Category: GENERAL ISSUES

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ETHNIC DIVERSITY AT THE TOP

Management teams whose commitment to ethical values and ethnic diversity is purely superficial can foster workplace cultures that harm individuals and their organisations, according to new research. In order to be truly ethnically diverse, private sector organisations must expand their focus beyond checkbox exercises and consider the informal cultures they create, finds a report by race equality thinktank The Runnymede Trust. The possible consequences of work environments not rooted in diversity, according to the report, include conflict-ridden working relationships, unhappy and under-committed employees and, in extreme cases, a threat to the sustainability of the business as a whole The report,...

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THE HOLOCAUST, RWANDA, CAMBODIA … SURVIVORS’ STORIES

To mark the liberation of Auschwitz 66 years ago, five people who survived either the Holocaust or subsequent genocide talk about their mementos from that time…. January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the date, 66 years ago, when the largest Nazi extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated. Decades later, survivors’ stories are still emerging. “For every story we know, there are others we will never know, from communities that were wiped out during the Holocaust but also subsequent genocides, particularly in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Darfur,” says Carly Whyborn, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. “We must use...

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SARAH PALIN’S ‘BLOOD LIBEL’ BLUNDER

Sara Palin’s misappropriation of a phrase from the history of antisemitism in discussing the Giffords shooting is a staggering affront… The sense of victimhood of the Tea Party and its fellow travellers should now be well known. It was Glenn Beck, after all – the man who accused America’s first African American president of being “racist” – who last year told a rally of his followers in Washington that they had taken on the mantle of the civil rights movement. Now Sarah Palin, former vice presidential candidate, has repeated this same repellent inversion, accusing those who criticised her for her...

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WHY THE EQUALITY ACT WILL STOP EMPLOYERS FROM ASKING PRE-EMPLOYMENT HEALTH QUESTIONS

Once the act’s in force, application forms containing medical questions can only be used where they are relevant to the role or to help disabled candidates get jobs Most of the Equality Act 2010 is due to come into force on 1 October 2010, including section 60: prohibiting the use of pre-employment health questionnaires before a job offer is made. This provision is intended to protect disabled job applicants from discrimination during the recruitment process. Employers will no longer be able to adopt a “one size fits all” approach and send out questionnaires containing questions about general health and medication...

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DOES MULTICULTURALISM UNDERMINE DIVERSITY?

As a political policy, multiculturalism’s desire to put people in boxes has left many minorities feeling misrepresented… Has multiculturalism been good or bad for Britain? It’s a question to which the answers have become increasingly polarised in recent years. For some, multiculturalism expresses the essence of a modern, liberal society. For others, it has helped create an anxious, fragmented nation. Part of the difficulty with this debate is that both sides confuse the lived experience of diversity, on the one hand, with multiculturalism as a political process, on the other. The experience of living in a society transformed by mass...

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THE DARK SIDE OF SKIN-WHITENING CREAM

The dangerous fashion for skin-whitening across Asia perpetuates racism and should be stigmatised as such… Just over a week ago, travelling through Cambodia, I noticed a small item in the Phnom Penh Post reporting that a skin-whitening cream was blamed for the recent death of a young woman. Chhuon Sovann, 23, from the Cambodian border town of Poipet, began vomiting after using the cream and had to be rushed to a Thai hospital and was later pronounced dead. A minor diplomatic kerfuffle ensued as it turned out the cream was being illegally imported from Vietnam. Some newspapers reported that health...

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LIVERPOOL ONE WORLD FESTIVAL HAILED A SUCCESS

Liverpool’s diverse cultures converge on day of festivities, themed “Celebrating Diversity through Integration and Involvement”… The recent Liverpool One World Festival, held in Kensington, Liverpool on March 28th was hailed an overwhelming success by the organisers, performers and attendees. The main objective of the Festival is to advance the education of the public in citizenship, and arts and culture by using the annual festival to promote racial awareness, celebrate diverse cultures, and to improve the conditions of life of Liverpool’s diverse communities. By bringing people together to celebrate diversity and make new friends the Festival challenges discrimination and racism and...

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IN DEFENCE OF MULTICULTURALISM

Critics are attacking a straw-man version of multiculturalism when they blame it for building a culture of segregation… The rise of the BNP and the likelihood that immigration will figure high on the agenda of many people’s concerns in the forthcoming general election are sure signs that Britain still faces huge challenges in achieving a balance between respect for diversity and a sense of shared national belonging. Back in the 1990s, there was a broad consensus that multiculturalism provided the key to securing that balance. But those days are gone for good. Multiculturalism as a political project has been blamed...

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ADVERTISING TO UK ETHNIC GROUPS

Can advertising agencies bridge the gap between their perception of advertising to ethnic groups and the reality… With more than 60 languages now spoken among its inhabitants, the UK has become one of the world’s most exciting and diverse cultural melting pots. So, bearing this in mind, alongside statistics showing that by next year the disposable income of ethnic minorities is set to hit pounds 300 billion, why does the question of whether agencies and clients can, or even want to, advertise to this group keep coming up? It can be argued that compelling commercial messages transcend racial differences with...

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ANTI-TERROR BODY SCANNERS MAY BE ILLEGAL

Equality watchdog says use of full-body scanners in airports could breach privacy and anti-discrimination laws… Ministers should act immediately to ensure that the use of full-body scanners at British airports is lawful, the ­Equalities and Human Rights Commission has warned. The commission’s head, Trevor Phillips, told the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, ­serious concerns existed about invasion of privacy and there was an apparent lack of safeguards to ensure scanners were operated fairly and without discrimination. The warning follows legal advice from two leading human rights lawyers at Matrix Chambers, Helen Mountfield and Professor Conor Gearty, and could lead to the...