A few days ago we announced that we were excited to be offering our Mindfulness for Life program at Pierce County libraries all summer. I attached an article on meditation in schools to the announcement on Facebook. The article had several problematic statements including:
“This research suggests that meditation may help to close the “achievement gap” between inner-city students and their suburban counterparts. It is said the gap exists for many reasons, with one being the sheer amount of stress that underserved students face on a daily basis. There are also factors such as poverty, absent or distracted parental input, actual physical dangers, and fear that can play huge parts in a child’s ability to focus in a school environment. These kinds of chronic stressors can actually affect children’s ability to learn, and cause damage to their brains.”
It was made clear to me that statements such as this suggest that parents and communities of color are to blame for the achievement gap while ignoring the systemic white supremacy and institutional racism that have created and continue to contribute to these conditions. The fact that this article came from a yoga industry website also highlights the ways in which the yoga industry continues to participate in and reinforce structures of oppression.
This is completely dissonant with our values here at SKY and our commitment to being an anti-racist anti-oppression organization. I did not read the article as carefully or critically as I should have and my carelessness is inexcusable. (I should have shared something like this with you, which lays out the research that has been done on mindfulness in education.)
Here at SKY we are committed to creating a culture of giving and receiving feedback and holding each other to account in love and integrity. It was a beloved student who pointed out to me the problems with the article I had posted and I am so very grateful to be in community where this type of exchange can happen. I am also appreciative for the opportunity to take responsibility and acknowledge the impact.