June/July 2001 Issue Number 24
Is a monthly electronic newsletter which links current events and issues to the daily challenges faced by fire and emergency services managers. Current topics in the area of sexual harassment, diversity management and conflict resolution will be discussed.
We hope that you find the information here useful and provocative.
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Strategic Management of Change: July 23- August 3, 2001. Linda Willing will be instructing this class at the Florida Fire College, Ocala.
Women Chief Officers' Luncheon: August 25, 2001 at Fire-Rescue International in New Orleans. Call 630-990-2390 for more information.
Does the word "minority" have meaning when there is no majority group among the population? This is a question facing an increasing number of communities in the United States.
Census figures released in March of this year showed that non-Hispanic whites in California currently make up 47% of the state's population, the first time whites were not in the majority in that state since the Census Bureau began keeping records. Hispanics accounted for 32%, Asians 11% and blacks 7%.
In a world that is increasingly diverse, some say it is time to retire the word "minority." In fact, the San Diego City Council voted in April to strike the word from official use. Deputy Mayor George Stevens brought the resolution to the council, commenting that the word "minority" has often been used to signify someone who is different from the dominant group, or inferior in some way. "I'm not less than anybody," he commented. "I haven't used the word in a very long time."
However, some people worry that discarding the term "minority" could lead to a false conclusion about how diversified the United States actually is. Except for within Hawaii, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, and now California, non-Hispanic whites make up a dominant majority of the population in other states. Even in places where racial and ethnic diversity is more widespread, whites may still occupy most positions of leadership and power within the community.
Still, it's worth asking the question. How do you apply labels such as "minority" and "majority" when that reality no longer holds true? Are such labels still useful? If not, what language will we use to talk about the changing world we live in?
Source: The Associated Press, May 8, 2001.