The Way of ColorInsight: Understanding Race and Law Effectively Through Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practices
Georgetown Law Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives, January 2016
52 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2015 Last revised: 17 Oct 2015
Date Written: June 1, 2015
Most of us know that, despite the counsel of the current Supreme Court, colorblindness is not, by itself, an effective remedy against racism. This is so because it does not comport with our cognitive (or social) experience of the real world. Thus, legal scholars, backed by cognitive scientists, have called for a move from colorblindness to color insight -- defined as an understanding of race and its pervasive operation in our lives and in the law. This Article is the first to explore the role of research-grounded mindfulness-based contemplative practices in enhancing what may be called ColorInsight, and to suggest specific practices, ColorInsight Practices, that assist in its development not only of personal capacity to deal more effectively with race, but, more importantly, of the tools necessary for effective collaborative social change in the 21st century.
The Article (1) furthers efforts to push beyond the important but limited cognitive-based understanding of racism and discrimination, focusing not only on emotional but relational and systemic aspects of the dynamics of race and racism; (2) mines a rich body of research on mindfulness as a means of supporting cross-racial interactions and systemic change that has gone unnoticed in the legal domain, and uncovers the ways that the law school classrooms and other organized spaces currently tend to keep emotional-awareness and interactional-awareness out of legal education practice and discourse, and fail to create space for developing positive racial interactions and skill-building in the classroom; and (3) offers more than two dozen specific, original or adapted practices for individual, interpersonal and systemic support in opening up space for conversation, learning, and development of positive interactions across race-based and other identity differences.
Although the Article focuses on race in the context of the law school classroom, it implicitly suggests ways of expanding capacity to discuss racial issues wherever they arise. Further, it raises issues and questions for antidiscrimination and equality theory and practice more broadly. I look forward to your feedback.
Keywords: colorblindness, race, racism, discrimination, cognitive science, mindfulness, contemplative, ColorInsight, classroom, law school, legal education
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