Mindfulness and Racial Bias: Resources For Deeper Understanding


In early December 2015, Mind & Life was honored to host a live chat with MLI Fellow and Law Professor Rhonda Magee that explored the following theme:

Many who examine the growth of the field of contemplative practice see it as coming only from straight, middle-class whites and corporate America. How might we work to shift that perception and to broaden the reach of our work? What practices can assist us in deepening our understanding of these criticisms and lessen “mindful bypassing?”  

The hour-long chat included periods of meditation and a lively question and answer section. One question that was asked during the chat concerned insights about how to approach the topics of mindfulness in minority communities. From Rhonda’s response, which can be watched here:

“From my perspective, we are engaged in a kind of a deep effort to find ways of reaching everyone and to find ways of bringing these supportive practices to bear wherever they might be useful…and that work looks differently in different places.”

Rhonda suggested a number of resources such as this study, “Mindfulness equity and Western Buddhism: reaching people of low socioeconomic status and people of color” by Harrison Blum.

Additional resources by Rhonda include:

The Way of ColorInsight: Understanding Race and Law Effectively Through Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practices, to be published in Spring 2016 by the Georgetown Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives.

Teaching Mindfulness with Mindfulness of Diversity for a forthcoming book Resources for Teaching Mindfulness: A Cross-Cultural and International Handbook, eds. Don McCown and Diane Riebel.

How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias published by the Greater Good Science Center. 



About Rhonda Magee J.D.

Rhonda V. Magee (J.D./M.A. Sociology (University of Virginia)) is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, School of Law, and a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. A full-time member at the Jesuit University of San Francisco since 1998, and a Full Professor since 2004, she has been named Dean’s Circle Research Scholar and has served as Co-Director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. She teaches Torts, Race, Law and Policy, and courses in Contemplative and Mindful Law and Law Practice.

She is a trained and practiced facilitator with an emphasis on mindful communication, having completed facilitator training through programs at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine’s Oasis Teacher Training Institute, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Facilitator Training Program. In April 2015, she was named a Fellow of the Mind & Life Institute. Professor Magee recently served as Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and as a Senior Fellow with the Berkeley Initiative for Mindfulness and law. She has published in such scholarly journals as the Virginia Law Review and the Alabama Law Review; and in the media (including the San Francisco Chronicle and Mindful Magazine).

Her writing and teaching is inspired by a commitment to education for effective problem-solving and presence-based leadership in a diverse and ever-changing world, and to humanizing legal education. Professor Magee is the author of numerous articles on mindfulness in legal education, including Educating Lawyers to Meditate? 79 UMKC L. Rev. 535 (Lead Article, 2011), and The Way of ColorInsight: Understanding Race and Law Effectively Using Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practices, Georgetown J. of Mod. Crit. Race Perspectives (forthcoming, 2016).

She is a nationally-recognized thought and practice leader in the emerging fields of contemplative legal education and law practice, and contemplative teaching in higher education. She was a founding member of the Executive Board of the AALS’s Section on Balance in Legal Education, is a founding member of its subsection on Mindfulness in Legal Education, and presently serves as a member of the Board of Advisors to the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine’s Center for Mindfulness. Her current research and writings examine mindfulness and contemplative pedagogy as means of teaching for effectiveness in diverse learning communities; of developing more just law and policy; and of enhancing collaborations for transformative change towards a more equitable world.

For more information on her recent scholarship, see https://usfca.academia.edu/RhondaMagee. Follow Rhonda on Twitter

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