In this chapter, I provide a critical interpretation of secular mindfulness in schools that situates the phenomenon within the broader context of neoliberalism and the interwoven dynamics of race. In doing so, I argue that secular mindfulness requires an ideology of white conquest that makes invisible the enduring efforts of Asian and Asian American Buddhists in maintaining the legacy of mindfulness practices. Given this foundation, I argue that when secular mindfulness programs are applied in schools, they often unconsciously advance both the neoliberal marketization of public schools and a curriculum predicated on a system of white superiority. Such curricula then discipline students both through neoliberal self-regulation and through a racial conditioning of white superiority as common, and calm, sense. Consequently, in the face of widespread economic and racial inequality, most secular mindfulness in education programs instructs a sense of individual responsibility and uplift, rather than government accountability and structural change.
- Cultural appropriation
- Asian American
Children demonstrated faster reaction times while performing tests such as Dr. Diamond’s “Flanker Fish” trials. The [sic]correlates to heightened self-regulatory ability.
—MindUP™, The Hawn Foundation.
All I can see is Buddhist practice—particularly ‘mindfulness’ and ‘loving-kindness’ ideals—used to placate resistance from marginalized populations.
—Dedunu Sylvia, Turning Wheel.
So, we’ve got to think about, ‘What is education for?’.
—Grace Lee Boggs, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs.
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Hsu, F. (2016). What Is the Sound of One Invisible Hand Clapping? Neoliberalism, the Invisibility of Asian and Asian American Buddhists, and Secular Mindfulness in Education. In: Purser, R., Forbes, D., Burke, A. (eds) Handbook of Mindfulness. Mindfulness in Behavioral Health. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44019-4_24
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