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Since the election of Barack Obama to the US presidency in 2008, some people are under the illusion that we in America now live in a “post-racial society.” Author Rupert W. Nacoste knows all too well how far we are from that imagined utopia. As a professor of psychology and the campus “Diversity Doctor,” Dr. Nacoste counsels students on a regular basis about their problems dealing with diversity—not just racial and ethnic, but gender and sexual-orientation diversity as well. In this thoughtful, enlightening book, Dr. Nacoste reports, in their own words, students’ stories of their anxieties in situations involving people who are in some way different. And he describes how he shows his students effective techniques for accepting the unavoidable realities of our neo-diverse nation.  

Unfortunately, as the accounts in this book make clear, there is still much work to be done.  At campus parties, in routine social encounters, and in email and Twitter exchanges, examples of bigotry abound: the  n-word is still used; some white students don’t like the idea of Marc Anthony singing “God Bless America” because he is Puerto Rican; young men continue to project demeaning attitudes toward women; and the heterosexual majority sometimes shows little understanding of the LBGT minority.

Based on his many years of experience dealing with diversity issues, Nacoste shows how we can all learn to meet these challenges. This entails sensitivity to different perspectives, open-minded attitudes, and the recognition of two facts: that diversity in America is here to stay and that, in the end, respect for diversity is the essence of the American dream.


"A very compelling and somewhat iconoclastic book.... a very smart inside look at the politics and positioning of diversity on campus, and the challenges encountered when taking diversity seriously." --Dr. John Saltmarsh, Director of the New England Resource Center for Higher Education, Leadership Capstone Blog  (reviewing Making Gumbo in the University) "Draws on the imagery of gumbo to distill lessons learned from his experience as the first vice provost for diversity and African American affairs at North Carolina State University....he outlines his view that the recipe for achieving diversity in the modern university requires stirring up the 'conflict of ideas' and allowing them to simmer into a rich concoction of durable relationships and intellectual ferment."  --Diverse: Issues in Higher Education (reviewing Making Gumbo in the University)  "Making Gumbo in the University deserves to be read for its progressive ideas and policies on diversity on the 21st century college campus. Nacoste argues for an intellectually dynamic university and he champions the need for ongoing dialogue about diversity as a way for colleges to remain on the cutting edge of beneficial change. Administrators should not be afraid to lead in this area, all students benefit from learning to be more tolerant of others, and the willingness and ability to change for the better is, for Nacoste, the 'responsibility of all university communities.'" --Dr. Edward Washington, Making Connections: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cultural Diversity (reviewing Making Gumbo in the University)

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    April 15, 2015

    Prometheus Books

    335 pages

    RRP $29.99

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