Review: Making Gumbo in the University

Making Gumbo in the University Making Gumbo in the University by Rupert W. Nacoste
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nacoste's book is an enjoyable read in many regards and a look at the problems that those involved in diversity work often come up against. Nacoste relates his experience as a chief diversity leader on southern US university and the walls he came up against while trying to create a more effective and meaningful approach to diversity at the institution. For me, I liked how this book captured the fact that diversity is not milk-warm acceptance of one another but is embedded in the tension of recognition of differences while trying to move forward in different directions. That is, diversity is not blind acceptance but respectful dialogue of differences that at times will be hard or unlikely to be reconciled. He also provides a good frame for institutions to rethink diversity as housed in a particular place or position and more embedded throughout the different areas of an institution; what does diversity mean for the different areas and how do they foster? Where I was less interested and impressed with the prose was the interweaving of his family life and his earlier life. Both are important to include but sometimes, the details (relevant though they were to his personal experience) distracted from his discussion and analysis of his work. Also, as a self-published book, it had a significant amount of grammatical and spelling errors.

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