Between the Lines

Between the Lines

40 years of books without bosses, 1977-2017

Deep Diversity

Overcoming Us vs. Them

By Shakil Choudhury  

Deep Diversity
  • Paperback / softback

What if our interactions with those different from us are strongly influenced by things happening below the radar of awareness, hidden even from ourselves? Deep Diversity explores this question and argues that “us vs. them” is an unfortunate but normal part of the human experience due to reasons of both nature and nurture.

To really work through issues of racial difference and foster greater levels of fairness and inclusion, argues Shakil Choudhury, requires an understanding of the human mind—its conscious and unconscious dimensions. Deep Diversity integrates Choudhury’s twenty years of experience with interviews with researchers in social neuroscience, implicit bias, psychology, and mindfulness. Using a compassionate but challenging approach, Choudhury helps readers identify their own bias and offers practical ways to break the “prejudice habits” we have all learned, in order to tackle systemic discrimination.

  • Paperback / softback, 224 pages
  • ISBN 9781771130257
  • Published September 2015
  • EPUB
  • ISBN 9781771130264
  • Published February 2016


Shakil Choudhury presents a uniquely accessible combination of personal observations and scientific evidence to make a convincing case for Deep Diversity. His words are honest and disarming and the book’s framework is both original and needed. This book will make you think hard and think better about what’s good for you, your organization, and society at large.

– Mahzarin R. Banaji, Harvard University, co-author of Blindspot: Hidden Biases in Good People

This exploration of “us” and “them” is gripping, fast-paced, and immediately practical for businesses, schools, and everyday life. Drawing on heart-touching stories, research on the brain, and hard-won lessons from real-world interventions to offer useful approaches, 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., author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

This book gives instructive strategies for readers to dig deep and to overcome barriers with empathy. Essential reading.

– herizons

Writing in an engaging, conversational tone, Choudhury discusses national and international issues of diversity, backing his observations with scientific evidence and personal experience. The result is a moving, powerful look at how to address issues of both head and heart in engaging in diversity conversations that promise real and lasting change… . Highly recommended

CHOICE magazine

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

Anyone with an open mind and heart will find value in this exploration of racism and systemic discrimination.

– Caroline Blackwell, National Association of Independent Schools

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

Shakil Choudhury has written a breakthrough book about how to achieve the kind of racial equity that goes far beyond traditional notions of “diversity.” In his deep dive, he grapples with the implications of several decades of neuroscience, reflecting on the role of emotion in racial matters, while still grounded in systems, rules, and power. Everyone working on race issues should read this book. Even when you don’t agree, you will be provoked to think harder about the enormity of our challenge, and how to generate the emotional and intellectual fortitude to meet that challenge.

– Rinku Sen, Executive Director, Race Forward, Publisher, Colorlines

Deep Diversity offers 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, author of Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call

Choudhury’s text offers straightforward tools that can help everyone assess their own innate reactions in any situation. More than that, it’s a great read–the book derives its heart from its author, who writes scientifically but very personally, confronting his own discriminatory reactions unflinchingly, as he asks us to do, and effortlessly straddling the line between insightful analysis and compelling narrative.

– Jordan Heath-Rawlings, deputy editor, Sportsnet magazine

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

Deep Diversity is a valuable read for leaders looking to better understand how to successfully lead today’s increasingly diverse workplace environments. By combining research findings with his own personal experiences and insights, Shakil 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., award-winning leadership writer, Inc. 100 leadership speaker, co-author of Leadership Vertigo

As the Associate Director of Canada’s second-largest public school board, it has been my pleasure to work closely with Shakil Choudhury and to encourage the introduction of the principles outlined in Deep Diversity, which have proven effective in our workplace and classroom equity efforts. I commend his work and recommend this book as an essential resource for equity and inclusion educators everywhere.

– Scott Moreash,
Associate Director, Peel District School Board

I sincerely wish this book had been written ten years ago. I saw myself in many of the experiences and struggles described, as I’m sure many of my equity colleagues will. I was in tears twice reading this - it really got to the core of why this work is so difficult, and why it’s so rewarding…Deep Diversity emphasizes the importance of relationships and compassion, principles I have always maintained are keys to equity work…I found this book not only helpful but also hopeful. Miigwetch for sharing this.

– Donna Gerber, Aboriginal Liaison and Recruitment Manager, Niagara College

Well-crafted, easy to read, this book makes complex issues and emotions easier to understand… Whether you are a lawyer, police officer, artist, or community activist, this book will provoke you to think about your own behaviour in ways that can help break down barriers.

– Marie Moliner, Regional Director General, Department of Canadian Heritage, member of the Toronto Police Services Board

In Deep Diversity, Shakil Choudhury helps us peel back the layers of systemic discrimination to have to a more nuanced discussion and rethink strategies to eliminate racism. It is eye-opening, informative, and offers hope by way of upgrades to current approaches to anti-oppression.

– Septembre Anderson, journalist, public intellectual, and cultural analyst

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Four Pillars of Deep Diversity
Chapter 2 Emotions: Understanding Ourselves and Others
Chapter 3 Bias: Prejudice without Awareness
Chapter 4 Tribes: Belonging Drives Human Behaviour
Chapter 5 Power: The Dividing Force
Chapter 6 Power Part 2: This Time It’s Personal
Chapter 7 Deep Diversity: Bringing It All Together


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