Reforming Racializing Bodily Habits: Affective Environment and Mindfulness Meditation

Critical Philosophy of Race 6 (2):164-179 (2018)
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Much phenomenological work on race has focused on the bodily experiences of persons of color in white spaces or in the face of the white gaze. But comparatively little has been written about how to change these bodily experiences. This article fills this gap by discussing the perspective of those who enact bodily habits alienate persons of color, or what this article calls “racializing bodily habits.” It defends a novel path toward reforming these habits: the practice of mindfulness meditation. The key premise in this argument is that reforming racializing bodily habits requires that one transform one’s perception of and affective responses to racialized others. It explains that mindfulness meditation slows our experience of time, thereby opening up the possibility for new affective responses, perceptual habits, and bodily habits. This article bases its argument on qualitative descriptions of mindfulness meditation and on empirical research on its effects

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Celine Leboeuf
Florida International University

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