Shakil Choudhury (Part 2) Deep Diversity: Integrating Psychological, Scientific & Spiritual Contributions for Healing Injustice and Inequity
Deep Transformation
Thu, August 10, 2023
Podchat Summary

Episode Description: Challenging Biases and Pursuing Racial Equity

Welcome to another thought-provoking episode of our podcast! In this episode, we kick things off with a special request to our listeners - we ask for your support in spreading our message by writing reviews of the podcast. Your reviews can help us reach and impact more people, so we greatly appreciate your help!

Our guest for this episode is the insightful Shaquille Choudhury. Together, we delve into the fascinating topic of biases and how they are ingrained in us. Shaquille explains the concept of biases being both hardwired and softwired, and how we often normalize and rationalize the injustices present in our society.

We then explore the intersection of classism and racism, uncovering how biases can affect job opportunities and social mobility. One key concept that emerges from our conversation is cultural hegemony - the idea that the dominant group exerts its power and control through a culture-wide hypnosis.

Throughout the episode, we emphasize the importance of recognizing and challenging biases. We propose the idea of turning diversity into a literacy project, where we actively educate ourselves and others to create a more inclusive society.

Shaquille shares a powerful story about an organization that has made significant progress in addressing racial equity. By taking intentional steps and developing a deeper understanding of the patterns at play, this organization has made a positive impact in their community.

As we wrap up the episode, we discuss the significance of building relationships and fostering a sense of beloved community in the pursuit of racial justice and equity. Join us as we explore these important topics and strive to create a more inclusive and equitable world.

Original Show Notes

Ep. 90 (Part 2 of 2) | Award-winning educator and activist Shakil Choudhury is the author of the outstanding book Deep Diversity: A Compassionate, Scientific Approach to Achieving Racial Justice, and in this potent conversation we learn a lot we perhaps didn’t know about the psychological, emotional, and neurobiological reasons for our ingrained biases, and the systemic bias in the culture at large. How and why do we discriminate? Many of our biases are hidden in the unconscious, which makes it that much harder to bring them into the light so we can begin to understand what’s going on and find ways to move ourselves and society toward justice and equity. Shakil explains that changing societal norms is at the heart of the battle for racial and social justice, as our habitual cultural behaviors tend to be viewed as legitimate, normal, and natural, when actually they may be outdated, off base, offensive, and unjust. Shakil deftly lines us out with specific steps we can take to recognize and change our own behaviors, as well as actions organizational leaders can take to effect change on a broader level.

Shakil contends that educating people to become diversity and equity literate is the first essential step, and the 360-hour program he has designed to this end has proven very effective. Once people see the data, they cannot help understanding the drivers of racial and social injustice more clearly, which leads to the place where real transformation can happen. Shakil’s extraordinarily insightful and illuminating approach is fueled by many years of contemplative practice, and he leaves us with a vision of what we are fighting for—not just what we are fighting against—based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of Beloved Community. Small groups of dedicated people have managed to successfully nudge societal norms in the direction of justice in the past, and this conversation and Shakil’s book, Deep Diversity, most certainly contribute a compassionate nudge in the right direction. Bit by bit, recognizing that this is a journey, Shakil conveys both the means and the hope that justice will prevail. Recorded April 26, 2023.

“Can we hold the tension between our common humanity and our differences simultaneously?”

(For Apple Podcast users, click here to view the complete show notes on the episode page.)

Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • How classism and racism come together, and the importance of asking the right questions about the variables that affect equality and diversity in our culture (01:43)
  • Culture wide hypnosis and cultural hegemony (05:03)
  • Where are we now as a species? We have made progress…but this doesn’t mean people are happy about the changes (07:03)
  • System justification theory: we justify the system no matter what because we’re herd people (08:29)
  • Changing the norms of society is the whole battle: small groups on the right side of justice can create a culture change (09:20)
  • People coming together for shared purpose is deeply meaningful; contact activates empathy (11:17)
  • The more we can see this as a literacy project, the more clearly we’re able to see the problems, the behavioral patterns (15:10)
  • The data does not validate the fear that is being expressed about women and people of color getting preferential treatment (19:24)
  • The empathy response to people who are like us and the threat response with people unlike us are biological responses...
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