Tired of the vitriol and hate (and it will only get worse because it’s an election year)? This book will guide you through what it takes to treat others with kindness–even people who don’t look, think, or act the same way you do.
By Ashlee Eiland, Waterbrook, April 2020, 224 pages.
In today’s world of divisiveness and social media outbursts, we need a voice of calm and reason. And kindness. Ashlee Eiland provides that voice, and she does it with kindness.
Only recently have I come to understand that I suffer from White Privilege. I assumed that because I speak Spanish and married a Cuban, I had an open mind and would never think a racist thought.
In truth, we all suffer from prejudice, racism, and privilege—we just don’t realize it. We also don’t realize how it shapes our attitudes and assumptions about other people. These attitudes and assumptions manifest themselves as microaggressions we may not even realize we exhibit.
The subtle things we say or don’t say can tear people down instead of building them up. We miss the fact that as humans, we have more in common than we think.
Eiland shares her struggles of growing up in an affluent Black family where she feels she doesn’t fit in with the majority of Black people, yet never feels fully part of the predominant white culture. I can understand her feelings of dissonance, as can anyone who grew up in a subculture. But no one ever shouted epithets at me or made me feel less-than.
Her stories paint a picture of what happens when we learn to honor other people and their stories instead of spewing knee-jerk reactions to people’s otherness that seems to conflict with our ways of seeing and doing.
Eiland gently points out the value in sitting “patiently under the comb, knowing in our hearts that the outcome might be less than desirable—but also knowing that trying is the best offering some can give.”
Why Read this Book?
Eiland also reminds us of the importance of giving honor to other people—not because they do something for us, but because they are human. “Standing in front of someone I don’t know and affirming his existence can be just as powerful as a formal ceremony.” When we make a habit of honoring others and their right to exist, we learn something about ourselves.
“The point isn’t to try to relate to all people and demand they affirm us. It’s to proclaim “worthy” over and over again, whether or not others are willing to give us their art, their space…or even their friendship.”Ashlee Eiland–Human(Kind)
Eiland reminds us that we can be proud of who we are and still appreciate other cultures—life isn’t either, or. She says, “Our assumptions make false demands of people we hardly even know.” Maybe we need to listen more and talk less. Open our ears instead of our mouths. Treat everyone, absolutely everyone, with honor and respect—not because of anything they did or do—but because they are fellow created beings.
If people intrigue you, and you’re tired of the vitriol strewn all over the Internet, you’ll love this book. Eiland shows us that standing up for right doesn’t mean engaging in the same bad behavior. It takes more work than that.
We need to make space for everyone and their stories without judgment. The most powerful way to change the world is to engage kindly with one person at a time.
If you can only read one book this year, make it this one.If you only have time to read one book this year, make it this one #Human(Kind) by @Ashlee_Eiland Click To Tweet