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The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  234 ratings  ·  33 reviews
An essential mindfulness and compassion-based approach to confront racial injustice and work towards healing

Law professor and mindfulness practitioner Rhonda Magee shows that the work of racial justice begins with ourselves. 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
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Tarcherperigee
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May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
My ambivalence about mindfulness took a dive exactly during her example of taking care of the feelings of a racist instigator (Dan) with equanimity.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A part of my personal canon. Magee incorporates historical context, personal experiences, and mindfulness to create a thorough and much needed modern approach to the exhaustive work of racial justice. Drawing from Dubois, Coates, Diangelo, and the Buddha among others, the author integrates the irreplaceable concept of mindfulness into a highly emotional, nuanced, and challenging field of Racial Justice. Merging mindfulness and the fight for equality and justice with this practical, Magee offers ...more
Briayna Cuffie
This book did not do it for me. It’s a bit better from chapter 18 forward, but that chapter was really the only solid one for me. This is 100% a resource for people that are extremely full of white fragility and need the softest, most pleasant approach to getting them to being actively antiracist.

I‘m not averse to mindfulness activities and concepts, I even use some regularly. However, the mindfulness aspect carries a disproportionate weight in this book. So much so that it essentially comes off
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Magee offers mindfulness as an inner resource and tool to build awareness of and explicitly address racism in this country. Her approach will appeal to those who already have a contemplative practice or are interested in related fields (nonviolent communication, community talking circles, restorative justice, etc.) I can imagine her guiding practice in person and being very impactful in doing so. I would have just liked to see a little more editing in this book as it didn't always flow well and ...more
Jun 25, 2020 added it
Shelves: read-in-2020
Not going to star review this one because I am conflicted. If you are looking for mindful and somatic approaches to unlearning racism, I totally recommend starting with My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem. This book, focused on mindfulness methods for racial justice, felt like a useful addition to other books, and less like a stand-alone place to begin. ...more
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
New age approach

The book offers good insights but is muddled with new age frames that mar its effectiveness. Would have appreciated multiple lenses to interpret racial conflict and healing.
Liz Matheny
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for personal or group strategies and activities that foster authentic reflection and meditation on race, injustice, and action. Really glad I read it and will probably modify some of the activities to use with students in our NAACP YOUTH COUNCIL.

The only thing I’ll criticize is that it felt repetitive at times. It’s over 330 pages and felt like some parts could’ve been cut. However, I still enjoyed it!
Tracey M
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel somewhat conflicted about this book. I really appreciated the meditation practices. They brought important stuff up for me that I needed to process and gave me practical tools for doing so. Some of the writing around the edges of those practices felt repetitive and wordy. I read this with some others as part of an anti-racist reading group and the others gave up part-way through. Reading it for that group and trying to really absorb it also meant that I read really slowly over a period of ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Was intrigued by the title. Mindfulness and racial justice are perhaps two areas that a lot of people may have thought do not have much overlap, but of course that is not true and that is changing. Author Magee takes the reader through her own journey, various exercises and what it means to use mindfulness when it comes to dealing with racism, bias and other forms of bigotry.

I have to say: this was a tough read. Books on mindfulness and meditation often go too far in the realm of being too "New
Jan 31, 2021 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this new (to me) idea of mindfulness. I'm just starting on my mindfulness journey, and I appreciated her guided practices throughout the book. Because of these, and her recommendations to journal, this was not a quick read. It's definitely a book you want to make time for, and really give all your awareness to.

As a white woman who was fed colonial /white-washed history, with the belief that racism was in the past, the 2020 political year was a huge year for my awareness to racia
Erin Dodge
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rhonda V. Magee brings in her personal work as a lawyer and law professor, as well as a mindfulness practitioner who leads bias workshops, to this book about deepening our ability to engage in honest, compassionate, and constructive discussions about race.

