Local Portland Author!
The face of America is changing. Within the next 30 years, Americans of color will become the majority. It has been said many times, across many decades, that if America is going to thrive, all Americans must learn to live and work together. Dr. Klusky believes learning to live and work together is not nearly enough. If we are to be at our best and meet the many challenges before us, we must first learn to truly connect with one another. We must develop our capacity to understand each other and develop real relationships of depth with each other. We must learn to be with one another. Historically, Americans of color have been learning how to be with white Americans since our inception, often in order to simply survive. Given that many white Americans have historically been disinterested in, and at times antagonistic towards, our citizens of color, these efforts have usually been one-sided. As a result, so many white Americans have been disconnected from their sisters and brothers of color. Today, more and more of us are feeling this disconnection. Some of us are becoming increasingly aware of this disconnection as our neighborhoods and workplaces are becoming more diverse. A number of us want greater connection, yet we are unsure how to connect. We are reticent to make the attempt; being inhibited by the potential for unintentionally offending folks or worse, making a mistake and being labeled a ‘racist’. Others, such as educators, social service providers, and healthcare providers, to name but a few, who are serving in communities becoming more diverse by the year are also feeling this disconnection, perhaps even more keenly. For how many times have these professionals, good people with the best of intentions, had their efforts misinterpreted and their assistance rejected? The same questions apply to business as the workforce diversifies and as they work to attract and serve more diverse customers. Dr. Klusky wrote “Reverse Integration” for white folks interested in learning to be with their brothers and sisters of color, though all readers are likely to find something of value in its pages. It is part sociological study and part autobiography. Dr. Klusky first examines the sociological and psychological forces behind our disconnection, and their impacts on both Americans of color as well as white Americans. Then, through stories of the lessons he has learned as a white man serving in, and becoming a part of, the African American community in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Jay provides the reader with guides to creating their own paths to connection as we endeavor to make America a more just, equitable, and thriving community.