Publication Date: April 2020
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essay Collection, Memoirs
Growing up in an upper-middle-class family in the 1990s was anything but normal for Ashlee Eiland. In Human (Kind), EIland recalls outstanding moments where she felt straddled between two worlds and the constant struggle to become her own people. She also reflects on key moments where she could have or have been shown a lit more kindness. Eiland does not ignore the pivotal moments in US History like the rise of nationalism and #BlackLivesMatter. Rather she advocates for social activism with radical kindness across the divides.
On the things we (POC) don’t do:
In the end, I love that the thing “we just don’t do” [camping] became a great story—one that formed new possibilities in my life. That’s the genius of adventure, isn’t it? It gives us more than just a tale of a singular experience. It also unlocks what could be—what could become part of our stories. The things we used to be closed off to, the boundaries we used to place around our lives or the lives of other people, are now an open road without a railing, an unobstructed path to expanding what we’ve previously known to be true. How have we been limiting ourselves? Better yet, how have we been limiting the possibility of what’s true in others? Whatever great things we think certain people don’t do—I guarantee one of them does.
On beauty and uniqueness across races:
The beauty is in seeing what’s already there before us, whether basic or brilliant. When we recognize the value that already exists in a given life, we can marvel at the goodness of our Creator, who chose to make you and me a particular way for a particular purpose. Our work is to learn how to stand in awe of each created being without making modifications or trying to bring out something that’s not ours to call forth…
On judging and making assumptions about other people:
Our assumptions make false demands of people we hardly even know. We demand they receive from us, show us gratitude, say we’re right. All without ever hearing them tell us of the places they’ve been and how they got there
As a non-American reader, this essay collection was a delight to read because it resonated with my own experiences of racism and colourism (thankfully, they have been few and far between). Human(Kind) calls readers to remember their inherent value as God’s children regardless of their origins and to cultivate empathy for others. Although I frequently journal, Eiland challenged me to keep more detailed accounts so that I can be able to share more in-depth experiences with my future generations.
I read Human(Kind) back to back with Nikki Khanna’s Whiter and I was moved by the anecdotes on colourism. I didn’t know about the paper-bag test (and appalled) until I read these books. It reaffirmed form the importance of teaching children from a young age about race and beauty issues.
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Note: This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.