Monday, July 22, 2013

A Short Note to Any White American Buddhists, Yoga Practitioners, or Others Who Feel Threatened By "White Supremacy" Discussions

I wrote these points as a response to comments I received on an old post on American Buddhism and race. In light of the Trayvon Martin case, and the seemingly endless rounds of back and forth about all things race and racism, I'm offering them again.

1. Respond to criticism or perceived criticism of your spiritual practice by practicing.

2. Many of us white folks "overdo" race talk. Few of us are willing to sit with race like a koan, listen for whatever wisdom is there "behind the curtain," and then speak from that.

3. Minimizing, denying, blaming, trying to "fix," and/or judging are the standard forms of acting out in response to something we don't like, or don't want to hear. Knowing that, now what?

4. If I choose to not listen to the pain and suffering beneath someone's words today, they’ll be someone else expressing something similar tomorrow.

5. Forget trying to get all your ducks in a row. You have to act, or not act, as it is, moment after moment.

And I'll add a number six to this list.

6. Racism is ultimately a heart/mind issue. Both on the individual level, and also collective level. It's poisons can't be removed by rational debate and statistics.


The General said...

Thanks for this. I am Haitian American and there was no mention about the Trayvon Martin case in my sangha and it felt very isolating as I'm usually the only Black person there. More white folks need to talk out more and ally with other people of color. It seems as if our words are only being seen as defensive and reactive.

Nathan said...

Agreed. Things need to change in a lot of sanghas. This is a common pattern.