Only 18% of us have friends from other racial groups - Terry Oakley-Smith

You may have had or heard of diversity training.

What exactly is diversity training in the workplace and what is its importance in the South African context?

After a white Starbucks manager called the police when two black men were sitting in a Philadelphia store without purchasing anything in April, the company recently closed its doors for racial bias training.

READ: What's your boss doing about race relations? Why inclusive work culture matters

Speaking to Azania Mosaka, Founder and Director of Diversi-T Terry Oakley-Smith said diversity training should be an integral part of companies.

Previously, I was an academic working at Wits and ran their first mixed-race and mixed-gendered residence back in 1993.

Terry Oakley-Smith, The Founder and Director of Diversi-T

And I just realised the extent to which South Africans don't know each other, don't understand each other. Only 18% of us have friends in other racial groups, I mean real friends not Facebook friends.

Terry Oakley-Smith, The Founder and Director of Diversi-T

Also read: 'Local companies too ignorant to realise how politically aware the public is'

Oakley-Smith added that being able to manage diversity and to create an inclusive environment in the workplace has valuable spin-offs.

There are bottom-line benefits which are researched endlessly, productivity increases and problem-solving increases. But companies need to take it seriously.

Terry Oakley-Smith, The Founder and Director of Diversi-T

Listen below to hear what Terry Oakley-Smith had to say about diversity training:


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