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Cultivating the Seeds of Racial Awareness

by Eugene Ellis (2022)

What the construct of racial difference imposes on us is demanding and complex. Exploring themes from his most recent book, The Race Conversation: An Essential Guide to Life Changing Dialogue, Eugene explores the various factors in our conditioning around race while acknowledging the damage and distress caused by racism itself. Seeing that racism lives not just in our minds, but principally in the body, he suggests it is this pain and trauma that can erupt when we try to enter into any race conversation, in which things can soon become heated as communication begins to break down.

As well as helping us to develop a cognitive understanding of the race construct through exploring its history and development, Eugene is keen to stress the importance of ‘tending to the hurt’ in all of our work around race. He argues that terminologies and concepts often get in the way of this, emphasising instead the importance of resourcing ourselves, of body awareness, of mindfulness, and of healing.

Eugene Ellis is the Director and founder of the Black, African and Asian Therapy Network, the UK's largest independent organisation to specialise in working therapeutically with Black, Africa, Caribbean and South Asian people. He is also a psychotherapist with a special interest in body-orientated therapies and facilitating a dialogue around race and mental wellbeing through articles, podcasts and blog posts as well as within organisations and psychotherapy trainings.

This talk is part of the series Seeds of the Heart: Talks from the Dharma Parlour at Buddhafield 2022.