The “S” in PRISM stands for stereotype replacement. Gupta guides us through a few examples, again saying a word and asking us to be mindful of the first association that appears in our minds, and then inviting us to consider alternate examples, adding depth and complexity to our automatic associations. I found the practice to be simple and helpful, something I can easily do on my own when I notice stereotypical associations arising in my own mind, and something I can teach others to do.
Gupta speaks the names of various roles and asks us to note the very first association that appears in our minds. Examples of the roles includes scientist, entrepreneur, yoga teacher, and lawyer. I’m disappointed and a little embarrassed that the first association my mind makes for scientist, entrepreneur, and lawyer are images of white men, and a white woman for yoga teacher.
Gupta introduces us to himself, his interest in anti-bias work, and his PRISM framework. He then invites us to reflect on this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in meditation:
Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.
As I reflected on the parts of that quote, I found myself feeling a longing for my Social Justice Training Institute cohort during the first clause, since that has been my most direct experience of what I think Beloved Community might actually feel like. During the second clause (qualitative change in our hearts) I felt warmth, as I usually do when thinking about inclusion. It was during the the third clause (quantitative change in our lives) that I felt fear. I feared the guilt that arises when I think about my relative material privilege, and I feared having to give up things I enjoy, like bikes, eating out, and traveling.
I’ve begun a course in Insight Timer by Anu Gupta called Breaking Bias with Mindfulness and plan to post short reflections on the lessons here.