BOOK REVIEW: WITHSTANDING THE LIE
The world is so full of beautiful colors and beautiful people, so beautiful, as Christina Aguilera sings, "like a rainbow." Louis Armstrong calls our world "a wonderful world," which it is, at its best, at least. But, what if you find yourself the victim of racism or the small-minded prejudiced views of some people? Unfortunately, there still are people who, because of their skin color or a belief that their race, religion, or sexual preference is superior, and in order to bolster their own self-esteem, will do whatever they can to cut down the sense of self-worth of others around them who are different than themselves in one or more of these ways. These people are expressing lies designed to makes others feel degraded and inferior and themselves feel superior, and it can be very difficult to maintain your cool and awareness of your self-worth when you're the intended victim of such lies.
Withstanding the Lie, by the father/daughter writing team of Roger and Nicole Brewer, eloquently expresses how difficult it can be to withstand the lies of hatred, racism, and prejudice, and how to deal with and overcome the lies so they don't succeed in their purpose to demoralize and take away one's sense of self-esteem. They relate experiences in their own lives of withstanding the lies of those who would seek to demean them, and offer console and techniques to the readers to also be able to better withstand the lies of prejudiced and racist individuals. They do so in a compilation of essays, short fiction, and personal memoirs that are moving examples of the hurtful lies we still face today, despite strides that have been made towards the acceptance of the differences of others.
It's the differences we all have to one degree or another that make us unique, that should be celebrated, but which instead are criticized and turned against us. We can let ourselves be the victims of such lies, and succumb to them, or we can realize them to be what they are, and not let them or the liars to have power over us. This is often much easier said than done, but it can be done, and is much better than feeling as if you're a victim, or that the lies hold some grains of truth in them, or to react back with lies and/or violence of your own.
The book is filled with superb and emotional writing, and should be required reading for people of all colors, genders, and religious and sexual preferences. Though discrimination is illegal, and victims of it can obtain monetary compensation, still the mental and emotional scars of it can linger for the rest of their lives. Also, as the authors say in one part of the book, "...it is impractical, if not altogether impossible, to draft and enforce laws prohibiting all harmful behavior."
One way we can work to overcome the lies is to call the lie a lie, to recognize it for what it is. But to do this you have to get to a place in your mind where the lies of others have no more effect on you than like water running off of a duck's back. As the authors write:
We have written this book not just to describe the place where you need to be
mentally and emotionally, but also to provide you with specific directions to the
final destination. We are providing road map and signs to direct you in your travel.
Withstanding the Lie is an excellent book about how to cope with the lies that racism and prejudice engender in our lives. It also provides tools for victims of these lies to overcome their hurtful intent and to enable us to get beyond them and live our lives with the realization that the lies are lies, and only have the power we give them - if we see them for what they are, they lose their power over us.
You may ask yourself, "Why should I want to read about dealing with hatred, racism, sexism, prejudice, when I'm not effected by them?" because you're Caucasian and heterosexual. The answer would be that in one way or another, we are all effected by the kind of lies that Roger and Nicole's book deals with, or we know of others who have been hurt by these lies. Also, we can all learn to be more tolerant of differences, and to celebrate them. It's a book I would highly recommend to everyone.
REVIEWED BY DOUGLAS R. COBB
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