Sánchez-Flores, M. J. (2017). Mindfulness and complex identities in equity training: A pilot study. In European Review of Applied Sociology, 10(14), 20-33. Retrieve from https://doi.org/10.1515/eras-2017-0002
Equity (diversity, anti-oppression) training refers to teaching self-awareness of social location, privilege/disadvantage that mainstream culture perpetuates, and working self-reflectively for equity in everyday interactions amid diversity. This paper investigates the efficacy of equity training on the basis of mindfulness, compassion, and an intersectional/complex identity. Mindfulness refers to a vivid awareness of the present moment, of one’s own embodiment, thoughts, and emotions, fostering self-awareness and compassion. A complex conception of identity in an intersectional approach recognizes that people hold multiple statuses and I propose that this helps them self-identify with both privilege and disadvantage beyond dichotomic notions, finger pointing, and angry reactions. I first discuss the relevant theory of intersectionality and compassion, and consider the significance of this kind of approach to equity training. I then report the outcome of my pilot study that compares the impressions of two small groups of trainees in different equity workshops who were interviewed: The target group attended a workshop based on mindfulness exercises within an intersectional framework, and the comparison group attended a workshop not based on mindfulness, but that included information about privilege, disadvantage, and compassion. The findings point to an enhanced and emotionally involved self-awareness in respondents that participated in the target group workshop, based on mindfulness and empathy enhancing exercises.
Choudhury, S. (2015). Deep diversity: Overcoming us vs. them. Toronto: Between the Lines.
What if our interactions with those different from us are strongly influenced by things happening below the radar of awareness, hidden even from ourselves? Deep Diversity explores this question and argues that “us vs. them” is an unfortunate but normal part of the human experience due to reasons of both nature and nurture. To really work through issues of racial difference and foster greater levels of fairness and inclusion, argues Shakil Choudhury, requires an understanding of the human mind—its conscious and unconscious dimensions. Deep Diversity integrates Choudhury’s twenty years of experience with interviews with researchers in social neuroscience, implicit bias, psychology, and mindfulness. Using a compassionate but challenging approach, Choudhury helps readers identify their own bias and offers practical ways to break the “prejudice habits” we have all learned, in order to tackle systemic discrimination.