In this enlightening book, a campus “diversity doctor” relates stories that individuals have shared with him about their anxieties in situations involving people who are in some way different than themselves. Dr. Rupert W. Nacoste regularly counsels students at North Carolina State University about their problems dealing with diversity of all kinds, including of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual-orientation. Here, he shares his most effective techniques for handling the unavoidable realities of being in a neo-diverse community, whether that means in college or America as a nation. The author’s proven “safe space” strategy can be applied to the campus, community groups, churches, and workplaces as a means to facilitate positive dialogue about diversity.
In this time of current tensions, students, or “young travelers” as Nacoste fondly refers to them, still have much work ahead of them to achieve mutual respect and understanding. From everyday encounters, parties, and email and social media exchanges, they provide examples of ongoing bigotry: racial slurs and stereotypes are still used; young men continue to project demeaning attitudes toward women; and the heterosexual majority sometimes shows little understanding of the LBGT minority.
Dr. Nacoste considers it his role to usher students off the “Wrong-Line train,” and he has noticed that as they “leave the station,” adults begin to follow their lead. The author demonstrates how we can maintain fairness and respect while still acknowledging our differences. By doing so, we can all learn to meet these challenges using sensitivity to different perspectives, open-minded attitudes, and the recognition that diversity in America is here to stay.
From the Trade Paperback edition.