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Racism, through an Integral development lens 🕶️

3things antiracist integral integral theory jordan myska allen racism relatefulness stayinlove vertical development Jun 20, 2024


This is unfinished, a draft with the intent to start a conversation, stimulate thinking, and point to possibilities beyond black and white thinking, not to define levels or typecast people. There are certainly many more options than the ones I’ve named here, and I’m totally uninformed on the state of the art in this domain—nevertheless, I think this developmental perspective has something to add, and so it’s worth sharing, and using this lens to look at a tricky issue is helpful for understanding and seeing the gifts and limitations of the lens).

Red: Does this benefit me?

Amber: My race is simply better (or worse) than yours. We perpetuate it because that’s good.

Orange: Racism is horrific. We transcend racism by taking personal responsibility to be worldcentric and meritocratic, by looking at things objectively. We perpetuate racism by constantly looking at everything through the racism/antiracism lens and putting programs into place that privilege one group of people over another.

Green: Systemic racism is everywhere (and at the root of many of our social problems); we transcend it by balancing the scales with education and programs to help the victims and stop the perpetrators; we perpetuate it by taking advantage of our privileges, ignoring it, lacking awareness, and doing nothing.

Teal: Systemic racism is real, but it’s mostly an unconscious self-organizing system that’s perpetuated because of ancient, deeply embedded incentives that keep things how they are. We transcend by owning our projection, and working on the self-organizing systems to change things so that racism becomes too risky, and non-racism is the easiest and most desirable choice for each level of development’s values.

Turquoise: We never transcend racism. It’s a construct we enact, consciously or unconsciously, that maintains a particular self-identity that gives us something we want (think Relateful Coaching Training, Immunity to Change, Existential Kink). Knowing it’s a construct we can’t choose its disappearance, but we can choose how we see it in a such a way that it transforms our experience and that of everyone around us. For example; racism is “a beautiful sign post that allows me to see the precipice of my not-seeing… so it’s a gateway to seeing myself as awareness” (Michael Blas from a recent conversation).

All these are frames that enact world-experiences that overlap, and they’re all us; these frames keep us from being in awareness and seeing awareness as the stuff the frames are made of—which is the way out of the self-referential self-refuting trap of this frame into unity of experience...

Note: This doesnt mean everyone who's using the surface language of "systemic racism" or whatever is actually at that level—for example there's a red-green alliance that uses "Green" language because it benefits them directly; there's an amber-green alliance that uses Green language to make their in-group good/better and make others wrong/bad.


With love, Jordan


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