Diversity and Affirmative Action in Public Service

By Walter D. Broadnax | Go to book overview

5
FROM CIVIL RIGHTS TO VALUING DIFFERENCES

Walter D. Broadnax

The United States has been racially, ethnically, sexually, religiously, and philosophically diverse since its earliest beginnings. As the early Europeans and Africans began arriving, they were met by native Americans who had established various cultures and communities across the land. Many of these cultures were internally quite complex, and there was substantial diversity within the overall native American population itself. There were Iroquois, Sioux, Cherokee, Seminoles, Blackfeet, Navajos, Apaches, and numerous other groups and tribes.

Our history is one of the many stresses and strains between different groups over time. There have been wars fought that sprang from those differences. We have moved forward but, at times, it has been with great difficulty. Now, it is late in the 20th century, and we must once again find the resolve and the resources to cope positively with societal change. It is widely known that women, minorities, and immigrants will constitute a much larger proportion of the work force by the year 2000. Moreover, it is reported that

. . . white native born men are no longer a majority in the American workplace. Today, more than half the work force is comprised of women, people of color, and immigrants. 1

Given our history, these facts indicate that we could be facing one of the greatest challenges in the life of the republic. Can we find appropriate means to help us value and manage diversity in the work place successfully?

____________________
Source: The Bureaucrat ( Winter 1991-1992): 9-13.

-65-

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