"Diversity, one of the buzzwords of the early twenty-first century, has become a concept that has multiple meanings to different groups of people. ...Social scientists usually talk about diversity in at least four different ways.
- Counting diversity refers to empirically enumerating differences within a given population. Using this definition, social scientists take a particular population and simply count the members according to specific criteria, often including race, gender, and ethnicity. In addition, it is possible to take a particular unit within a society like a school, workplace, or government and compare its race, ethnic, or gender distribution to that of the general population.
- Culture diversity refers to the importance of understanding and appreciating the cultural differences between race, ethnic, and gender groups. Since members of one culture often view others in relation to their own standards, social scientists using the culture diversity definition would argue that it is important to show that differences do not have to be evaluated along a good-bad or moral-immoral scale. With greater tolerance and understanding, the argument goes, different cultural groups can coexist with one another in the same society.
- Good-for-business diversity refers to the belief that businesses will be more profitable and government agencies and not-for-profit corporations will be more efficient with diverse labor forces.
- Conflict diversity refers to understanding how different groups exist in a hierarchy of inequality in terms of power, privilege, and wealth."
From International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
Call Number: H40.A2 I5 2008 ebk
Diversity. (2008). In W. A. Darity, Jr. (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 419-420). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA.
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"One of the major difficulties in discussions surrounding diversity is its very definition. At its core, diversity means embracing differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, health, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical size, education level, job level and function, personality traits, and other human differences.
Yet there is also the paradox of diversity:
We are each unique and like no one else
We are each like some people and unlike other people
We are each like all other people."