Review: Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm

Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm Mindful of Race Understanding and Transforming Habits of Harm by Ruth King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So many of us are enmeshed in this discussion of racism that sits at the heart of American culture and sit with so much pain and frustration about how to reconcile it, how do we heal, and how do we move forward. In this context, King's book is a Godsend! She breaks the book into three parts which she frames around the metaphor of diagnosis (of heart problems), heart surgery, and recovery. It's a useful framing device that allows her to help readers to first identify the problem of racism and its effects throughout our lives. In this section, she helps lay a strong foundation for anyone to understand how so many in the US experience racism differently and particularly, why white folks don't see the problem while so many people of color do in a way that is enlightening without putting white people on the defensive. In the second section, she lays out how a meditation practice can help each person come to terms what it means to be part of a race in a racialized world wherein one group has traditionally dominated. She provides various approaches to the meditation practice so that people can find the best approach that will work for them in trying to unpack all the mixed emotions and energy that they consciously or unconsciously put into their racial experiences. Finally, the third part moves from the internal to the external in helping readers cultivate meaningful practices of engaging with others with and across races to address, discuss, and where possible mend the anger, frustration, and pain that racism has caused so many people in the world. In total, King provides such an accessible book and contemplation the topic of race that it provides a bit more hope and substantial guidance on the "what can I do about it?" that many people express as they come up against racism. That all being said, the one caveat that I would give with this book is that it is not a "one and done" kind of book but one that is essentially a toolbox in a book and readers should be prepared to revisit it regularly to inform their mental and spiritual development as they address racism in their own minds and lives.

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