"Don't Label Me should be labeled as genius. It's an amazing book." - Chris Rock
A unique conversation about diversity, bigotry, and our common humanity, by the New York Times bestselling author, Oprah “Chutzpah” award-winner, and founder of the Moral Courage Project
In these United States, discord has hit emergency levels. Civility isn't the reason to repair our caustic chasms. Diversity is.
Don't Label Me shows that America's founding genius is diversity of thought. Which is why social justice activists won't win by labeling those who disagree with them. At a time when minorities are fast becoming the majority, a truly new America requires a new way to tribe out.
Enter Irshad Manji and her dog, Lily. Raised to believe that dogs are evil, Manji overcame her fear of the "other" to adopt Lily. She got more than she bargained for. Defying her labels as an old, blind dog, Lily engages Manji in a taboo-busting conversation about identity, power, and politics. They're feisty. They're funny. And in working through their challenges to one another, they reveal how to open the hearts of opponents for the sake of enduring progress. Readers who crave concrete tips will be delighted.
Studded with insights from epigenetics and epistemology, layered with the lessons of Bruce Lee, Ben Franklin, and Audre Lorde, punctuated with stories about Manji's own experiences as a refugee from Africa, a Muslim immigrant to the U.S., and a professor of moral courage, Don't Label Me makes diversity great again.
Manji (The Trouble with Islam Today) urges tolerance and open-minded rapport via an imagined dialogue with her dog, Lily. The construct is unusual, but in practice it is basically the Socratic method: Lily asks questions and plays devil's advocate, providing counterarguments that allow Manji to respond to potential critics, the reader included. Starting with the premise that the recent resurgence of white nationalist sentiment is a symptom of backlash against movements in favor of diversity and multiculturalism, Manji argues that, rather than vilifying individuals who disagree with liberal ideas, progressives must set aside tribal differences and open a dialogue with conservatives and moderates (lest, the implication goes, they become radicalized by right-wing extremists). Manji illustrates her point with personal experiences, notably of her close relationship with Jim, an Obama-bashing Republican father figure, who happened to introduce her to her now-wife. She also provides a thought-provoking model of civil discourse in a story about a black woman and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans learning from each other's views on the legacy of the Confederate flag. Manji's plea for unity is laudable and well-articulated. Those seeking a level-headed approach to reaching common ground will find Manji and Lily's conversation instructive.