Similar Race Does Not Automatically Equal Same Mindset
There's something comforting about seeing someone you can relate to from first sight. By now viewers have probably seen the photo of Jacob Philadelphia of Columbia, Md., asking President Barack H. Obama if he could touch his hair.
Now before viewers get bent out of shape about that "Key & Peele" video, people like POTUS love to have a bonding experience even if it's just to tease First Lady Michelle Obama about consoling babies.
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No matter how many times news programs prove this, people still choose to turn a blind eye to the obvious. GOP advocate Crystal Wright is nothing like MSNBC political host Joy Reid. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are clearly not on the same page as politicians like POTUS. Their personal values will always outrank their complexion. Sometimes they are similar. Other times they couldn't be more different. The same can be said for workers outside of the political industry.
If you like this, you'll want to check out: "Building healthy workplace relationships: Part 2 Bonding behavior"
The dynamic of having an ethnic supervisor can be a challenge for some. Many people are not used to working with or for a person of color. (Hint: Addison Graves "Joe" Wilson, Sr., the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 2nd congressional district, is a clear example. Do you remember the "You lie" fiasco?)
Employees who are not used to dealing with managers of a minority race may initially have issues with showing proper respect as an authority figure. This is not always the case, but it's not unusual either. Whether an employee agrees or disagrees with this statement, respect for each other — regardless of race — is key. Respect the leader. Respect the title. Respect does take time, and a manager must be equally respectful to his or her team. A manager who relies on a title without actually understanding the role, working hard or being dedicated is worse than the employee who decides to be contumacious at all time.
Why Diversity Makes a Workforce Better
People have a tendency of being comfortable around people who look like them. While the term "racism" may be on the tip of the tongue for those who agree with the previous statement, there's a huge difference between feeling one race is superior to another than there is feeling a connection to someone who may understand their experiences.
A diverse work environment helps bridge the gap between groups who otherwise may not come in contact in their home or social environments. The ethnic makeup of an organization’s leadership should be a direct reflection of its frontline employees. The more diverse an organization is, the more prepared it is to handle a variety of business and human resources issues.
As with politicians, the 9-to-5er wants to feel a connection. Just as people vote for who they want to win in elections, employees also tend to want co-workers that they like to "win," too. The more receptive people are to a variety, the less likely that employees will have an "us versus them" opinion at the job.