Utilizing Mindfulness and Contemplative Practices to Promote Racial Identity Development for White College Students

Kyle Ashlee


The values of diversity and inclusion have been widely accepted within the field of higher education. While these values exist in the classroom, there has been little exploration of the experience and capacity for engagement in diversity education that students bring, specifically for students who racially identify as white. Literature indicates that white students have had fewer interactions with diversity than their racially minoritized peers and that most of these students need more development to promote their skills in successfully engaging racially diverse communities. For white college students to develop their own racial identities, they must engage in higher-order cognitive processes, including reflection, perspective taking, and empathy building. Contemplative practices, including meditation, may serve as useful tools in developing the racial identity of white students by promoting capacities such as self-awareness, presence, perspective taking, emotional regulation, and empathy in students. In this paper, the author demonstrates how mindfulness practices can be used with white college students to promote their racial identity development and reduce harm to racially marginalized students in diversity education.


Mindfulness; Identity development; Techniques; Whiteness

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