On the race and pop culture blog, Racialicious, guest writer Atlasien kicks off a series on race and Buddhism by discussing Buddhism through the prism of her family history.
The next installment of the series — Is Buddhism the Anti-Islam? — will talk more about cultural Christianity and how Buddhism and Islam are often stereotyped as polar opposites from a culturally Christian perspective. Complicity and Conflict will discuss representations of global power struggles involving Buddhism, including examples in which Buddhism has been complicit in state repression. Yes, I will be touching Tibet, but gingerly, with a ten-foot pole. Converts and Immigrants will outline the sociology and history of Buddhism in the United States, and provide an alternate narrative than the one in which white converts represent the face of modern American Buddhism. I might change the order and add or subtract from the series based on comments and suggestions, so feel free to comment on other issues you want to hear about. I might not have the space to include it, but I’ll probably try.
There’s already nervous sweat on my palms, I can sense the coming storm. It feels as though every time Asian Americans speak out about the complicated issues of race and Buddhism, there’s an instant backlash from self-proclaimed white progressives. A handful of them defend us, but most stand by and watch in silence. I am profoundly grateful to have found Atlasien’s voice, and I look forward to her upcoming pieces.