Mindfulness and the Problem of Whiteness (Entry I)


I have been involved in mindfulness communities for my entire adult life - 22 years and counting. I've lived in monasteries, spent many months in retreat, served on boards and committees. These days I even teach in both Buddhist and secular contexts.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to see how white we are.

It took me even longer to wonder just why exactly that's the case.

But at some point I did begin to wonder. And not long after, I began the process of writing a dissertation on the topic. 

In that guise, I interviewed 11 people of color about their experiences of racialized inclusion and exclusion in a primarily white meditation community in an urban center on the East Coast of the U.S. 

I then analyzed the data with my friend, James Meadows, a black man with a great deal of experience in meditation communities. James served as a welcome correction to my biases as a white man with a great deal of experience in meditation communities.

Here's What We found:

  1. Interpersonal Barriers to Full Participation
  2. Institutional Barriers to Full Participation
  3. Strategies for Coping with Racialized Exclusion
  4. Range of POC Experiences
  5. Failures of Leadership Support for People of Color
  6. Promoting Equity and Inclusion

For the sake of brevity, I won't unpack every one of these themes in this single blog post. Instead, please select from the above list for more detail on each them. Click here for some closing thoughts. Meanwhile, to read about a mindfulness community that's doing inclusion and equity really well, click here.

For information about upcoming mindfulness workshops with Craig & Devon, please click here.

Craig Hase