herself, is black. Here’s an example of how she “throws” microaggressions right back at the individual she’s speaking with.

If an individual tells her that she’s “well-spoken” or “articulate” – a known microaggression – Evans doesn’t miss a beat.

“I have said, ‘Thank you very much, so are you,’” says Evans. She then asks, with a smile, why they felt the need to say anything, including a list of possible reasons in her question: Is it because she’s a native New Yorker? A woman? Black?

And I literally wait for [an] answer,” she says. “I give people their microaggression and their implicit biases back in a pretty box with a nice bow on it. I hand it to you, and I wait for you to open it and tell me what you see.”

While you may find this awkward at first, as an educator, Evans says that these are teachable moments. Brains have made unconscious associations, and we have the power to undo the damaging ones (i.e. “African American and “uneducated or “women” and “assistant”).

Keep following our diversity and inclusion planning articles to learn more.

As well, keep up to date with our 2022 diversity calendar for the upcoming year.

Learn more about Interfaith with our 2022 Interfaith calendar for this year.

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