Really appreciate comments from Sara, Davina and others reminding us that this conversation could go much deeper. I was also bothered a bit by the very binary way that gender and sexuality were assumed in the interview and the lack of mention of diverse cultural viewpoints, even though I don't think that was their intention. I do think Dr. Brown is fairly honest about the fact that she is coming from a biased lens - she admits that she only studied women partly selfishly because that was her vantage point. I hope the discussion here helps her take what she has learned forward onto the next level. Although I am caucasian and certain aspects of this gave me that revelatory feeling some commenters have expressed, I also agree with Davina's point that some of it seemed extremely familiar, like "well...duh." Maybe because I married and then divorced a black immigrant from Africa and did what I could to open my mind to his perspective. Maybe because I have good friends who are homosexual. Maybe because I have worked with low-income families of all backgrounds struggling with chemical addiction. Maybe because I've listened to a lot of On Being conversations that I feel touched on some of the same points, albeit not quite as directly or "jarringly."
I really wonder if the research actually came primarily from white people's experiences, or whether it was a diverse collection but Dr. Brown was just so personally affected by the results she found in her own awakening experience that she didn't quite get to the next leap to look at whether cultural differences were relevant as well. When she was describing people who are more whole-hearted it actually made me imagine a middle-aged black woman, who has maybe had a lot of struggles in life (including the daily confrontation of residual racism that Davina describes so well) but also has a great family, has found her own path her definition of success, and lives her life in gratitude.
Anyway, thanks to others here who are more on top of things and eloquent than me, for helping me name what those red flags were I experienced during the interview. It is still a valuable lesson to share, for sure. We are all gradually waking up to a more clear and compassionate reality at different stages and speeds, but if we're going in the same direction it's a good sign, right?
More information about text formats