Mindfulness in Western Contexts Perpetuates Oppressive Realities for Minority Cultures

The Consequences of Cultural Appropriation

  • Maria Ishikawa Simon Fraser University
Keywords: cultural appropration, mindfulness, Buddhist, scientific-rationalism, oppression, individualism

Abstract

This paper examines mindfulness-based practices in North American classrooms as culturally appropriated through the dominantly western modality of individualism and scientific-rationalism. Through investigating MindUP™ and other mindfulness teaching resources, I demonstrate the construed qualities of mindfulness practices in western contexts.  I argue that mindfulness is molded to fit colonial ontologies of values and knowledge and perpetuates oppressive realities for minority cultures. I propose that mindfulness should be reoriented into its Buddhist contexts through required lessons and trainings in Buddhist cultures, ontologies, and knowledges, and creators and supporters of mindfulness-based educational programs should refer to the practices they are promoting as attention-focusing and stress-reduction strategies and not as misconstrued, individualistic qualities of mindfulness. This paper intends to extend awareness to the broader sociopolitical consequences of culturally appropriating mindfulness practices.

Published
2018-12-13
How to Cite
Ishikawa, M. (2018). Mindfulness in Western Contexts Perpetuates Oppressive Realities for Minority Cultures. SFU Educational Review, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.21810/sfuer.v11i1.757
Section
Articles