Diversity is certainly a crucial part of each person’s life, as our diversity, and therefore our identity, help shape who we are and even factor into the groups we associate ourselves with. For example, I belong to multiple group identities, as I am heterosexual, African American, Christian, college educated, upper middle class, and a student-athlete. In addition, I have numerous individual identities, including hobbies I have (Like reading historical fiction books and watching tv) and my personality.
These individual and group identities which I possess certainly do not go away when I begin my work day. But as I have learned, those identities do help to shape my work experience. The first way that my identities affect my workplace experience is through the group identity of salesman, and in particular- car salesman. As I have explained in previous posts, many potential customers have a negative view of car salesmen, as they think that we are dishonest or “shady.” Because of this reputation which my group identity has, one of the first things I often have to do with customers is to break down the barrier between myself and them. In other words, I have to explain and show that even though I belong to a group identity which may have a bad reputation, I am still a human being like they are, complete with my strong suits and my faults.
The second significant way in which diversity and identities are important in the dealership workplace is that it is important that the workforce diversity mirrors the diversity of the customers. What I mean by this is that it is important that the staff, and especially the sales staff, of dealership are just as diverse as the customer base. This point is especially critical at my dealership, as Canton, Michigan, is a very diverse city and is home to people with a variety of different group and individual identities. Because of this, if our dealership only featured staff who belonged to the most common group identities (i.e. straight, white, Christian, male), we would likely alienate some potential customers who do not share those group identities.