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Mindful : August 2015
and for our families is to be able to notice our unconscious bias,” says Marturano, “to be able to work with people of different experiences— not only to work with, but to embrace different experiences. It’s about opening up to the rich- ness of being a citizen of the world,” she says. “We have to start with the idea that there is one planet and one human race and all the rest is insignificant.” COLOR INSIGHT “Bias cuts off opportunities for people. If we are concerned about justice, we have to be con- cerned about bias,” says Rhonda Magee. For 17 years, she has taught law, including a number of classes about race and the law, at the University of San Francisco. “I am an African-American woman,” says Magee, “and there’s a way in which we never really know how we are being perceived by others in the world. Race-related bias has been a specific challenge to our legal system. And if bias is happening in the criminal area and in law, it’s happening anywhere and every where. I’m excited about the ways mind- fulness practice can minimize bias.” Magee’s own longtime practice of mind- fulness has helped her cope with the bias that affects her, both as a woman and a member of a racial minority. She tells of showing up in casual clothes one Saturday at a car dealership to buy a car, only to be roundly ignored by all the sales people, as well as by the manager; or of walking through a downtown store trailed by security people. “For those of us who are impacted by our race and our gender, these things have a cumulative effect, partly psychological, partly material and economic, she says. “ Yet I am sure if you asked many of these sales people, ‘Do you have a bias against black women?’ they would say, ‘Of course not.’ “I think it is a really hard issue,” Magee admits, “ But I feel heartened that we are talking about this more and people’s awareness is being raised.” Mindfulness reduces how we automatically process things, she says, and creates more spa- ciousness in the way we receive information. “In my teaching I have been basically trying to raise law students’ awareness of the ways race can infect the justice system and ways by which we try to seek justice. I think there is a specific need to incorporate mindfulness in a way that moves from color-blindness to what I call ‘color insight,’ which is an ongoing awareness of the many ways that race, color, and culture impact us in → From left: Andy Gon- zalez, Ali Smith, and Atman Smith founded the Holistic Life Foun- dation in Baltimore in 2001, and have been working with inner city youth ever since. When it comes to the violence and turmoil born from bias, they say the way forward in Baltimore and the world is to build connection within diversity. PHOTOGRAPHSBYTODDRAFALOVICH(LEFT)ANDMARKMAHANEY(RIGHT) Watch Mindful’s interview with the Holistic Life Foundation at mindful.org/ bmorelove August 2015 mindful 51