Mindfulness can be used to increase awareness of subtle insults or assaults that dismiss or degrade based on race or other identities, or what are called microaggressions as well as the role of implicit bias or unconscious prejudice.
Mindfulness is the act of maintaining moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a nurturing and compassionate lens. In addition to awareness, mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them or engaging in a struggle about how we should think or feel.
Rhonda V. Magee (2019) provides the following prompts to facilitate a mindful reflection on race:
Think of a time when you were interacting with someone of another race, a time when the fact of racial difference became apparent to you somehow.
What were some of the thoughts running through your mind?
What notions of race do you recall being a part of this experience?
What sensations arise in your body as you recall this interaction?
What emotions come up for you now?
Taking a step further, we can use mindfulness to further address internalized bias by asking the following questions.
What images, moments, snaps, or snapshots are coming up for you when you think of racial differences and racism?
What feelings are arising in you?
How much of what is coming up seems to echo what you have been taught, or what you have witnessed or inherited from the culture? From your family? From your community?
Notice whatever feelings are present. Allow the feelings that have arisen simply to be, without judgment, without trying to change them. Get in touch with the ways that you are interconnected with everyone in our society.
Lastly, connect with a sense of appreciation for taking the time to reflect on these experiences and your efforts to promote a more supportive and inclusive world for others.
Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Visit us at lindquistpsych.com