Loving Healing Press publishes most of my books. I happened to have a need to visit, and noticed a just-released book I thought would appeal to me, so asked Victor Volkman to email me a copy to review.
Indeed, I found Demystifying Diversity: Embracing Our Shared Humanity to be approximately wonderful, give or take a bit. It is so inspiring that I have asked Daralyse for an interview, and here it is.
Daralyse, your recent book, Demystifying Diversity, is based on your radio show of the same name, right? How did you become a radio show host?
Thank you for asking! The book, Demystifying Diversity: Embracing Our Shared Humanity, is based on the Demystifying Diversity Podcast, which is a bit different from radio in that it’s not live but I do have a bit of background with radio. I did several freelance assignments for WHYY and it was through that that I learned how to create scripted audio journalism. Before that, I did have an interview-based podcast called The Transformational Storyteller Podcast but that format was really different from the Demystifying Diversity Podcast and, looking back, I can see how lucky I’ve been to have all these different opportunities for learning that led me to this work.
What do you do when you are not interviewing people?
When I’m not interviewing people, I love, love, love to dance. I will dance anywhere and everywhere, including in my car and my apartment. I’m shameless.
Wonderful. When I ask this kind of question, almost everyone gives me an occupational label, like “I am a funeral director,” or “I am a trash truck captain,” or “I run a very lucrative cocaine importing business” or something. So, then my next question usually is, “What do you do for fun?” but I refuse to ask you that.
Instead, here is a question straight from “Solution-Focused Therapy:” I give you a magic wand charged with one wish. What will you use it for?
OOOOhhh! What fun questions you ask! It’s a difficult thing because I think the altruistic part of me would want a world free of deliberate cruelty, but the more selfish part of me would wish for the capacity to heal from my own wounds so I can be the person the world wants me to be. I think easy wishes and instant gratification aren’t sustainable, so maybe character wishes and/or shifts in perspective would be useful. Also, I sooooooo want to ask you all these questions but I get that that’s not how interviews work.
In my review of your book, I wrote, If you want one sentence to summarize the book(s), it is “Dehumanizing anyone dehumanizes everyone.” Did I get it right?
What an astute observation! I love that. I think I’d probably say that dehumanization gives the illusion of separation and pulls us away from the richness of life and connection. I’m not certain I’d say it dehumanizes everyone, necessarily, but only because I think people could find loopholes to that. That said, it certainly strips away the richness of connection and it is harmful. It is also, in many cases, reflexive. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t have biases or occasional thoughts of judgment against others who we misperceive as less than or different from ourselves. I think part of the human experience is moments of hatred, just as another part is moments of love. I would say that knowing that, when these thoughts and feelings come up, it is a sign that we have work to do and not a sign that there is something wrong in someone else is essential. If we act on those thoughts of dehumanization, we become perpetrators against others and if we don’t heal our own hearts or minds we are also dehumanizing ourselves. I think people think judgment is a way to feel better, but in my experience it only leads to a sense of loneliness and an inability to be authentic. The more I think I am or I have to be perfect, the more likely I am to become self destructive. And the more I pick others apart, the more destruction I do in the world. But in a broader context, when we look at how broken society is right now and all the things we have to heal as a collective, dehumanization is a huge problem and none of us are immune to its impact.
Careful! You’re in danger of triggering one of my raves. I’ve thought of a perhaps new way of putting it: “Reality is a mirror.” You know, “Do onto others…” and “Anger is a hot coal you pick up to throw at others, but it’s your hand that gets burned” and so on from all those wise people I try to copy. Only, we can substitute disdain, judgment, arrogance etc. for anger. But this is your interview, not mine, so I won’t say any of this. Instead, please talk a little more about your podcast. How was it born?
Omigosh, rave away! I love your reflections. I love the use of language you chose. To talk about the podcast’s birth, I’ll go to its conception. My friend and now business partner, AnnaMarie Jones, called me one day and said “I think we should do something together related to diversity.” I had a background in journalism and writing and previous experience podcasting and I LOVE interviewing people so I suggested we create a podcast. Because I’m a workaholic, over the next year, I interviewed 128 people and then started pulling it all together. It was a lot of doing things the wrong way and learning and growing. I’d write. AnnaMarie would proofread my writing. We’d talk about ideas. I almost feel like, to use the birth analogy, if we were a couple, I was the pregnant one and she was my support person, coach and champion. We conceived it together and walked the path together but I think she’d tell you I was the one who suffered more of the pain. But it’s both our baby and I feel beyond blessed to be doing this work. It was a bit stressful writing the book at the same time as we were gearing up to launch the podcast, but it’s a challenge I chose and I’m grateful for every difficult and illuminating moment.
Daralyse, I’ve read your book and its workbook and written a 5 star review. Where can people buy it? And how can they access your podcast?
Yes, thank you so much for the review and the support! People can buy Demystifying Diversity:Embracing Our Shared Humanity online at Amazon, or through other online retailers. And the podcast is free.