Cathy-Mae KarelseJul 23, 2023
Disrupting White Mindfulness
Race and Racism in the Wellbeing Industry
Manchester University Press 2023
Disrupting White Mindfulness: Race and Racism in the Wellbeing Industry (Manchester UP, 2023) offers a timely commentary on the dominant narratives that shape the mindfulness industry - whiteness, postracialism and neoliberalism. Its positioning as ‘apolitical’ forges institutions that fit comfortably into increasingly divided societies. The race-gender profile of these institutions reveals a White, middle-class profile of decision-makers, educators and staff that is mirrored in its audiences. Mechanisms that recycle the industry’s whiteness include corporatist pedagogies, edicts of authority, disengagement with difference and inappropriate uses of mindfulness that distance People of the Global Majority. A growing emergent movement focused on a justice-infused mindfulness and liberatory wellbeing decolonises mindfulness and de-centres whiteness. Its premise in indigenous, global South, queer knowledges leverages difference to produce multiple solutions focused on liberation. There is room for White Mindfulness to change.
Dr. Cathy-Mae Karelse (she/her) is a scholar-practitioner, changemaker and public speaker on issues of race, difference and belonging. She received a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2019. Cathy-Mae is trained in numerous transformation approaches with 20+ years of experience in deep systems change that addresses the underlying social norms and narratives that keep institutionalised discrimination in place. Her work addresses all landscapes: the inner, outer and in-between. Cathy-Mae is currently the DEI Lead at The Mindfulness Initiative and holds the position of Systems Change Lead at Resilience Capital Ventures. She works on policy and change programmes globally.
Clayton Jarrard is a Research Project Coordinator at the University of Kansas Center for Research, contributing to initiatives at the nexus of research, policy implementation, and community efforts. His scholarly engagement spans the subject areas of Cultural Anthropology, Queer Studies, Disability Studies, Mad Studies, and Religious Studies. Clayton is also a host for the Un/Livable Cultures podcast.