Making Gumbo

Archive for July, 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Calling the Cops to Calm One’s Neo-Diversity Anxiety

Lately, and too often, white people have been calling the police on black people who…

…are two men sitting in Starbucks waiting for a friend…

…were children selling bottled water…

…is a graduate student who fell asleep at a table in the graduate residence where she lived…

…is a twelve-year old black boy delivering papers on his new paper route…

If you have been wondering why this has been happening so often, despite the Starbucks approach, the answer is not “unconscious bias.” That overlooks the real problem.

Our history of segregation is haunting us filling people with uncertainty and anxiety about being in proximity to and having to encounter other Americans “not like me.”  The real problem, you see, is that denied, unmanaged and panic-inducing neo-diversity anxiety.

Here’s my full analysis:


posted by Rupert  |   1:28 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, July 01, 2018

College E-Advisers: Day-Breakers

There is always good being done in the world. Not covered by “Breaking News”, there is always good work being done by day-breakers.

Monday (June 25th), at UNC-Chapel Hill I spoke to a group of new College E-Advisors. I was with this group for the first day of their training because of my former student Gabrielle Barnes.

College E-Advisers?  Turns out NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill has created and provides finance support (as in salaries, work places and spaces) to a college advising corps. Their job, to help students in high poverty schools learn about how to, and prepare to, get into and go to college. One component of that advising corps is a set of advisers who work with students remotely, through video-chats, email, texting.

I was with this year’s group of new E-Advisors to alert them to the social interaction challenges they must prepare for that comes with electronic communications.  I was there to alert them to the fact that those challenges will happen in a neo-diversity context; that they will be trying to help, mentor young people who are “…not like them,” which might cause the advisors to experience neo-diversity anxieties that might make the social interactions less than productive.

I was there to “…shake them up,” so they would not take too much for granted about how these neo-diverse social interactions might go. They were receptive, after the usual initial shock at my dramatic opening.

I wanted to get their attention because I wanted to help, and I also wanted them to know that I believe their work is important. I wanted them to know I see them as day-breakers, a la the Arna Bontemps poem, “The Day-Breakers.”

“We are not come to wage a strife with swords upon this hill.

It is not wise to waste a life against a stubborn will.

Yet would we die as some have done.

Bearing a way for the rising sun.”

I was honored to be able to work with this group of young day-breakers who want to help other young people get to college and be productive students. We had a good time. In fact, Gabrielle told me that some of the advisers asked about how to invite me to their respective alma maters. See, this is how I “…get in trouble.”

No matter the day, no matter the “Breaking News,” there is always good being done in the world.

Look for your chance to be a part of that good in your social world, in large and small ways. It all matters. Small moves matter.

Dawn is coming.

posted by Rupert  |   10:41 PM  |   0 comments