During the run up to the last USA elections, the USA Republican candidate, Mitt Romney allegedly made clandestine comments confessing to not caring about a certain group of minority voters. I had no doubt that many people smugly smiled to themselves whilst pointing the finger at others as perfect examples of the undesirable minorities that Mr Romney was talking about.
Here’s the thing – We are all minorities. Yes, all of us are minorities of sorts – It just depends on the context.
The Oxford English dictionary defines minorities as:
“The smaller number or part, especially a number or part representing less than half of the whole”
So, at some point or other in our lifetime, we will all find ourselves in situations where we are “the smaller number or part”, i.e. not amongst the majority group – alias a minority. To illustrate this, here are a few lesser known examples of minority groups in the UK today:
- The 1.5% of men in the UK who are over 6ft 3 ins tall
- The 20% of UK Population who have a University degree or higher
- The 6.8% of the UK working population who are female entrepreneurs
- The 0.70% of the UK population who are millionaires
- The 13% of UK population people who are left-handed
- The 3% of the population tested for intelligence quotient who have a genius IQ (i.e. 145 and above)
- The 1% of UK population who are triplets
- The select % of people who read the www.Facilitate4Me.com blogs
- The 49% of the UK population who are men
The above list is not exhaustive.
Notice that it doesn’t contain any of the popular minority groups that we all know (age, gender, sexuality etc. etc) and also note that it doesn’t invite any of the popular derogative connotations that are automatically associated with minorities. Being a minority doesn’t have to mean being at a disadvantage. Neither does it mean that you curse the perceived “ill luck” that dealt you with the minority card and give up. Case in point is the minority group of men over 6ft tall. According to a Daily Mail article of 21 Jan 2012, “they are said to be more desirable to women, more successful and more likely to father children. And Harvard scientists claim that tall men have yet another advantage – they are less at risk of heart problems”. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2089452/Tall-men-likely-die-heart-failure-short-men-according-new-US-survey.html
Speaking of men, who would have thought that men are actually a minority group in the UK – according to 2012 figures? Go Figure!
Our world is diverse. Our work place is changing. Adapting to this change is essential. Developing change management processes and toolkit to managing this change in the workplace is necessary. The spread and nature of diversity today means that we are all made up of a variety of minority groups – whether we know it or not… and none of us wants to be treated as an outcast or excluded either at work or at play, just because we are part of a minority group.
So, the next time you want to scoff at the change management tools and processes such as inclusivity, diversity and /or equality, especially in the workplace, think again.
We are all minorities…so when we point the finger at others, three fingers are pointing right back at us!