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Don't Label Me

An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times
Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
3.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Summary

“Charming and disarming, a story like this heals the divides that threaten to destroy America. Don’t Label Me speaks for all of us who are more than the boxes that others put us into.” (Marianne Williamson, New York Times best-selling author)

A unique conversation about diversity, bigotry, and our common humanity, by the New York Times best-selling 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. Listeners 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 US, and a professor of moral courage, Don't Label Me makes diversity great again.

©2019 Irshad Manji (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-03-19

Challenging our status quo

I began following Irshad about 10 years ago when she was leading the Moral Courage Project at NYU. Given her knowledge and experience challenging the status quo in her religion, she comes to the topic of division in the United States with credibility and clarity of thought. This book really caused me to analyze how I have been using labels to simplify complex people, and how by asking questions--rather than focusing on 'fixing' the person--I can create meaningful relationships, and maybe even heal the wounds in our society. I also appreciated Irshad's creativity in writing this book in the format of a conversation with her rescue dog, Lily. Irshad describes that over time Lily let down her guard and eventually trusted Irshad, her new human mom, despite the abusive trauma Lily experienced in her earlier years. I began to see why Irshad wrote the book this way. Lily offers a lesson that we all need to learn in order to heal our divided world. If you want to do your part to be a bridge in a divided world, I highly recommend you add Don't Label Me to your library.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • dtr
  • 13-11-19

narration/format undermines message

I am an educator, a dog lover, and familiar with much of the social science cited in this book. Even I had a hard time with the human-canine conversation as the platform for this discussion of diversity, politics, and the virtues of respectful engagement. I got the sense that I could have enjoyed a thoughtful discussion of these issue by this author -- but kept being pulled away from any thoughtfulness by the silly aspects of the delivery.

It might be that the hokey vehicle is easier to palate in the written form. I listened to the audible version and the sing-song style narration was a bit over the top. The whole book sounded like it was delivered in "baby talk" making it hard to take the serious content seriously.

The worst parts for me were the canned sound effects that took away any chance of finding the humorous parts humorous.

I listened to the end, but cannot recommend it to anyone -- at least in the audio format.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-07-19

Enlightened ideas

I really enjoyed this book. Her well thought out insights are refreshing. Her humor and sentiment adds a special touch. Unfortunately I think her ideas are too graceful, fair and intelligent for Americans to grasp. We have regressed back to caveman thinking. The reptilian brain rules these days. Still I got a lot out of it. I was drawn to this book because in the social media world, there are nothing but labels for people,and they are inaccurate.

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  • Modevs
  • 18-07-19

Good message but I'm not into the dog mommy stuff

Overall she has a very prosocial message for America and the world in a time when we need it.

That said, she spends a lot of superfluous time literally talking to her dog who constantly refers to the author as "momma" and for me that was very off putting.

But it's narrated by the author and she has a lot of pithy quotes that are worth having in your hip pocket.

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  • Zoie
  • 16-07-19

Rational, Intelligent, Compassionate

Just what I needed in this strange time where hyperbole and "othering" dominate political rhetoric (from both sides!). Someone who has the outcome in mind and reminds us of the rational approach: what do we want for our world and for the people in it, and what would actually work to get there... not knee-jerk responses that might actually backfire and have the opposite effect.

As someone who does not fit neatly into a political group (it isn't team sports, after all!), this book had me choked up many times with the feeling that, "finally, somebody actually cares enough about PEOPLE- all people!- to disagree with her "team" when the evidence suggests they are getting some things wrong- that takes guts and TRUE compassion!".

Manji is able to recognize that most people have basically good intentions. This book helps the reader to truly see that, and to figure out ways to build connections with others, to see completely different perspectives that probably weren't even considered. When you can do that, you can let go of some fear and anger. I appreciate living with less fear and anger!

At first, the fact that it was a conversation with a dog was distracting. However, I soon realized that there was a very good reason: it allowed her to "offend" her dog, and reveal how both sides (the offended and the offender) were both right in ways, both wrong in ways, and show how to get beyond it, without actually offending any humans. In doing so, it allows the reader to remain open-minded about considering all sides.

I recommend this book across the board- regardless of your political affiliations. She is up front with her political leanings, but is clear that she might be wrong in some cases and is willing to admit when evidence suggests that is the case. She doesn't think it's a team sport- she knows it's about people. This is someone whom I would love to talk to, because I know I could be open about my often different opinions and questions, without worrying about being shamed. If only more people were able to do this!

Thank you Irshad Manji!

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  • Brianna D
  • 25-06-19

insightful and well written. <br />

even though I didn't necessarily agree what all the statements brought to the table, this book definitely got me thinking about how I can more positively converse with those who have different views from my own. it inspired me to have thoughtful conversations that I might otherwise not have been open to

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  • Brenda L. Whitner
  • 11-06-19

mind and life changing, affirming

as someone who finds themselves struggling with the topic of diversity, I find the author's views and suggestions both refreshing and reasonable. I will take many of the suggestions and try and apply them to my own life.

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  • jhersom
  • 29-05-19

What a wonderful book

I really appreciate her insight and the thought about active listening, owning our emotions, and the role us progressives have in our current society. I’ve seen many of us progressives as victims but the concept of competitive victimhood shed more light on why we compete to be seen as bigger victims. A must read for anyone who is serious about change in culture and diversity and how we need to examine ourselves and our actions if we want to spur that change.

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  • Thomas
  • 20-04-19

Disappointed

I heard this author on the radio; wanted the book. I was bothered by 'talking to the dog' vehicle. I want the content but I just can't get past that.

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  • Armand Angelina
  • 24-03-19

Such an important. book and so refreshing.

this is my favorite subject these days and this book is so informative, important, and refreshingly valuable