There might be a solution to implicit racial bias, argues Rhonda Magee: cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.
We are each reminded almost daily of the way that race intersects with judgment in our daily lives, leading to bad decisions and over-reactions—which in the context of criminal justice can have deadly consequences. As the story of my encounter with the black deliveryman indicates, none of us is immune: Black people may be as conditioned as anyone else by stereotypes and unconscious expectations.
Is there a solution? Research shows that mindfulness practices help us focus, give us greater control over our emotions, and increase our capacity to think clearly and act with purpose. Might mindfulness assist police and other public servants in minimizing the mistaken judgments that lead to such harms? Might they help the rest of us—professors and deliverymen alike—minimize our biases as well?