Could creating a culturally competent society start at the workplace?

The Observer newspaper raised the issue of positive discrimination yesterday (Sunday), and whether it is a tool that should be employed to clear the channel between black or minority ethnic groups and Oxbridge education.

So many other factors need to be considered, which come into play, when focussing on an uneven mix of individuals and groups based on their difference.

These include the over-representation of Black men in prison, the number of boys with special needs, the under-representation of women of all ethnic groups in senior management positions, and the high proportion of women and men with disabilities who are unemployed. The list could go on.


Human Rights demands that we acknowledge there are multiple discriminations within society, and in some cases within families.  In order to prevent discrimination, witting or unwitting, the greatest challenge is to look at how to create a level playing field. How then can this be achieved, when we have such diverse values and beliefs? Is the answer positive discrimination?

Who can we blame? The family? School? Yes, possibly all of these.


What are the solutions?  

Certainly, a good starting point in the workplace is to have a shared understanding about what is cultural competence. What does cultural competence feel and look like?  What is the difference between religion and culture? What is ageism? What are disabilities? What is gender reassignment?

And, how does cultural competence fit into all of these?


The point is that cases could be made for positive discrimination for many reasons linked with the above examples.

Better surely that we all take responsibility for effectively challenging discrimination and encourage open discussion.  Let it filter and flow through society.  This means in families, in schools, throughout communities and in the workplace.