Thus, strategies involving cooperative interdependence among persons of different races and ethnic groups should be carefully structured to ensure that all participants are encouraged to make useful and valued contributions to the group.
Note, however, that when strategies involving competition among groups are used to encourage cooperation, situations should be avoided in which racially or ethnically identifiable groups compete against one another.
Seeking to change individuals without dealing with these influences, or without engaging the specific issues that shape intergroup relations, is often futile.
Sources of prejudice and discrimination are often rooted in particular historical and social contexts, and are shaped by institutional structures and practices.
When those in positions of authority are too busy too participate in race relations programs, the impact of the program will be undermined unless the leaders’ record on the issue of discrimination is clear.
People in organizations where better intergroup relations and equity are being advocated will ask whether those in authority are modeling appropriate behaviors and “walking the talk.” They will also want to know whether qualified persons of color are being aggressively recruited for high offices, whether those who pursue equity with enthusiasm are being supported and rewarded, and whether those who engage in discriminatory behavior are being negatively sanctioned.
Moreover, changing the experience of those who are the victims of prejudice and discrimination may require that we contribute to a climate of tolerance and goodwill by seeking to change the behavior of others whose words and actions reflect racial or ethnic prejudice.
Often, race relations programs and activities focus on awareness and knowledge about, and behavior toward, persons of color.
In many organizations, new participants are told of the organizations’ commitment to positive intergroup relations.
This introduction may include workshops on “diversity” or other activities aimed at facilitating racial and ethnic harmony in the organizations.