Making Gumbo

Wed, 13 Dec 2017

Howl of the Wolf-2017

Back in 2012, I self-published my first book on neo-diversity; this time and circumstance in America where we all have to encounter and sometimes interact with people not like us (on some group dimension).


Concerned that students at NC State were having real trouble with the reality of neo-diversity on our campus, to try and help I wrote, “Howl of the Wolf: NC State University Students Call Out For Social Change.”  From student papers in my “Interpersonal Relationships and Race” course, I used quotes to show other students what the interaction struggle could look and feel like, and to show our students how to adapt to neo-diversity and learn to interact with people “not like you” with respect.

Since then I have given out copies free to our students; somewhere on the order of 3,000 and counting. At the end of every semester now, I give a copy to each student who was enrolled in my “Interdependence and Race” course.

Even though I published “Howl of the Wolf” in 2012, reviews are still popping up.  Here’s one that popped up on December 8, at the self-publishing platform I used,

“Howl of the Wolf” is a thoughtful and incredibly personal analysis of the Neodiversity facing society. Crafted using excerpts from Dr. Nacoste’s students and his own experiences this book feels more like a close friend giving advice rather than a Professor attempting to provide you with tools to navigate today’s uncertain social situations and mixed group interactions. Once finished “Howl” will become a staple in your library and in your daily life. Hopefully you too will pick up this book and hear the howl!”

I keep trying to find ways to help Americans learn about, so they can adapt to neo-diversity. “Howl of the Wolf” was one of my first attempts to reach the public. I think it still matters.



posted by Rupert  |   2:23 PM  |   0 comments
Mon, 11 Dec 2017

All Aboard the Neo-Diversity Train-Book Review

To write my book, “Taking on Diversity,” I had to find a theme that would link all of the ideas and book chapters.  Events conspired to remind of my favorite song from the sixties; Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready.

“People get ready, there’s a train a comin…”

That was it! I used that to set up the whole book.

In the preface I call out to everyone standing in the train stations of America:

“In the station, attention please!  Your attention, please!

People… get ready. The neo-diversity train is pulling into the station

In the station, your attention please. Attention!

People… get ready!”

An Amazon customer, giving my book a 5-star rating, this reviewer titled their review…

“All about the neo-diversity train!”

Then they wrote:

“In a time where diversity is so misunderstood and beliefs about it are so controversial, Dr. Nacoste shows the reader how racial acceptance can be achieved and provides them with an in depth grasp of what diversity is and why it causes so many people to feel anxiety. It is important to understand our ever changing world, and not only does the book aid in this process, but it also helps the reader understand her/his own personal feelings about race and ethnicity.

This book taught me how to let go of neo-diversity anxiety and how to effectively prevent people from using intolerant or offensive language in my presence. This is important for young people as the new generation of workers because America is very diverse, and once we begin our careers, we more than likely will have no choice but to interact with people who are different from ourselves. It is important to know how to effectively and properly interact with all individuals, not just those who are similar to us, and it is necessary if we hope to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

Dr. Nacoste used examples from his students’ personal lives to provide a more in depth understanding of the concepts he presented. These make the material feel relatable to the reader and shows them they are not alone in their quest to achieve racial acceptance.

There are many who want to make the world a better, more inclusive place for everyone. Sometimes, we just need to be shown how to do it. Taking on Diversity does exactly that.

This book is an excellent resource for those who wish to truly understand and interact with the racially diverse world we live in and not just passively move through it in our socially assigned boxes.”

I really like that review.

#neodiversity #WeShallOvercome #PeopleGetReady


posted by Rupert  |   11:05 PM  |   0 comments
Mon, 04 Dec 2017

Essential Readings of The Apocalypse

Apocalyptic fiction; novels of the end-of-days are very popular right now. But I have read only two that I would call essential.



“Station Eleven” is one.  All of the action of the story is set off by a viral pandemic that kills millions and millions of people.  But what makes this novel essential is that through this story we are shown how very interdependent are our everyday lives.

There is one paragraph in the novel that is startling with the truth it reveals of our day to day interdependence with each other. What would make daily life fall apart so quickly as portrayed in all apocalyptic fiction?  Well, in an airborne pandemic that sickens and kills people in twenty-four hours, death would quickly spread to workers who keep everything going; people who go to work to keep the power going, to keep the water running (and sanitary), to keep food produced and being delivered to stores, to keep planes, trains and automobiles running.

That would be the human apocalypse.  With that collapse of our human infrastructure, what would prevent the slow demise of the human spirit too?  Station-Eleven ask that too.  Station-Eleven answers with its focus on human spiritual survival through the art of a traveling band of actors who act out Shakespeare, even at the end of days, uplifting the human spirit.

I read Station-Eleven two years ago (March, 2015) and that still sticks with me.

December 2-3, 2017, a weekend, to begin my recovery from the end of the semester push, I picked up “When the English Fall.” That novel is the second story of the apocalypse that I say is essential.

Always, novels of the apocalypse focus on mainstream, every day existence and the collapse of technological infrastructure. But when that part of human life is given attention, we seem to have forgotten that not all we humans, even in America, live lives dependent on technology.  What about the Amish?  What about the plain-folk, religious folk who have chosen to and have been living as survivalists, without store-bought stuff, without technology, even electricity for hundreds of years? When our electrical infrastructure dies, do their lives change at all?

