“The show we released with Minneapolis trauma specialist Resmaa Menakem in the weeks after George Floyd’s killing has touched listeners, and galvanized searching, with an extraordinary reach. So I said yes when he proposed that he join me in conversation again, this time together with Robin DiAngelo. She is perhaps the foremost voice in our civilizational grappling with whiteness; her book, White Fragility, is one of the most widely read books in the world right now. Hearing the two of them together is electric — the deepest of dives into the calling of our lifetimes.“
Resmaa Menakem is a therapist and trauma specialist who activates the wisdom of elders and a very new science, about how all of us carry the history and traumas behind everything we collapse into the word “race” in our bodies. He helps explain why vulnerabilities and inequities laid bare by the pandemic have fallen hardest on Black bodies. He illuminates why all of the best laws and diversity training have not gotten us anywhere near healing.
2020-06-03 An Uncomfortable (But Meaningful) Conversation About Race
“Many of us come to meditation for comfort. But, especially for white people, right now is a time to embrace our discomfort. Lama Rod Owens encourages me to step way out of my comfort zone in this conversation, and I am grateful to him for it. Owens is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, Love and Rage. As it says in the bio on his website, his story sits at the “cross sections” of so many aspects of American life “as a Black, queer male, born and raised in the South.” He was officially recognized by the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism after he completed a three-year silent retreat, during which time he says he dealt with years of past pain and trauma. As you will hear him say in this interview, he “worked his butt off to feel ok.” After retreat, he completed a Master of Divinity at Harvard.”
2020-06-01 “You Can’t Meditate This Away” (Race, Rage, and the Responsibilities of Meditators)
There is fury in America’s streets — and we, as meditators, have the opportunity to use our practice to do the hard work of seeing things clearly (including the ugliness in our own minds), and responding wisely. I’m incredibly grateful to my guest, meditation teacher Sebene Selassie, for agreeing to come on this show on short notice (like, two hours beforehand) to discuss such a painful subject. This episode is in response to the protests that have broken out nationwide in the wake of the case of George Floyd, a black man who died after nearly nine minutes with his neck under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. Our conversation is personal and raw. Most of all, we hope it is useful.
Love Everyone: A Guide for Spiritual Activists
by Sharon Salzberg and Rev. angel Kyodo williams
… love is what I’ve focused on, because in social justice work the only option is loving everyone. Otherwise, there is no path to real change. Whether we’re leaning toward the spiritual community or the activist community, what we need is the combination of a mind that wants to change the world and a mind that is steady, clear–seeing, and seeks change from a place of love, rather than from a place of anger.
Lion’s Roar magazine 18 August 2017
Harvard implicit bias test
Project Implicit is a long-term research project based at Harvard University that aims to measure people’s preferences for certain social groups over others.
You can take tests in relation to race, gender, body size and so on here:
Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin Di Angelo
Dr. Robin DiAngelo is the author of What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy. She is an anti-racist educator, and has heard justifications of racism by white men and women in her workshops for over two decades.
This justification, which she calls “white fragility,” is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation.
Deep Diversity, Overcoming Us vs. Them
by Shakil Choudhury 2015
Chapter 5 Power: The Dividing Force
“Social hierarchies exist in all nations, creating inequality and serving as the source of most forms of intergroup conflict.
… social dominance theory states that a dominant group exists in each society. The group receives privilege based on a relatively arbitrary value such as race, ethnicity, clan or caste due to historical, economic and political reasons specific to that context. There is no innate or natural reason for such dominance to occur – no one social group is more capable or deserving than another. …
Usually a group at the top of the power pyramid is granted automatic privilege – unearned higher status based on their group identity. All other groups – usually defined by a ‘minority’ status – exist in a hierarchical order below and experience a greater or lesser degree of marginalization.
… [researchers have found] a variety of ways in which hierarchies are supported in our society, including the following:
- individual acts of discrimination
- institutional discrimination
- psychological distortions
- self-destructive behaviours
- cultural myths”
White Awake: Waking ourselves for the benefit of all
Life is a beautiful thing. It should be enjoyed, protected, and nurtured. Unfortunately, we find ourselves living through a time when the cultivation of beauty and peace is thwarted by greed and delusion. Oppressive forces are emboldened, and already marginalized communities are facing increased attack. Standing up to these forces, dismantling an exploitative system, and building a life sustaining society will take millions of people, from all walks of life, organizing ourselves and acting in concrete, powerful ways. In this context, popular education helps masses of people build a common frame of reference and engage in spiritual, emotional, and cultural transformation such that we do not replicate the harmful systems we aim to replace.
Insight Meditation Society diversity resources
Recommended reading, talks, films, and websites
Short interviews with IMS teachers speaking about their relationship to diversity work
Undoing Racism: The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB) focuses on understanding what racism is, where it comes from, how it functions, why it persists and how it can be undone.
Our workshops utilize a systemic approach that emphasizes learning from history, developing leadership, maintaining accountability to communities, creating networks, undoing internalized racial oppression and understanding the role of organizational gate keeping as a mechanism for perpetuating racism.
I had the opportunity to attend one of their workshops in NYC a few years ago, and it was incredibly powerful. Highly recommended!
Podcast: Seeing White
A powerful 14-part documentary series exploring whiteness in America—where it came from, what it means, and how it works.
Me And White Supremacy – The Workbook
“Part education, part activation, the Me And White Supremacy Workbook by Laya F. Saad, is a first-of-its-kind personal anti-racism tool for people holding white privilege to begin to examine and dismantle their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.
As an East African, Arab, British, Black, Muslim woman who was born and grew up in the West and lives in the East, Layla has always sat at a unique intersection of identities from which she is able to draw rich and intriguing perspectives. Layla’s work is driven by her powerful desire to become a ‘good ancestor’; to live and work in ways that leave a legacy of healing and liberation for those who will come after she is gone.”
Difference and Harmony: An interview with Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
By Tricycle 8 November 2011
Aboriginal deaths in custody
Australia is a nation of white privilege
The weakness of the Aboriginal Heritage Act
How does a mining company get away with destroying a 46 000 year old Aboriginal heritage site?
New Zealand is their home. But New Zealand hasn’t always been kind to Taffy Muyambo and Maimai Mvundura.
The Auckland mum and her 8-year-old daughter are of African ethnicity and have been subjected to the most vile hate speech, faced hurtful personal insults and been told to “go back where you came from”.
They’ve also experienced the many kindnesses of others — friends and strangers — and they always “choose to see the beauty of the people around us”.