Lester, co-founder and director of a national organization called Equity Institute, here collects pieces published previously in newspapers encompassing her superficial observations about society's inclusion and exclusion of African Americans, Native Americans, women, the physically imparied, gays and lesbians. She cautions against stereotyping groups or individuals, and against relating ethnic jokes. About herself, Lester tells us that one of her husbands, the father of her children, was black, and that she has been with a female partner for 13 years. She may have a message in these pages for those unsophisticated about multiculturalism, but she largely fails at her stated mission of ``turning isms into wasms .'' (Mar.)
Although not so radical as to insist on the use of the term "vertically challenged", Lester suggests how to handle oneself in culturally sensitive situations, and her book should be welcomed in the corporate arena as well as in personal life. A spokesperson on diversity issues whose articles have appeared in "USA Today" and the "Los Angeles Times" and whose clients include Harvard University and the American Red Cross, Lester demonstrates thoughts that are straightforward and easily understood. Besides discussing specific situations, Lester also points out how society is European based in most aspects of daily life and language as well as why it is now important to be sensitive to others' backgrounds, including ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual preferences. Other discussions include the destruction of stereotypes and their related phrases (e.g., "being jewed" by someone), the need for unity among the various groups struggling for equality versus the current squabbling between coalitions over media and legislative attention, and the philosophy behind the frequent changes in ethnic group names. Recommended for all libraries.