Author: Daralyse Lyons
• Publisher : Loving Healing Press
• Paperback : 178 pages
• ISBN-10 : 1615995331
• ISBN-13 : 978-1615995332
Reviewed by Dr. Bob Rich
This review is for two books, not one, because they form one unitary whole. Daralyse has written a powerful book that may change your life, and an accompanying workbook that forces you to convert intellectual understanding into a changed perception of yourself and your world.
If you want one sentence to summarize the book(s), it is “Dehumanizing anyone dehumanizes everyone.” (p 92) My attitude is that we are all family, going right back to the Rift Valley. Demystifying Diversity implicitly applies this concept. Successive chapters examine different sources of discrimination including race, religion, sexual orientation, body size/shape, and disabilities. Each is in effect a case study for applying the message of all the great religions and philosophies: the power of unconditional love. As Daralyse reports her connection to a wide variety of inspiring people, bringing each to life within these pages, she demonstrates that human nature is basically cooperative, compassionate and decent. She invites the reader to identify with this view, and to proactively apply it to everyone.
We learn from doing, not from reading, and so setting exercises is a good teaching device. I enjoyed the exercises in the workbook, and although I was reading because the publisher requested a review, I found myself spending time and mental effort in thinking about the tasks she’d set. Some of the exercises will take you months, such as learning a new language, or a whole lifetime, like becoming friends with people from a culture now foreign to you.
This is a passionate book, a program with the intention of reforming an insane, hating, greedy culture into a sane, loving, generous one. Daralyse is always on the side of the victim — but rightly considers the perpetrator, the abuser, to be also a victim of the abusive behavior: “Trauma is cyclical. Standing for human rights requires us to develop our capacity for empathy and to search out the causes that create conditions of violence and victimization. If we don’t intervene in restorative and reparative ways, hurt people are likely to hurt other people.” (p xii)
Another way I have connected with Daralyse is her distinction between a person and an action. She writes, “Confronting the human capacity for evil doesn’t mean losing sight of the beauty and resilience within each of us. In fact, acknowledging both is the only foundation from which to begin the process of repairing the world.” (p2)
I can’t do better than to finish this review with another quote: “So many of the people I came to know and love since embarking on the Demystifying Diversity initiative are people I would never have crossed paths with otherwise. By connecting over our shared humanity, I have forged lasting friendships and learned a lot about the importance of empathy. Some of the people who have enriched my life the most are people with whom I don’t share much on the surface. Yet, we have connected deeply. They’ve taught me so much and I consider our relationships to be sacred. I could never have figured out the lessons they’ve taught me without them entrusting me with their stories.” (p 140) This is why Daralyse invites you to reap the same benefits through this book.
More About the Author
Daralyse Lyons, aka the Transformational Storyteller, is a journalist, an actor, and an activist. She has written more than two dozen full-length books, a handful of short stories, and countless articles, performed in various plays and in improv comedy shows. A member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and a summa cum laude graduate of NYU, with a double-major in English and Religious Studies and a minor in History, she is passionate about exposing the painful side of history, the side that is not written by oppressors. Through her studies, she has come to see the beautiful and overlapping philosophies of Judaism, Islam and Christianity and wonders why people so often use religion as a battering ram, instead of a source of solace and support. As a Biracial woman, she has made it her mission to stand for a more integrated world. As a sexually fluid person who has had relationships and experiences with both men and women, she has had to find her place amidst a multitude of communities that attempt to erase her orientation and has been a voice within the darkness.
After writing an award-winning children’s book (I’m Mixed!) about embracing her multiethnic heritage, Daralyse found her passion and her purpose educating others about the need to embrace all aspects of themselves. Since then, she has written and spoken extensively on the subject of diversity. Her perspective is one that looks to acknowledge the past while refusing to become incapacitated by it. As a Biracial, multiethnic and sexually fluid woman, she is uniquely empowered to use her seemingly disparate background as a catalyst for cross-cultural understanding.
More About the Reviewer
Dr. Bob Rich knows all about prejudice and discrimination, having been a Jewish child in a culture where “You Jews murdered Jesus!” was a customary prelude to physical violence, then “I fought for this country! You foreigners are coming to take it over. Go back to where you came from!” was a sequel. So, like Daralyse, all his life, he has been on the side of the underdog. As he matured, he also developed compassion for the abuser, and now the whole of humanity is his family: he cares for you even if he hates your actions. That’s why he is a Professional Grandfather. If you want to know what that implies, visit his popular blog, Bobbing Around, at https://bobrich18.wordpress.com Learn more about him at http://bobswriting.com. Tweet with him @bobswriting. His newsletter is "Bobbing Around" at https://bobrich18.wordpress.com. His mottos are:
Commit random acts of kindness
Live simply so you may simply live
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