We Become What We Normalize

What We Owe Each Other in Worlds That Demand Our Silence

We Become What We Normalize

What We Owe Each Other in Worlds That Demand Our Silence

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How do we resist the false idols of power and influence to seek true connection and community?

From one of the most respected thinkers and public intellectuals of our day comes a book that is both a cultural critique of the state of our country and a robust summons to resist complicity. As we move through the world, we constantly weigh our conscience against what David Dark calls "deferential fear"--going along just to get along, especially in relation to our cultural, political, and religious conversations. Dark reveals our compromised reality: the host of hidden structures and tacit social arrangements that draw us away from ourselves and threaten to turn us slowly into what we decry in others.

We Become What We Normalize counsels a creative, slow, and artful response to the economy of reaction, hurry, shaming, and fearmongering. Dark offers a deep analysis of the ways our conceptions of ourselves and our use of technology often lead us away from what we believe, reinforcing the false narrative that we must humiliate others in order to survive. "I suspect we become what we sit still for, what we play along with, and what we abide in our attempts to access more perceived power and more alleged influence," Dark writes. We Become What We Normalize calls for a new kind of struggle, ethic, witness, and spirit that helps us step away from the infinite loop of normalizing harm into effecting true change for ourselves and the worlds we inhabit.


"A carefully considered and curated collection of ideas that push back against the waves of despair that might otherwise overwhelm anyone who is in any way immersed and sinking into a world that increasingly feels overwhelmingly treacherous. This collection of writing is a real generosity, a light flickering in the midst of darkness."

Hanif Abdurraqib, author of A Little Devil in America and They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

"Essential reading right now. Beautiful writing combined with sharp discernment as Dark calls readers to reflect on our all-too-common fear and shame-based reactivity to change. In a rapidly shifting world Dark models for us all what it looks like to face our own demons with grace and rigor."

Lisa Sharon Harper, president and founder of Freedom Road, and author of the critically acclaimed The Very Good Gospel and Fortune: How Race Broke My Family and the World--and How to Repair It All

A brave, relatable, and disarmingly intimate book, by turns confessional and convicting, anecdotal and aphoristic, and full of the wisdom drawn from an unconventional canon that Dark has constructed to inform his work--one that has room for figures as diverse as Patti Smith, Octavia Butler, William Blake, LeBron James, Fred Rogers, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others." 

Chrissy Stroop, senior correspondent, Religion Dispatches, and columnist, openDemocracy

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506481685
  • eBook ISBN 9781506481692
  • Dimensions 5.25 x 8.25
  • Pages 210
  • Publication Date November 14, 2023