Term Paper: Diversity Is a Term That Was Coined

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Diversity is a term that was coined to denote the multicultural and heterogeneous communities that now make up the population of the United States. Today representations from all over the globe can be found in the U.S. with emigrants as far as Japan, to near by West Indies. There are all the languages of the globe spoken, every kind of culture seen and many diverse interests. Some of the people have migrated with the basic knowledge that they have obtained from the source of origin. Their language and the understanding of American English and culture are rudimentary thus causing issues in expressing themselves and the native understanding them. Some other global concerns like terrorist units, fear of foreigners, and other issues leave an undesirable attitude with the Native American. Already there was a gender and race issue which has been rife in the country for over two centuries. (Hemphill; Haines, 1997)

The influx of people from nations that was only considered tourist spots and the bringing in of cultures that the average American finds hard to adjust has brought up this issue. But to say that the problem of diversity and its effects would not have occurred had there not been such immigrations is untrue. In fact the studies conducted before the millennium brought in the issue with considering the native population alone in isolation. The Workforce 2000 Report published in 1987 first coined the term "diversity" and the report predicted that by the new millennium, the entry level workers in the system would be from the minorities and females. Thus it was projected that there will be an eighty four percent of the workforce comprising of ethnic minorities and women, and would consist of "white females, immigrants, and minorities (of both genders) of black, Hispanic, and Asian origins." (Hemphill; Haines, 1997) it was thus that the future projection caused people to think in terms of diversity both in the workforce and in public. This resulted in the movement to impart diversity training. The training programs that were then created and sold to business houses establishments and government became a flop. The reason that is advance is that such programs relied more on theory and the spreading of the concepts rather than personal approach to understanding and practical interaction. (Hemphill; Haines, 1997)

There are problems of adjustment in the whole society, and the police forces are more prone to problems of diversity on account of the nature of the system and on account of the fact that while the personnel have a great need to understand the diversity in its full context, very little is done to prepare the personnel for cultural shocks that occur when they encounter diverse persons either as colleagues or as the public with whom they interact. Stereotyping thus has caused enormous problems to the police and the policed. It is not possible to say as to why the problems crop up unless the existing functioning of the police departments are studied in depth to find a clear picture of how the traditionally trained policeman fails to act or react when confronted with a system that appears alien, not understandable and probably threatening. During the 1970's the organizations in the country and particularly law enforcement agencies began redefining their values and practices. One of the new ideas that occurred during this phase was the concept of community policing. In a way this was the beginning of acknowledging the role of the community in the enforcement of law. The coming together of the citizen and the police must naturally also take into account the diversity of the populace. (Kenney; McNamara, 1999) it can be argued that American Policing is also a business in the sense that some goods and services are delivered in the process. But it is highly fragmented and is vast. Therefore conducting a mass program on a national scale for the various units is impractical. (National Research Council; Research on Police Committee to Review, 2004)

The Police and Diversity

The diversity of the population essentially means that the existing force must equip itself with sufficient knowledge to deal with the communities that it seeks to protect. This requires that the police force is equipped with the knowledge in depth of those communities, their values, religion and faith and how they can be expected to react to a situation. If the officer is a Native American he many not understand the behavior of a person from say China, unless he has some previous acquaintance with that country's culture and the way the people express themselves. To have a social contact with a community it is imperative that the officer is able to converse or at least participate in the community feelings. Without the integration with the community it is impossible to obtain information which is vital. Thus the growing need created by the growing community population and events all over the world, like terrorism has all contributed to the need to address the issue of diversity both within the police force and in interaction with the people.

The Socialization of the Police

Robert R. McNamara analyzed the concept of how the socialization can be an issue and defines the very term as the ways in which the people adapt to the society's norms, roles and values. People learn to behave according to the cultural expectations of the community in which they live and from which they hail. To this they also add their unique personalities. Thus when there is a social contact between persons all these multitudes of factors come into play. The final set of socialization parameters are set by the occupation the person finds him or herself in. The attitudes and skills that one learns in the occupation and the values imbibed determine the attitude to society and interpersonal behavior and issues. (Kenney; McNamara, 1999)

The one reason that socialization was recognized as important is in the area where immigrant populations took to the life in the U.S. The changing cultural and social scenario causes communal disharmony and mutual mistrust of the stranger. This leads to greater segregation of people and the 'us and them' mentality. Thus we can say that misunderstandings are possible. Diversity also brings in violence between communities where some are perceived or stereotyped to be antisocial. Brad W. Smith argues that if a citizen is killed by the police there is a great suspicion that the killing is a result of perceived threats by the police from minority groups. It is argued by some that violence is resorted to by the police in controlling targeted economic and racial groups that they see as threatening social order. It is also on account of the violence that the police encounter themselves. Usually areas that have high violence incidents also have higher rates of police killings. (Smith, 2003)

Terrorism and Diversity

Terrorist activities that is said to further a cause related to a religion or faith or some cause based on a region triggers of a general hatred or distrust of the entire community to which the terrorist belonged. This is a world wide phenomenon. In the U.S. The impact of terrorism was seen first hand in the destruction of the twin towers. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, public religious prejudice, and other accompanying thought patterns have emerged forcefully. There is a climate of fear both for the people of the community perceived to be a threat and those who are looking at the community as a threat. (Kanani, 2006)

Successful Experiments

The terrorist bid did create chaos but the police departments acted admirably and with restraint. It was the time when the police officers and the administrators came out with novel ideas to deal with diversity. It was successfully achieved with a video film! The Chicago police came out with videos that was used to train over 14,000 police officers and according to the authorities has "It has changed our community's relationship with the police to the extent that people are beginning to see the Chicago Police Department as an ally rather than an opposing force." (Kanani, 2006)

Thus by viewing the actual mind of the people perceived as threats, the personnel were able to accept the diversity. "Simple accommodations of this nature by law enforcement ground respect and trust towards the Muslim community, their beliefs, and their practices. Educating Chicago's officers of the Islamic way of life are tantamount to avoiding confusion, misconceptions, and conflict." (Kanani, 2006) the largest South Asian population can be found at Illinois. The South Asian community forms a group of people from diverse countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, with religions like Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. Training given to officers to understand the culture and various aspects of communication with the residents have helped bridge the chasm and bring about better communication and relations. "Thus the series of videos produced by both the Chicago Police Department and the Department of Justice achieve their educational goal of informing officers about the array of religious and cultural… [END OF PREVIEW]

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