Black People Breathe: A Mindfulness Guide to Racial Healing

Ten Speed: Crown. Mar. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781984860996. $18.99. SELF-HELP
Mindfulness teacher Clarke’s book opens at a violin vigil for slain Black violinist Elijah McClain, a scene has become all too familiar in recent years—a peaceful gathering or protest that turns violent, leaving attendees shaken, traumatized, and confused. The author relied upon a learned breathing technique to guide her through the chaos and through her continued attempts to process that event and the other traumas she faces as a Black woman. What results is this useful guide to the “white, hippie stuff” that many Black people assume cannot help them. The book is broken into sections about challenges that many Black people face on a regular basis—microaggressions, accessing quality health care, hostile work environments, racial profiling; these are paired with concrete mindfulness techniques (with inclusive images) to use in those situations. Readers will appreciate that the book doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but helps digest and explore them. Clarke also provides easy-to-follow breathing and mindfulness practices to help bring some peace and clarity.
VERDICT Though aimed at Black readers, other people of color (or those looking to better understand the Black experience in the U.S.) will benefit greatly from Clarke’s book. This is an essential and timely addition to a library’s self-help section.
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