Mindfulness and the Range of POC Experiences (Entry V)

Welcome! You have found your way into the middle of a discussion of the experiences of people of color in primarily white meditation communities. To access the beginning of this thread, click here. Otherwise, please read on.

Range of POC Experiences

Early on in the interview process, I was struck by the sheer range of experiences people of color reported. While most offered a sharp critique of ECMC's racialized tensions, some viewed ECMC as a safe haven. Others explicitly denied that ECMC struggled with racialized dynamics at all.

For instance, one participant of color concluded, “"It's hard for me to believe that a true practitioner could be a racist." When asked what it was like for her to be a woman of color at the flagship community that she attends several times a month, another participant stated that she felt very supported there:

I feel like I’m like everyone else. I don’t feel any different . . . It’s a wonderful environment where you feel loved, you know, it’s like we’re happy to see each other.  I just enjoy it; I absolutely enjoy it.

Compare this to one participant’s critique that ECMC is “absolutely enacting white supremacy.” Or the reports from a number of participants that they routinely navigate microaggressions and other forms of subtle exclusionary practices when they attend primarily white events at ECMC.

The literature on diversity offers some insight into these dynamics. In fact, studies show there is often as much difference within groups as between groups. And each of the people of color that I interviewed was positioned differently, both in the community and in the larger culture. 

For other themes, click on the links below.

  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 intro (Mindfulness and the Problem of Whiteness) click here. Click here for some closing thoughts.

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

Craig Hase