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This is a challenging exercise because it asks you to go beyond the theoretical, intellectual understanding of diversity issues and look for subtle ways you might be adjusting or failing to adjust your behavior on a daily basis at your internship. During the next few days at your placement site, take a mental inventory of the people who are there, including not only clients but also staff at all levels. Take note of relative positions of power and influence and whether these vary in systematic ways along any dimension of diversity. Then ask yourself honestly how your approach, behavior, impressions, judgments, cognitions, and emotional reactions to some of these people may be impacted by differences between yourself and them in terms of the issues we have been discussing. For example, are you more frightened, friendly, open, guarded, or intimidated with some clients or staff than with others? What cognitions, assumptions, or attributions do you make about some people’s behavior because of their skin color, facial features, language, accent, size, or education? Now ask yourself the reverse questions. Do you think clients, other interns, or staff may be reacting to you differently because of diversity issues? Finally, and perhaps most difficult and potentially rewarding of all, take time to speak with some of the aforementioned people (e.g., selected clients, staff, or peers) and ask them the same questions, requesting that they be as open and honest as possible.
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