I appreciate that she is open about the pitfalls and doubts of such work; she describes her own doubts about her work possibly being used as a cosmetic/PR band-aid for institutions which don’t do real material anti-racist work; and other such t
Michael Rancic
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
perhaps one of the more frustrating aspects of practising mindfulness is seeing how others mischaracterize it and its utility in everyday life. this mischaracterization comes partially because of the commodification of mindfulness practices in corporate workplaces. that school is divorced from the root of mindfulness practice and is nothing more than another kind of bootstrap logic peddled by neolibs. so, unfortunately this is how people come to know mindfulness, thinking that mindfulness invite ...more
Jan Snyder
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read a review on NPR or through the Yoga Journal this winter and ordered the book. Little did I know what would unfold during the summer of 2020. I finally started to read this in July and it has taken nearly a month to get through it - I am so grateful that I stuck with it!!! The text explores racial bias and the author explains the difficult concepts of whiteness and otherness in descriptive terms that the reader can hold onto. She reveals meditations that assist in the grim reality of racis ...more
Ellen Jenkins
May 22, 2021 rated it liked it
I think the premise of the book is awesome. Unfortunately, Rhonda Magee did not really sell it without hard evidence to show how this actually improves communities nor did she offer many practices that I would find useful for guiding my own community. Reading this in congruence with a mindfulness social justice class might be useful, as you'll be able to use those practices to cultivate the philosophies laid out in this book.
I'm just trying to think about the injustices seen in the Gaza strip r
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book kept me reading from the first page. I found myself agreeing with what the author wrote about and teaching me so much! I was also happy to see how the author included ways to practice mindfulness techniques in order to help with the topic discussed. I would very much recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about racial justice or wants to read something new. I am so happy to have picked up this book and hope to read more from this author!
Mar 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been reading this amazing book slowly over the past 6 months or so. There’s so much eye- and heart-opening information in here. So many gentle prompts to examine how racism manifests in our culture, questions and meditations to help build up the tolerance to sit with hard feelings, and so many reminders to practice self-compassion as we learn, make mistakes, and then come back to learning and growing.
Susan Marrier
I too am ambivalent about this one. There are some good insights, and probably helpful for people who are involved in the struggle for social justice. But in the present time of mostly isolation, it's hard to know how to put them into practice. p. 292: "Calmly, clearly, and with love, we do what we can. And then we let go and let be."
Annie Walker
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This was my first book that included meditation, which was difficult for me to adjust to. I think from that standpoint, I would’ve enjoyed it more as an audiobook. However, the stories and conversations Magee shares provided great insight to the viewpoints of many on the issue of racism and injustice and how we can have more productive conversations on the issue. I’m glad I read it!
Apr 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Magee has developed a wonderful tool for people of all walks of life to become more aware of racism and how to combat it using meditation. The meditations in this book are appropriately focuses to BIPOC populations, however, non-BIPOCs can successfully engage in the meditations from a different perspective. It is a great resource for reframing your experiences past, present, and future!
Teresa Hildebrandt
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Jessica! I loved this book. A must read for everyone and especially everyone in the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science community.
It’s one of the best books that touches the heart. I am very grateful.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it
The key word is in the title - WORK. It will take hard work to undo the harms of racial oppression. Rhonda Magee shows us how to do the inner (and outer) work of understanding and compassion. This book should be read slowly with the mindfulness exercises at the end of each chapter practiced.
Kevin Hulburt
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inner work is critical to unpack our own embodied experiences of our bodies and the bodies of others. This book does an excellent job of taking a contemplative approach to social justice. Magee is honest and personal making it an authentic exploration that is both challenging and useful.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
On the face of it this should have been right up my alley - I’m always interested in books on race and books on mindfulness, so combining them? Gold! Unfortunately, I struggled to engage with this one and gave up in the 200s. Just not my cup of tea.
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listed to this amazing book on audio. This is a resource which could be utilized multiple times. I appreciate listening to the author’s guidance and the opportunities she presents for mindfulness exercises. Owning a copy is a “must”.
Ann Viveros
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
excellent book bridging mindfulness and equity
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Lots of reflections and mindfulness exercises to help people work through racism.
Luke McCarnan
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened
Enjoyed this book. Helpful and reflective. Interesting intersection of seemingly different schools, but that really serve one another.
Beverly Marshall-Goodell
I am very hopeful that Meager has the answer. We need to face our own demons and work to eliminate them.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it
I felt inspired and engaged in the early parts of this book, but had a harder time maintaining my focus on it in the latter half.
Jill Reads
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, audio-book
3.5 stars

This is an important topic. It was just very long and it duplicated much of what I've recently read from other racial justice educators.

I recommend buying the book so you can go through the meditation questions over a longer time period. I read the ebook while listening to the audio so I did not do the actual meditation. Another book I have asks similar questions.
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“What if this difficult time, this moment in which we seem more racially and culturally divided than ever, signifies not the beginning of the end but a profound opportunity for a new beginning? What if, through the pain of seeing the way things are, we now have a new chance to get it right? What if this time in which we can all see more clearly than ever how easily we can be divided by appeals to racism is just what we need to help us work for racial healing in ways that we never have before?” 0 likes
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