Speaking Buddhism from the Margins

Over at Killing the Buddha, Jeff Wilson provides another perspective on interfaith dialogue in North Carolina. He touches lightly on the timely notions of white privilege and marginalization.

As a non-Christian in a Christian world, learning the Bible is more about just getting by. Stand out too much as a religious “other” in some places, and there can be consequences. It’s a lesson that can come as a shock to a white guy, to follow your wandering soul out beyond the bounds of unacknowledged privilege, until an ugly encounter brings your newly marginal status home at last. You used to get a pass; now you have to learn how to pass, how to dance with partners who don’t know a thing about your religion, and don’t have to.

The article got me thinking about similarities between interfaith dialogue and discussions of race, although this is not the point of the piece. The two have some overlap, but there are very crucial differences. The most obvious contrast being that you can hide your religion, but you can’t hide your race.

One thought on “Speaking Buddhism from the Margins

  1. Archivist’s Note: Comments have been preserved from the original website for archival purposes; however, comments are now closed.

    justeliseJuly 27, 2009 at 4:46 AM
    Just so you know, the author of that piece was in the town of Carrboro, which is one of the most liberal/progressive towns in North Carolina. It’s also right near UNC Chapel Hill, which is far more liberal than the other universities in the area. I just wanted to help people put his story in perspective.

    KillingtheJuly 29, 2009 at 6:37 AM
    Dear AAB —

    Apologies for the false start with this wonderful piece! Killing the Buddha (dot) com has published it in our new anthology Believer, Beware: First-Person Dispatches from the the Margins of Faith, but we weren’t quite ready to post it on our site. When it goes up (for real), we’ll be sure to let you know and you can link then. Thanks for keeping such a close eye.
    ~editor http://www.killingthebuddha.com

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