Diversity as a resource

We often tend to categorize people in terms of their sex, the colour of their skin, their age, their cultural, ethnic, social and family background, their religion, their health condition, their sexual orientation, their physical appearance, their mobility, and many others. This categorization can quickly lead to discriminating people that are not part of the majority and have very limited to no power.

When we strive for the improvement of the life conditions of disadvantaged and discriminated people, we must take this “categorization” into account. In order to overcome disadvantages and discrimination, we must deal, on the one hand, with the creation of beneficial structures. On the other hand, it is also important to keep in mind that we are dealing with individuals, who possess the different “categories” and who experience advantages and disadvantages in dissimilar ways. Due to their different realities, men and women, black and white, young and old oftentimes act and participate differently, and have different degrees of access to the available resources.

Helping questions in the process of analysis are:

  • How are persons that are not part of a majority represented? Do they have the chance to express themselves and be heard?
  • Whom exactly do the planned measures benefit?
  • How are the resources distributed?
  • Are the methods proposed such that they can be adequately applied by all?
  • When and where do the measures take place?

My proposals take such characteristics into account. In doing so, I am aware that during the consultation process, it is not possible to deal with all criteria for disadvantage and discrimination at once, but that we have to limit ourselves to two or three at a time.