In a society where unconscious bias, microaggressions, institutionalized racism, and systemic injustices are so deeply ingrained, healing is an ongoing process. When conflict and division are everyday realities, our instincts tell us to close ranks, to find the safety of our own tribe, and to blame others. This book shows that in order to have the difficult conversations required for working toward racial justice, inner work is essential. Through the practice of embodied mindfulness—paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in an open, nonjudgmental way—we increase our emotional resilience, recognize our own biases, and become less reactive when triggered.
As Sharon Salzberg, New York Times-bestselling author of Real Happiness writes, “Rhonda Magee is a significant new voice I’ve wanted to hear for a long time—a voice both unabashedly powerful and deeply loving in looking at race and racism.” Magee shows that embodied mindfulness calms our fears and helps us to exercise self-compassion. These practices help us to slow down and reflect on microaggressions—to hold them with some objectivity and distance—rather than bury unpleasant experiences so they have a cumulative effect over time. Magee helps us develop the capacity to address the fears and anxieties that would otherwise lead us to re-create patterns of separation and division.
It is only by healing from injustices and dissolving our personal barriers to connection that we develop the ability to view others with compassion and to live in community with people of vastly different backgrounds and viewpoints. Incorporating mindfulness exercises, research, and Magee’s hard-won insights, The Inner Work of Racial Justice offers a road map to a more peaceful world.
Rhonda V. Magee is a professor of law at the University of San Francisco. Also trained in sociology and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), she is a highly practiced facilitator of trauma-sensitive, restorative MBSR interventions for lawyers and law students, and for minimizing the effects of social-identity-based bias. Magee has been a visiting scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society and a visiting professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley.