Anyone who believes that a vibrant civil society depends on individuals’ involvement must take into account that this may only be legitimized and actualized if at least two conditions are fulfilled.
- Every individual should have the same rights to articulate themselves and be involved.
- Second, there should be equality in chances for articulation and involvement.
In our daily life and work, we all face the scarcity of these conditions. We work against structural discrimination and under-representation of marginalized groups. We foster those who have not yet developed the capacities to become involved.
Many of these problems are strongly connected to habit and education – which means we have the ability to change them.
A Question of Attitude, Not of Methods
We believe that a diversity-promoting method by itself, without a diversity-oriented attitude on the part of the facilitator, will not be successful. Gaining diversity consciousness is a little bit like learning how to drive a car or applying any other new tool. But diversity is also a little more challenging since it involves our values and our personalities. Diversity is connected to personal fears and uncertainty – people can feel threatened and negate the need for diversity. On the other hand, if you know how to drive the car, you can discover exciting new worlds you never dreamed of.
The process dimension of diversity consciousness
1. Unconscious Incompetence
The first level is unconscious incompetence. In this category, we don’t know anything about the concept of diversity, we don’t see its relevance, and we have many blind spots in our attitudes towards diversity.
2. Conscious Incompetence
By starting to address the topic and read about it, read about it, we reach the level of conscious incompetence. In this stage we follow Socrates’ example and “know that we do not know.” We start to think, to reflect, and to develop learning goals in the area of diversity.
3. Conscious Competence
The next level is reached by training, by discussion, and by “daily work”: conscious competence. We have attended trainings, applied tools, and developed attitudes in the seminar already, we have deep discussions with a range of participants and are starting to increase our sense of empathy and to become an advocate for this specific topic. On this level we have to concentrate on applying all the things we have learned.
4. Unconscious Competence
The fourth level is unconscious competence. We forget about all our conscious efforts and we simply know how to apply diversity in the training context and how to put our attitudes into practice. But sometimes we still have problems in teaching others how to deal with diversity: we need explicit knowledge to gain awareness and be able to train others. And that is why some people who reach this level are still not able to teach diversity without making additional efforts.