What is Your Cultural Diversity Intelligence by oad76871


									                             In Search of
   What is Your Cultural Diversity Intelligence?
                                                         by Rambo Homistace
                                                                       Cultural Diversity Intelligence(C.D.I.) is the ability to en-
 “We could use more kids in this program,”
           said Scouter Jim.
    “I agree,” his assistant Lorraine replied. “How about talk-
                                                                    gage in behaviors that use interpersonal skills such as cul-
                                                                    tural awareness, tolerance of ambiguity and flexibility. It also
 ing to the new Latin American community down the street?”          means being able to fine tune them towards an understand-
    “Ah! They wouldn’t be interested. They don’t know               ing of the culture-based values and attitude of people with
 anything about Scouts. Besides, they can’t even speak the          whom one interacts. It requires an open and honest mind.
    “That’s a bit unfair. How do you know what they know or         Consider This
 how they feel?”                                                      When thinking about cultural diversity, consider that:
    “Oh, I suppose you’re right, but it’s going to be hard            Human beings are ethnocentric – they see the world
 to recruit a bunch of kids whose parents are probably                through their own (sometimes narrow) views and
 suspicious of us anyway.”                                            judge the world by their familiar yardsticks.
    True story or reality? Scout leaders who deal with peo-           Human beings find comfort and trust in likeness. There
 ple from other cultures often find it difficult to understand        is a tendency to seek the company of those similar to us.
 and/or work with them. But a few insights into the complex-          Humans resist change. The constant adaptation need-
 ity of this concern may help to make sense of the issue.             ed to transition from one culture to another is difficult
 Let’s examine a few key terms and then delve into the is-            for people already overwhelmed by staggering changes.
 sues of relationship-building, perceptions, communication
 and expectations.                                                    Therefore:
                                                                      Show your interest and respect in the members of oth-
    First, let’s define two key terms:                                er cultures.
    Diversity means the state of being different or diverse. It       Realize that understanding is really all about you com-
 therefore transcends the concepts of race, ethnicity, class,         ing to terms with them.
 gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability, etc. Diver-     Know your own culture. When you are aware of your
 sity offers strength and richness to the whole. Cultural             own culture you can more easily compare your
 diversity, specifically, refers to the unique characteristics        thoughts, feelings and actions with others; which will
 that all of us possess that distinguish us as individuals and        help you adjust your behaviour to be compatible with
 identifies us as belonging to a group or groups.                     other people.

      is for
                                                                                                                                       Photo: Allan Hayley

14 THE LEADER, March 2007
Four Important Issues in                 You may find that these particular
Recruiting for Cultural Diversity        steps can overlap.
  Let’s now look at four important is-
sues in recruiting culturally diver-     Perceptions
gent groups: relationship-building,
perceptions, expectations and com-
                                             Perception plays a big role in how
                                         people participate in and interpret life
munication.                              and the world around them. Scouts
                                         Canada is sometimes perceived as               Intelligence
Relationship-building                    a recreational, Christian, and white
    From a cross-cultural point of       male-dominated organization. This
view, relationship building is the       view is held by groups new to Canada
process that involves individuals,       as well as mainstream Canadians.
or groups differing in basic back-       Regardless of cultural backgrounds,
ground experiences and cultures.         most people don’t know that Scouting             Be aware of appearing to be
It requires mutual respect, apprecia-    is an educative, co-educational and              culturally intelligent. Instead of
tion, acceptance of multiple view-       multi-cultural organization.                     trotting out all the jargon of
points and recognizing typical               What Scouts Canada needs to do               cross-cultural communication
values, concerns and expectations.       on a local level is to change that im-           dos and don’ts, paying atten-
It is the way of gaining trust and       age by creating good public relations,
bonding.                                 organizing participation in communi-
                                                                                          tion to the differences in your
    The key concept here is “relation-   ty and ethnic events, and revising its           audience is much more useful.
ship-building.” For example, if you      literature (even your local communi-             Be open minded and
want to recruit people from South        ty newsletter) to be more reflective             culturally sensitive.
East Asia, you would have to have        of the Movement’s reality. Scouting
some shared values. Asians tend          should show its commitment and de-               Be flexible.
to put group concerns over individ-      sire to reach out to ethno-cultural
                                                                                          Be tolerant of ambiguity.
ual concerns in order to maintain        communities.
and promote group harmony. They                                                           And lastly, be humble.
tend to value status (hierarchy) and     Communications
therefore will not deal with an out-        Communication is one of the most
sider who has no recognizable sta-       useful tools in human relations yet        the differences; such as there is a
tus; not, at least, until they get to    one of the toughest to master. Peo-        cost to individual members, that par-
know and trust someone on a per-         ple may have a similar background          ents volunteer, and that the Move-
sonal level. The best way to recruit     and yet fail to communicate properly       ment provides support. Another large
groups from this background is to        and understand each other. Cross-          expectation is that Scouts Canada
use a recognized champion, commu-        cultural communication is even             provides paid staff or leaders to run
nity leader, or, especially, elder in    more challenging than any other            the program for cultural groups. In
their community.                         form of communication because of           Asian countries, teachers often do
    Sometimes members of Scouts          cultural differences and language          that job.
Canada make innocent assumptions         barriers.
about the ethno-cultural recruiting         Miscommunication and misunder-          Become C.D.I.
process. They assume that because        standing may also rise due to gender          Cultural diversity intelligence is
of Scouting’s good programs they         roles; for example, it may be a mis-       the ability to engage in a set of behav-
can easily entice others to join. But    take if a male would try to recruit fe-    iors that use skills and qualities tuned
they miss one most important ele-        male leaders where such interactions       appropriately to the culture-based val-
ment: building relationships — that      are considered a taboo and therefore       ues and attitudes of people with
is gaining trust and creating mutual     not permitted in a particular ethnic       whom it interacts. By increasing your
understanding.                           community. Information sent to the         cultural intelligence, not only will
    Good recruiters must go through      families may not reach the intended        Scouters enhance their knowledge
three phases. First, identify the need   decision-maker, hence slowing down         about their own and other cultures
of the target group. Second, find out    the recruiting process.                    but will also learn how to work and
who the key players are and build (as       Other cultures prefer indirect          interact in a better understanding
well as maintain) a positive relation-   communication where individuals            with ethno-cultural groups.
ship with them. And third, try to cre-   may say “yes” to avoid conflict and           Since diversity recruitment is
ate brand awareness — shift public       save face or may perceive saying “no”      highly focused on relationship devel-
perception to what Scouting truly        outright as being rude. This is diffi-     opment, Scouters need to network
stands for. In the process, we must      cult for many North Americans who          and to be aware of the expectations
identify the key program that meets      prefer the direct approach.                and perceptions of both Scouts Can-
the ethnic group’s and individual’s                                                 ada and the ethno-cultural groups.m
needs by emphasizing the comple-         Expectations                               – Rambo Homistace is a Field Execu-
mentary nature of Scouting’s pro-           Some ethnic groups expect Scout-        tive working to develop a more diverse
grams. This should establish why         ing to pay for all the cost of Scouting    population within Chinook Council.
Scouting seeks a partnership rather      programs, perhaps because in their         You will find other articles about Di-
than a consumer for its programs.        former countries these programs            versity on Scouts Canada’s web site,
    What does this mean? When we         were funded and run by government          under Multicultural.
accomplish that, we enter the last       institutions such as the Ministry of
phase which is forming new groups.       Education. Scouting needs to explain

                                                                                         THE LEADER, March 2007 15

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