Some of us Buddhist bloggers have started a new blog to explore the issue of race, racism, and other intersecting -isms as they pertain to our spiritual practice. The first topic we are addressing is the following:
1. Share a true story from your own experience (not someone else's experience) about a time when difference resulted in a negative impact on you within your Buddhist community (sangha) / or in some other community.
I wrote a post about an incident at my zen center last year that heightened, for me, the need for racial dynamics to be part of everyday conversations and practices at American Buddhist centers. Here is a small selection from the post, which I hope you'll read in full over at the blog:
I faded in and out during the entire break, exhausted from the previous session's material and exercises, which had brought up some "shit" for me, for lack of more precise term. At some point, the visiting teacher started in about something about "poor black kids" in Oakland, and how there were so many screwing their lives up in gangs, drugs, and whatnot. I was sort of half listening, kind of irritated by this time by what I perceived to be an unconscious elitism running throughout her weekend narratives.
Please check out the blog for more narratives about race and dharma. Lori Pierce has a compelling narrative about an incident that occurred during a Buddhist academic panel that shows another form of racialized silencing. What's disturbing to me about what happened to her is how normative it appeared, and how the very structure of the situation allowed more ease for her ideas and contributions to be cut off.
I'd especially like to invite anyone who thinks the two things, race and dharma, have little or nothing to do with each other to visit our blog. You might be surprised by what you learn. Our practice is all about being open and present to what is, after all.