“Diversity is the one true thing we have in common – celebrate it every day”.
This statement really made me think about just what diversity is, and why it is important in today’s society. Ultimately, the concept of diversity surrounds acceptance and respect, and having an understanding that everybody possesses individual differences and is therefore unique.
Diversity provides opportunities for each of us to be open to the things that set us all apart such as; race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and physical and mental ability, with an appreciation of diversity allowing us to truly accept people for who they are.
So why is there so much diversity in today’s society? This is due to both societal factors such as an individual’s background, personal values, core beliefs and upbringings and economic factors, such as financial earnings and even the individual’s opportunity to work.
Due to this diversity, it is crucial that individuals are allowed to live the life that’s right for them, which is a value central to professional practice here at Imagineer. This means that when working for individuals, we follow their lead, and listen to the goals and dreams they would like to achieve, before creating solutions together on how these dreams can be turned into reality.
Unfortunately for many in society, this is not common practice. This is often due to the fact that other practitioners are still following the professional gift model of social work, instead of the much more anti-oppressive and anti-discriminatory citizenship model implemented here at Imagineer. This means that many are being ‘prescribed’ a package of services which are deemed to suit their need, when in reality there is a great deal of difference between meeting a need and allowing an individual to attain their dreams.
Instead of this, social work should adopt the much more person centred citizenship model, which puts the individual at the very heart of their community life, with access to a wider range of resources which are often cheaper and meet the needs of the individual better than the services which would be ‘prescribed’. Adopting this approach would also take into account all aspects of diversity, as the individual would be able to select the services which best suit themselves and their own unique circumstances.
Diversity truly should be celebrated, as it helps to create the rich tapestry which is currently shown in modern society, as everybody has the right to be treated as an individual, and have their individual needs met. However, in order to fully celebrate this, professional approaches will need to alter.
Social Work Student