“Shakil is a rare jewel in the work of what it means to heal, repair, and take responsibility...This book is required reading for anyone interested in building a loving, just and diverse world.”
—Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, Zen teacher & author of Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up
Racial justice without shame or blame.
Road-tested tools to start making a difference today.
In Deep Diversity, award-winning racial justice educator Shakil Choudhury explores the emotionally loaded topic of racism using a compassionate, scientific approach that everyone can understand—whether you are Black, Indigenous, a person of color (BIPOC), or white.
With clear language and engaging stories that will appeal to readers of Brené Brown and Malcom Gladwell, Choudhury explains how and why well-intentioned people can perpetuate systems of oppression, often unconsciously. Using a trauma-informed approach that removes shame or blame, he offers us the tools to recognize, take authentic responsibility, and enact deep change. In easy-to-absorb chapters, Choudhury interweaves research into the brain and studies on human behavior with hard-won lessons from his career of helping organizations and CEOs create more inclusive environments. He models vulnerability and mistake-making, sharing examples of his own bias-missteps so readers are encouraged into their own racial justice journey without judgment.
Readers will come away from the book with practical tools and an understanding of:
- How to becomes a systems thinker by developing “racial pattern recognition” skills in order to challenge racism and other forms of systemic discrimination when we encounter them, while minimizing the tendency to shame or blame ourselves or others.
- How to recognize when the unconscious influence of bias, identity, emotions, or power contradict our beliefs about equality, and how to realign our thoughts/words/actions.
- How to break the racial “prejudice habits” we have all been socialized into since birth, using research-based strategies.
- How the rise in authoritarianism and income inequality (among other factors) contribute to a rise in hate crimes and racial discrimination, and what to do about it.
Traditional approaches to anti-racism overly rely on analyzing history to explain systemic discrimination, which only tells us a part of the story. What’s missing, Choudhury argues, is to understand why humans do what we do, the evolutionary impulses underlying our group-ish nature and our struggles with power, bias, and social dominance. This is why psychology and neuroscience perspectives are critical to integrate into anti-racist work, as is practicing compassion for ourselves and for others. Deep Diversity is a unique, evidence-based approach to racial justice that seeks to overcome feelings of shame that so often block our progress and prevent deep change at individual and systemic levels.
Deep Diversity meets you where you’re at, regardless of your identity, class, ability, or belief system, and invites you to come along on a journey of self-discovery, social awareness, and lifelong learning.
It’s only just begun.
“Choudhury draws on heart-touching stories, research on the brain, and hard-won lessons from real-world interventions to offer useful strategies to know ourselves, and others better.”—New York Times-bestselling author of Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson
About the author
Shakil Choudhury is an award-winning educator and consultant with twenty years experience working with thousands of leaders across four continents on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is co-founder of Anima Leadership and lives in Toronto, where his children are teaching him about fatherhood.
“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have never been so fraught and complex. And understanding them has never been more urgent and necessary. Shakil takes you by the hand and gently but firmly gives you strategies and skills to deal with systematic racism. His honesty and personal stories break down the issues and provide practical solutions, and most importantly, hope. If you can only read one book on this subject, read this one.”
—Zarqa Nawaz, creator of the TV series Little Mosque on the Prairie and author of Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
“In Deep Diversity, Shakil reminds us that compassion and love allow us to sidestep the need for shaming and blaming—approaches that so often undermine our message. Urgently insightful.”
—Drs. Bryan Nichols and Medria Connolly, Clinical Psychologists and Advocates for Reparations To Descendants of American Slavery
“Racism continues to be a defining issue in our lives. Deep Diversity is a call to action that encourages us to look deeply at our patterns. If we uncover what we half-consciously feel and what influences our feelings, can we change our bias? Shakil Choudhury says we can and shows us how through this thoughtful, relevant offering.”
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change
“This new edition of Deep Diversity illuminates with striking clarity the roots and expressions of racism and cultural divides. It provides a panoramic view of our social landscape and a deep dive into issues of implicit bias, personal and systemic power dynamics, and the potential for healing and racial justice. Shakil Choudhury's insight and compassion provide a welcoming framework for engaging with one of the most important challenges of our times.”
—Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
“A breakthrough book about how to achieve the kind of racial equity that goes far beyond traditional notions of ‘diversity’… Everyone working on race issues should read this book.”
—Rinku Sen, Former Executive Director, Race Forward and Publisher, Colorlines (New York, NY)
“Hands-down the most useful, accessible book I have read on strategies for achieving deep, enduring racial equity… should be required reading for every 21st Century leader.”
—Suzanne Hawkes, Convergence Strategies
“Gripping, fast-paced, and immediately practical. Drawing on heart-touching stories, research on the brain, and hard-won lessons from real-world interventions … Shakil Choudhury helps us know ourselves better by knowing others better––for our own sake, and for the sake of our fragile shared world.”
—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
“An important analysis to help us achieve the genuine reconciliation that we must achieve between Canadians and Indigenous peoples in order to move forward.”
—Arthur Manuel, Neskonlith, Secwepemc Nation, co-author of Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call
“We’ve been caught in an anti-oppression Ground Hog Day where we keep repeating Racism, Oppression and Privilege 101. In Deep Diversity, Shakil Choudhury helps us peel back the layers of systemic discrimination to have a more nuanced discussion and rethink strategies to eliminate racism.”
“In these wrenching and heartbreaking times, Deep Diversity generously provides tools, reflections, and a path forward. The historical Buddha taught "hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is the world healed.” Shakil is a rare jewel in the work of what it means to heal, repair, and take responsibility. I am so grateful to Shakil for sharing his wisdom, tenderness, and compassion. This book is required reading for anyone interested in building a loving, just and diverse world.”
—Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison, Zen teacher & author of Wholehearted: Slow Down, Help Out, Wake Up
“As a pastor in one of the most diverse cities in the world, I am deeply committed to learning how to better love those around me. Deep Diversity is a valuable secular resource for those of us in the faith-based community as we strive to love and relate to those around us.”
—Darnell Wilson, Equipping Pastor at Discovery Pointe Church
“A valuable read for leaders looking to better understand how to successfully lead today’s increasingly diverse workplace environments. Choudhury helps us to understand what’s behind our inherent biases and beliefs about those different from us, and what we can do to overcome them in order to create a more inclusive workplace environment and worldview.”
—Tanveer Naseer, MSc., author of Leadership Vertigo
“Deep Diversity is demystifying, moving and resourceful for the seasoned social justice educator as well as for any person interested in moving beyond a tolerance based approach towards racial justice.”
—Geraldine Paredes Vasquez, Co-Founder of WHY Bolivia and Co-Chair International Affiliation Group, Latin America – Association for Experiential Education
“It was a pleasure to read Deep Diversity! Shakil’s book is thoughtful, insightful and informative. It does a beautiful job of weaving critical frameworks, theories, neuroscience, and mindfulness together to teach readers about inclusion.”
—Ritu Bhasin (LL.B. MBA), People Strategist & Diversity Specialist
“Deep Diversity is a breakthrough book taking a giant step towards overcoming pervasive racism in our society. Combining in-depth research and analysis with moving personal stories, Choudhury gives us a simple step-by-step approach to overcome centuries of racial hierarchy by understanding each of us is part of the problem and part of the solution.”
— Judy Rebick, writer, journalist, activist, author of Occupy This! and Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution
“Shakil Choudhury offers a genuinely new and fresh understanding of how we see and so often do not see each other. He offers practical tools for insight and learning in transforming from an “Us versus Them” mentality to a mindset that honours and grows our deep diversity. Meticulously researched and beautifully written in an inviting narrative style, this is a must-read for anyone concerned with race, difference, and diversity.”
— James Orbinski, Head of Mission for Doctors Without Borders during Rwandan genocide, author of An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century
“While reading this wonderful book, I felt alternately humbled, deeply moved, in admiration, grateful, impatient, and profoundly hopeful – sometimes all at once… Shakil’s willingness to hold his mistakes up for scrutiny and insight invited me to do the same. He matter-of-factly insists that each of us, no matter what body we’re in, has a responsibility to heal the racism in ourselves and in the world around us. It’s infectious because the book doesn’t stop there. Written into every chapter are specific skills we can practice as citizens of the world wanting to live in connection with our neighbours.”
— Barb Thomas, social justice facilitator, writer, and activist, co-author of Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations