Sitting With the Uncomfortable

It has been an exciting week.

First, President Biden signed the “Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”

Sec. 9.  Establishing an Equitable Data Working Group.  Many Federal datasets are not disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, income, veteran status, or other key demographic variables.  This lack of data has cascading effects and impedes efforts to measure and advance equity.  A first step to promoting equity in Government action is to gather the data necessary to inform that effort.

It was humbling to see many on Twitter acknowledge our efforts. My favorite is by Michael Madowitz, Center for American Progress, who tweeted asking if the group could be  called the “Sharpe Commission.”

My first opinion piece for Bloomberg was published yesterday. I have a body of research on the diversity of the economics profession. My National Economic Association Presidential Address stated that Black women were not pursuing undergraduate economics degrees at the same rate as other groups.

My Bloomberg article suggests that Vice President Harris, who studied economics as an undergraduate at Howard University, may inspire women, particularly Black women, to study economics at the undergraduate level. A study conducted with Omari Swinton, Chair of the Economics Department at Howard, found that most students who complete the doctorate in economics also studied economics as undergrads. Therefore, increasing the diversity of the undergraduate degrees conferred in economics has consequences for those who complete the doctorate in economics.

Finally, today we release our WISER Dialogue conversation with journalist and founder of “The News Yogi: Yoga for Journalists,” Leslie Rangel. Leslie says journalists are always reporting breaking news – house fires, homicides, threatening weather, or insurrections. Therefore, journalists must have the tools to deal with the trauma they see and experience. She says journalists have to learn to bend, so they don’t break, and yoga and meditation are healthy alternatives to sulking and alcohol consumption.

Leslie says yoga is a science to help us understand how to sit with the uncomfortable.

The next time you feel uncomfortable, sit in that feeling and take a deep breath. That uncomfortable feeling may mean you are growing, evolving, and maturing into the person this society needs to effect change.

Namaste (I bow to you),