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Sun Nov 14, 2021, 02:04 PM

This library lets you borrow people instead of books. It just may help bridge our bitter divisions

(CNN) On a rainy spring morning in Muncie, Indiana, a White, middle-aged, conservative woman met a transgender woman for a date. It did not start well. The transgender woman was waiting at a table when the other woman showed up. She stood up and extended her hand. The other woman refused to take it. "I want you to know I'm a conservative Christian," she said, still standing. "I'm a liberal Christian," the transgender woman replied. "Let's talk."

Their rendezvous was supposed to last about 30 minutes. But the conversation was so engrossing for both that it lasted an hour. It ended with the conservative woman rising from her seat to give the other woman a hug. "Thank you," she said. "This has been wonderful."

This improbable meeting came courtesy of the Human Library, a nonprofit learning platform that allows people to borrow people instead of books. But not just any people. Every "human book" from this library represents a group that faces prejudice or stigmas because of their lifestyle, ethnicity, beliefs, or disability. A human book can be an alcoholic, for example, or a Muslim, or a homeless person, or someone who was sexually abused. The Human Library stages in-person and online events where "difficult questions are expected, appreciated, and answered." Organizers says they're trying to encourage people to "unjudge" a book by its cover.

snip

The Human Library was created 21 years ago by Ronni Abergel, a Danish human rights activist and journalist who became interested in non-violence activism after a friend he describes as a "troubled youth" survived a stabbing in Copenhagen. He wondered if a human library could bring people together like a traditional one. Only in this one, stigmatized or unconventional people would be treated like books -- readers could loan them out, ask them questions, learn something they didn't know and challenge their perceptions.

Read More:
https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/14/health/human-library-blake-cec/index.html

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Reply This library lets you borrow people instead of books. It just may help bridge our bitter divisions (Original post)
FM123 Nov 14 OP
Beartracks Nov 14 #1
malthaussen Nov 14 #2
Me. Nov 14 #3
Tommymac Nov 14 #4
Tree Lady Nov 14 #7
Claire Oh Nette Nov 14 #8
Tommymac Nov 14 #9
ck4829 Nov 15 #14
ck4829 Nov 15 #13
maxsolomon Nov 14 #5
Scrivener7 Nov 14 #6
KY_EnviroGuy Nov 14 #10
FM123 Nov 15 #12
PufPuf23 Nov 14 #11

Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 02:06 PM

1. Fascinating concept. n/t

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Response to Beartracks (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 02:10 PM

2. My thought exactly. n/t

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 02:15 PM

3. What A Wonderful Idea

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 02:20 PM

4. Sounds cool, but I'd worry about security in today's times.

What is to prevent a violent Nazi WP type from 'checking' out a minority and beating the crap out of them or worse?

Also, without professional advice and guidance, not sure how effective this would be - in fact, it could prove harmful. I'd only do it in the company of a trained psychologist or medical Doctor.

I'd need to know more before endorsing this.



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Response to Tommymac (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 04:00 PM

7. Hopefully you meet in a library

I would want it to be in a public place.

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Response to Tommymac (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 04:31 PM

8. Play the odds...

I doubt a "violent Nazi WP type" would go to *any* library, ever.

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Response to Claire Oh Nette (Reply #8)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 07:58 PM

9. Actually, some are quite intelligent and well read.

Twisted and evil though they may be.

I don't accept that generalization.

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Response to Tommymac (Reply #9)

Mon Nov 15, 2021, 09:15 AM

14. Well, they certainly believe that they are intelligent

If one goes around thinking their race is superior to other races, there is nothing preventing them from thinking they are superior to other people regardless of race.

James Alex Fields, Dylann Roof, etc. already think they are gods and everyone else is just meat... so I'm sure they think they are quite intelligent.

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Response to Claire Oh Nette (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 15, 2021, 09:10 AM

13. +1

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 03:00 PM

5. That's a great idea. Once it becomes a real person, Judgment is less easy.

I've often toyed with the idea of setting up a table on a sidewalk in small-town America saying "meet an Urban Liberal", but I know I don't have the ability to remain calm in the face of provocation.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 03:45 PM

6. This seems like a great idea, but am I the only one who is made slightly uneasy by it?

I think perhaps because of the safety factor a poster upthread described.

But also, there a whiff of exploitation? As in, is the person who is from the stigmatized group in a more defensive position in a situation like this?

The article itself said the "conservative Christian" at first would not shake the transgender woman's hand. As if she needed to be brought around to doing that. Convinced that the transgender woman was human enough for the "christian" to shake her hand.

These interactions are between someone from "a group that faces prejudice or stigmas because of their lifestyle, ethnicity, beliefs, or disability" and another person who is not from such a group. I think calling it a "library" dehumanizes the "lent" people, and it might feed into the idea that the stigmatized person needs to earn acceptance from the non-stigmatized person.

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 08:30 PM

10. Maybe one of these meetings should be required prior to voting.

....or two or three or ten.......

I'm old enough to remember when everyday citizens - both Democrat and Republican - talked with no prejudice or concern for politics, mostly about community and family or fishing or baseball. Politics was almost never discussed except a little around election time.

We need something to get us all talking again.

Thanks for posting this, FM123. It is both healing and inspirational and gives us a ray of hope.

KY..........

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Reply #10)

Mon Nov 15, 2021, 09:06 AM

12. You are so welcome. Yes, I found that it gives us a ray of hope too.....

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Response to FM123 (Original post)

Sun Nov 14, 2021, 08:39 PM

11. A fine person who lives near me just told me about visiting

the Human Library in Denmark and how he thought that the Human Library was such a great idea. I will be glad to tell him that there is a Human Library in Indiana now.

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