Making Gumbo

Archive for April, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

My Spring-2017 “Interdependence and Race” (Psy 411) course at North Carolina State University





    People wonder, who signs up for my “Interdependence and Race” course? That course is really a course on intergroup dynamics in America caused by our growing neo-diversity. Race is only the starting point for understanding all of the (sexual orientation, gender-identity, ethnic, mental-health-condition, religious, political, bodily-condition) intergroup, intersectional tensions exploding in our nation. Who signs up for a course about that?

     Spring-2017 semester is at its end. On the last day, I give my final words to the class. After all that we have explored about the ways that America is struggling with its own neo-diversity, about the work that must be done to save the soul of America, I say:

    “From the kind of work that I have been doing for 40 years, you are now part of a new generation. And so I give your charge. As did John F. Kennedy, I declare to you on this day that the future of the change in America (and the world) is now part of your responsibilities; and part of your abilities. Using Kennedy’s words, I say,

      ‘Let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.’

     Hold the torch high, because the blood done sign your name too.  Earn that… earn it…”

     Who has been in that course where we discuss and learn to analyze neo-diversity intergroup tensions? Well, it turns out that at NC State, a neo-diverse mix of the Wolfpack signs up. That is why I know, “…a change is gonna come.”

     For the first time ever, on the last day of the Spring-2017, after I gave my final words to the class, we took a class picture together to close out the course. Who signs up? Well like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words..

posted by Rupert  |   7:39 PM  |   0 comments
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

There is no innocent hate



      In my “Interdependence and Race” course (Psy 411), I emphasize that in order “to save the soul of America” we all have to check our stereotypes and tendencies toward bigotry.

     “There are no innocent” is always a major theme.  Last week I did a lecture in which I applied that to the panicked reactions to the election of President Donald Trump. One of the points I made is that only objecting to stereotypes and bigotry aimed at groups of people you like is not moving us toward our goal of a more perfect union. Bigotry is just bigotry, I said.

     The evening following that lecture, I got an email with the subject, “Thank you for today’s lesson”:

     “Dr. Nacoste, I’m currently writing this e-mail aboard a [North Carolina State University] Wolfline bus just minutes after your Psy 411 class today. While I was waiting at the bus stop, I noticed a student walk by wearing a t-shirt that said this: “Infidel for Trump” on the front and “Make America Great, One Round at a Time” on the back with a picture of a rifle. My mind immediately jumped to this thought: I HATE those kinds of people.

     Then I remembered what you said just minutes earlier, that that kind of thinking is part of the problem. There are no innocent and I still have some growing to do. Thank you for enlightening me.”

     Real teaching matters.


posted by Rupert  |   9:55 PM  |   0 comments
Saturday, April 08, 2017

Tilting At The Windmills of White-Privilege

    For years, I have been pointing out the problems with relying on the flimsy idea of “…white privilege” to try to change someone’s way of thinking about neo-diversity issues; to try to change a person’s behavior; to try to engage in productive dialogue that allows different points of view to be expressed.

     Thinking about our collective difficult-days-ahead, one day in March-2017, my tweets @DrNacoste carried my message again.

     #diversity/Talk about white-privilege has not weakened the allure of President Trump’s anti-group rhetoric   

    #diversity/Shouting white-privilege is ineffective– the notion itself allows people to dodge responsibility for bigotry.

    #diversity/White-privilege is a Freudian claim that does not address here-and-now bigotry.

    #diversity/ Pointing to white privilege to try to stop here-and-now bigotry will never work because privilege is not about the here-and-now.

    #diversity/White privilege is crying wolf to not look at the bigotry in the crier’s own life.         

   #diversity/Wolf-crying white-privilege fails the there-are-no-innocent standard for having productive dialogue 

    Understand that I was doing more than tweeting. I was doing more than just pointing out the futile tilting at the windmill of white privilege. Attached to each tweet was my newest and most relevant essay, “Sometime Bigotry is Just Bigotry.”  Part of what I say in that essay is

“Tell me, has all the talk about white privilege been effective in weakening the attractiveness of President Donald Trump’s anti-group rhetoric toward some of our fellow Americans? Not at all, and you know it.

     Why not? It’s simply because the claim of white privilege lets people off the hook. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all know that there are a lot of ways to be privileged in America. For that reason, shouting about white privilege falls on deaf ears. Surely you see that the claim of privilege fits with too many versions of the American dream (that people think are positive). America is a place where you can “…get ahead of, earn more privileges than, other people.” Sure, that ambition is no longer supposed to be racial, but… well…”

 “Sometimes bigotry is just bigotry”:



posted by Rupert  |   12:16 PM  |   0 comments