A while ago I addressed social inclusion, this blog will continue on that subject by expanding the subject to social and cultural diversity and it’s implications in the Netherlands.
First off, what is social diversity? Social diversity refers to a variety of individuals when it comes to race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, language, sexual orientation and geographical origin.
Secondly, what is cultural diversity? Cultural diversity is a variety of cultural or ethnic groups. This basically means that social and cultural diversity refers to the same: different groups who are well represented within one society or community.
With well represented I mean that all individuals bring their different backgrounds, experiences, knowledge, traditions, personal manners and interests into the community. With our communities, like our workplace and school, and the increasingly existence of various groups, we can learn a lot from each other. Which is always a good thing! Learning from others helps us understand our own perspective, or frame of reference and also that of others. In return this helps us understand the world around us a little better.
Social or cultural diversity makes people who they are, and increased diversity impacts social interaction and social inclusion into the integration of society. There are many benefits that all those diverse perspectives offer, for international teams and international classrooms it’s a well known fact that diverse groups lead to more creative and innovative solutions.
Now let’s relate this knowledge to every day life in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is socially and culturally very diverse, a large group of people with difference in race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, language, sexual orientation and geographical origin. What they have in common? They are all living in the Dutch society. I’m not saying it’s all perfect, but we are definitely working on making everyone included.
In case of the Netherlands it’s interesting to further explore the impact of geographical origin. For many years everyone born in the Netherlands was referred to as an autochtoon everyone who was not born in the Netherlands was referred to as an allochtoon. When referring to immigrants, the Dutch used to use this word, allochtoon, a word from Greek origin literally meaning “emerging from another soil”. The problem lays in the reality, where only those who are born out of two Dutch parents whom are considered “ethnic Dutch” will be called autochtoon. Anyone who has a migration background, not just immigrants, but also their descendants, or anyone who has one parent that does not have the Dutch ethnicity will be called allochtoon.
For years these two terms have been a focal discussion point, because of the negative connotation related to the word allochtoon. Thankfully the media and large organisations stopped using these two words since in 2016 these two words are formally replaced with: “person with a Dutch background” and “person with a migration background“. The content and meaning of these terms have not been changed though.
Currents stats from the Central Bureau of Statistics say the Netherlands is a country with 4.219.305 persons with a migration background and 13.062.858 persons with a Dutch background. Or in percentages: 24.2% of the population with a Dutch nationality has a migration background. Dividing these groups has implications that lead to negative stereotyping and to a privileged and a non privileged group. Dialogue with the Dutch wants make people aware of their own frame of reference or the way we, perhaps unknowingly, include and exclude people.
I am wondering whether we really have to emphasise such content and meaning on a daily basis if we want to form one society, where everyone feels equal, and gets treated equal? Something to think about at the end of 2020 and a good moment to set your mindset for 2021 with if you ask me.
Therefore Dialogue with the Dutch offers custom made training programs to increase results in diverse teams. Starting by making everyone feel included. These training programs focus on aspects of diversity, perspectives, inclusiveness and, if needed, interventions or coaching. To establish the needs, Dialogue with the Dutch will talk to employees, managers and HR. That way we can establish your teams needs together. We will look at the core values, and make the outcomes practical. You can now book a 30 minute free discovery call to find out how training could benefit your team!