Magazine article Herizons

DEEP DIVERSITY: Overcoming Us vs. Them

Magazine article Herizons

DEEP DIVERSITY: Overcoming Us vs. Them

Article excerpt


Overcoming Us vs. Them


Between the Lines


There's a global climate of neo-liberalism in which the closing of borders and violence against marginalized peoples appears to be becoming more strident.

In Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them, Shakil Choudhury writes,

"We are here because of all those who came before us-because of the trials, tribulations, mistakes and successes of our ancestors. The civil rights movement tore through the poisonous outer bark of racism. As a result, overt forms of discrimination are rejected by the mainstream today." But there is still work to be done.

How, for people of European settler ancestry in North America, can we contribute to meaningful efforts against racism and discrimination? What questions do we need to ask of ourselves? Where do we begin? There's work we can do on ourselves.

Enter Deep Diversity. Early on in the book, the Toronto author describes the taboo and tension that emerges between what is said and what is left unsaid. He writes, "diversity and inclusion are about rectifying a problem. And the problem is not small. It goes beyond groups of people being left out. It includes ugly words (connected to strong emotions) like 'discrimination' and 'racism.'"

The book functions as a manual for personal direct action in confronting racism and discrimination. It gives readers clear strategies and tools for self-awareness in an approach that stresses, in Choudhury's words, emotional literacy and relationship-building in a non-judgmental yet challenging way in place of social change alone. The deep diversity model emphasizes that we must "understand the brain and mind-its conscious and unconscious dimensions." and "[disrupt] and [debug] the us/ them default setting that the human program is predisposed to."

The four pillars of deep diversity are cornerstones: understanding the emotions of ourselves and others; identifying bias or prejudice without awareness; recognizing tribes and that belonging drives human behaviour; and addressing the dividing force of power. …

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