“When the English Fall” ask that question.  More important, the novel takes us through a spiritual meditation on modern human life and the way we are all interdependent with technology and ourselves. Telling the story and speaking to us through an Amish man’s diary that is found after the end of days, the narrator, that Amish man writes:

“Because we know, now, that as the world of the English fails around us, we [Amish] are not separate. Yes, we have the Order, and yes, we have our way, but the time when that meant we stood free from the world has passed. I am not sure, as I think about it now, that has ever been true. We are never really apart, as much as we choose to set ourselves different from the world that surrounds us. The English are like the Earth, or the air. And if the rain falls, it falls on all alike the Bible says.”

I read “When the English Falls” in the quiet of my home; away from the hustle and bustle, the hard work, of the end of the semester.  Reading it was a balm to my spirit; a retreat that my soul needs, every now and then.

“Station-Eleven” and “When the English Fall” are not just stories of the end-of-days collapse of the modern.  Both novels are about what we must always do to hold on to the gift of our human spirit, no matter the troubling circumstances of the day. That is why I say, if you want to read apocalyptic fiction, these two novels are essential reads.


posted by Rupert  |   4:12 PM  |   0 comments
Thu, 16 Nov 2017

American Bigotry: This time it’s personal

What happens to an individual’s social-psychology in the face of the failure and collapse of the institutional and organizational support for their superior sense of group position?  What happens, psychologically, when the removal of obvious forms of structural racism, sexism, heterosexism, means that what used to be taken for granted can’t be?

I am asking you to think about what happens psychologically when black and LatinX people, now less hindered, show high achievement in all kinds of domains (not just sports)?  What happens, psychologically, when standards of woman-beauty broaden to more realistically include women of color (Miss USA); hijab wearing Muslim women (cover of Vogue); curvy women TV weather reporters, (former) First Lady Michelle Obama?

Really, the question I am asking you to ponder is what happens when the superior sense of group position is shown to have been built on a house of cards?  Well, the answer is intergroup anxiety.

On these matters, here is my newest Psychology-Today essay:

posted by Rupert  |   12:59 PM  |   0 comments
Tue, 17 Oct 2017

Mike Ditka’s 100 years of no racial oppression

On Twitter  @DrNacoste I left this thread:

1. Mike Ditka has spoken out against NFL players taking a knee because he says, what oppression? “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people.”

2. One hundred years is a clear benchmark.  Remember, 100 years.

3. If I thought Mr. Ditka read books I would send him a copy of Tim Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name; a historical memoir written by a white man about the public killing of a black man in 1970 for which no person who people saw do the killing was ever punished by the law.  (Link)

4. Absent book reading, here Mr. Ditka is bit of my family’s personal black history.

5. My dark-skinned “Negro” father was born in 1918-My brown-skinned “Negro” mother was born in 1922… both born into hard legal racial segregation-Racism. Even if we now lived in 2018, Mr. Ditka’s 100 year mark would be woefully wrong and ignorant.

6. Myself born in 1951, I grew up in the Jim-Crow South of legally enforced racial segregation graduating high school in 1969 yet never having been to school with white kids because in 1969 it was still against state law to have racially mixed schooling.

7. Even if we were living in 2051, Mr. Ditka’s 100 year benchmark would be wrong and oblivious to history.

8. Football is just a frivolous game and one that I never played. But I did serve my country in the U.S. Navy (1972-1976) even though there was lingering racial discrimination in the fleet so much so that in 1973 I lived through a race-riot aboard a Navy aircraft carrier-USS Intrepid.

9. No isolated incident-there were 350 documented major racial incidents (including riots) in the Navy between 1970 and 1975 because of lingering and harsh racial discrimination against U.S. Navy sailors who were black. [see Sherwood, John D. (2006) Black Sailor, White Navy: Racial unrest in the fleet during the Vietnam War era. New York: New York University Press.

10. Even if we were living in 2075 Mr. Ditka’s 100 year benchmark would be stunningly without connection to our real American history.

11. We are where we are in American history because nothing in America has been so profound, and important as marginalized and discounted peoples pushing through, and defeating America’s too many intergroup bigotries in be able to live the American promise of “…the pursuit of happiness.”

12. That is why in 21st century America we arrive at a neo-diverse social environment in which too many Americans struggle with the idea and need to respect people from those many different groups. (see my book, Taking on Diversity: How we can move from anxiety to respect. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2015;

13. In the midst of one part of that struggle against America’s still too many intergroup bigotries like many others Mr. Ditka has panicked psychologically and to calm himself has claimed that there has been no racial discrimination over the last 100 years.

14. My parents, my sister, my brothers and I have a personal black history that makes that claim look as ridiculous as it is.

15. Here endenth the lesson.

posted by Rupert  |   2:11 PM  |   0 comments
Thu, 28 Sep 2017

Not the Flag, but the Constitution I Took an Oath to Defend

President Trump has called NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, SOBs.

I have never played sports.  A black man, I did grow up in the deep-South, in the time of Jim-Crow legal racial segregation. I did grow up in an activist household.  I did do voter registration of black people in 1968. I did march and protest, including sitting during the national anthem. I did, later, serve my country in the U. S. Navy during a time of racial turmoil and change in that branch of the military. And even while I served, I engaged in peaceful protest of ongoing racial inequities in the Navy.

Here’s my full essay, published in the News & Observer (September 26, 2017):

posted by Rupert  |   2:58 PM  |   0 comments
Sun, 24 Sep 2017







President Trump did not serve. I served @Navy and am proud of Americans who kneel in protest of injustice/

posted by Rupert  |   11:03 PM  |   0 comments