Diversity is often thought of terms of variety. It is thought that there are nine primary dimensions of diversity, which include: Age, Gender, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Race, Ethnicity, Class, Disability, and Nationality. When considering these various dimensions, the question is raised as to what it means to be different; thus, prompting further evaluation of the concept of difference. I would argue that an individual’s perception of difference is a matter of philosophical beliefs. For instance, I may perceive an individual to be different based upon race, however those from a different cultural background may perceive an individual to be different based on religious affiliation. ” There is recent evidence that perceptual processes are influenced by culture. Westerners tend to engage in context-independent and analytic perceptual processes by focusing on a salient object independently of its context, whereas Asians tend to engage in context-dependent and holistic perceptual processes by attending to the relationship between the object and the context in which the object is located. Recent research has explored mechanisms underlying such cultural differences, which indicate that participating in different social practices leads to both chronic as well as temporary shifts in perception” (Nisbett & Miyamoto, 2005).
While there are those who may disagree with my position, I believe that race is the only dimension that I use when identifying a person or a group as being different. This applies to family members, community members, as well as those in the work place. Race is how we identify people. For instance, if police are looking for a suspect, the first dimension that will be indicated is race. “We are in search of a WHITE male or a BLACK male.” Other than race, I rarely if ever use other dimension to identify individuals as different.
As I have indicated, I only really consider race when making a determination if an individual is different, which is not a dimension that can be changed. However, if I were to consider another dimension, I would argue that it would be religion. I make this assertion because individuals can concert their religious beliefs at will. Just as race is visible, an individual’s religion may also be visible in such instances in which religious practices require certain attire. On the other hand, religion may also be concealed, therefore not being an identifiable dimension. An advantage of a visible dimension such as religion is that it promotes aware and diversity of other religious practices, while promoting religious tolerance. One the other hand, a visible cultural dimension may prove to be a disadvantage. For instance, there are those who are often targeted because of there religious beliefs. We have seen a recent spike of anti -Semitic violence against those of the Jewish faith.
Nisbett R. & Miyamoto Y. (2005). The influence of culture: holistic versus analytic perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 9(10).