The horrific treatment of Asian-Americans continued this week with the brutal attack of a 65-year-old Filipino woman on a New York City street. In the wake of such attacks comes the analysis of our collective paralysis, and the recognition that the news that makes it to the headlines fails to account for the pervasiveness of anti-Asian and other forms of discrimination in our daily lives. This is a moment that calls for awareness—and action—against discrimination, hate crimes, and racial injustice. It also calls for reflection on the deep historic and psychological roots of racial injustice—and how to respond proactively and effectively against discrimination and in recognition of our shared humanity.
“We cannot escape the story, this harmful story, about racial hierarchies with whiteness at the top. It is in all of us to varying degrees and harmful to all of us, whether or not we realize it,” said clinical psychologist Doris Chang at our March Inspiring Minds event. Doris pointed to the rise in anti-Asian xenophobia and violence over the past year and called on viewers to ask themselves, every moment, “‘are my actions perpetuating racial inequities? Or are they dismantling those inequities?’ In every moment, we have an opportunity to make a choice in our actions.”
The harmful story of white supremacy is America’s oldest story,
but it doesn’t have to be our legacy.
Mindfulness helps us see the racial programming within us. It helps us pause to ask the questions that Doris poses, and to make a choice in our actions. As an expanding community of contemplative practitioners, researchers, and professionals creating positive change in the world, dismantling systemic racism is implicit in our work at the Mind & Life Institute. We acknowledge the painful histories of racism against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the United States. The hate crimes we’ve witnessed over the past year reflect this broader context and today’s rising white nationalism and devaluing of communities of color.
The harmful story of white supremacy is America’s oldest story, but it doesn’t have to be our legacy. We can choose different actions. Mind & Life is committed to the practice of antiracism, seeing every moment as an opportunity to stand for compassion and take action against inequity. We are committed to this practice as a staff and as a pillar in contemplative research. Our staff recently completed Bystander Intervention Training to stop anti-Asian and xenophobic harassment and we recommend these resources to learn more, find trainings, take actions, and donate. We hope you’ll join us.