Wise Action – undoing racism

United States

EBMC shrine 1
Shrine at East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland CA

2020-07-09 Robin DiAngelo and Resmaa Menakem In Conversation

On Being with Krista Tippett

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.

2020-06-04 Resmaa Menakem ‘Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence’

On Being with Krista Tippett

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

Dan Harris in conversation with Lama Rod Owens

“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)

Dan Harris in conversation with Sebene Selassie

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, clearseeing, 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.

Roots Deeper than Whiteness

By David Dean

“… those of us who are socially classified as white have roots deeper than “whiteness.” We are people – or, more accurately, peoples – whose identity and cultural center has been manipulated to serve a very specific function within capitalism. When we understand this story, we can more easily divest ourselves of the dysfunctional role we have been groomed to play, and join with people of color in the creation of a life sustaining society.

Deep Diversity, Overcoming Us vs. Them by Shakil Choudhury 2015

Deep Diversity is … a culmination of 25 years of teaching and learning from thousands of people across 4 continents, one emotional burnout in my early 30s and a childhood in small town Canada pretending I was white.  In trying to reconcile my place in the world—who I was personally and what I did professionally—led me to explore and integrate a variety of perspectives into my work including psychology, neuroscience, bias research, social justice as well as mindfulness meditation. … Using a compassionate but challenging approach, this book helps identify the racial blindspots we all possess and offers practical solutions about how to break the ‘prejudice habits’ we’ve learned in order to tackle systemic discrimination.”

Part 1. The Hole in Racial Justice: A Love Letter by Shakil Choudhury

… current strategies in racial and social justice education are hyper-cognitive, overly ideological and incredibly linear.  And what I’m proposing is that psychological literacy—defined broadly as learning that supports deep self-reflection, self-regulation and compassion—is a key part of what is missing and could strengthen our work.  This underdevelopment is also linked to a wide variety of issues we struggle with ranging from the resistance we face from learners in classrooms to toxicity within progressive movements broadly, not to mention the increased polarization in society.

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!


The impact of Racism and Discrimination on the Mental Health of our Black – a resource guide

“Racism is a public health crisis,” according to a May 2020 statement from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). This means that racism — whether unintentional, unconsciously, or concealed — has affected Black Americans’ access to equal and “culturally competent” health care.
This resource guide aims to help start a conversation about how racism affects the African American community’s mental health. And help to reduce the shame and stigma sometimes associated with mental illness and mental health treatment.

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


What is racial invisibility, and how do white people benefit from it?

When white Australians became ‘just Australians’, they could keep the land and power without being reminded of how they were attained.
By Luke Pearson for IndigenousX

Silence is violence. Complacency is complicity


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

Survey reveals Māori grief and anger at daily experiences of racism

New research released today shows that 93% of Māori in Aotearoa experience racism every day, and even more – 96% – say racism is a problem for their whānau.

Koia te aroha: Ngā pāpā Māori

Just love: Māori dads

For hundreds of years, Māori men have been gentle, kind and involved fathers. They have wiped away tears and sung to their babies, as little hands cling to their necks. How and why have these stories been lost?

A beautiful and moving series of portraits of Maori fathers by Michelle Duff and Warwick Smith

Bart van Melik

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