Both Milton Bennett, in the developmental model of intercultural sensitivity, and Mitchell R. Hammer, in the intercultural development continuum, recognize acceptance as the first stage of an ethnorelative mindset. From an acceptance mindset, a person is curious about the patterns of difference in one’s own life but also interested in the ways others are diverse.
The acceptance mindset requires a deeper exploration of diverse others. This means the exploration is conducted from the perspective of the other who is different. This means we explore what it is like for a person with a different gender orientation from their perspective, not from our own opinion or view of gender orientation. We are moving from understanding diverse others, not from how we would wish to be understood, but to understanding them from how they wish to be understood.
When a person makes meaning of diversity from an acceptance mindset, they make sense of differences and commonalities based on both their own and the diverse other person’s values and practices. This requires complex understanding and in-depth perception of differences and diversity. Research shows a majority of the population do not have a deep understanding of diversity.
A person accepting of diversity may say “It is not the best to always have the same kind of people around us” or “I have an identity and it may give me extra opportunities or privileges”. You may hear “Sometimes I get nervous around diverse people because I do not always know how to behave” or “Diversity often means more creativity”. An accepting mindset may state “Values may be different with diverse others, which I can respect, but I can also maintain my own core beliefs and values for myself”.
Your assignment is to reflect on a core value you maintain. Now identify a diverse group who may not share this same core value with you. Are you able to understand and accept this diverse group as they wish to be understood without giving up your own values? Please share your thoughts and reflection in the comments and respond to the comments of three to four others. Please be kind, considerate, respectful, and accepting of others and their values. This may be a challenge for some of us, but is important to our learning together.