In a nation where we barely make up five percent of the population, it’s easy for Asian Americans to be marginalized and also be expected to accept it. The history of violent oppression, humiliation and marginalization have deep roots in American culture. In the American Buddhist community, however, we constitute the outright majority. Still, America’s institutional racism is so strong that Asian Americans are marginalized in this very community we planted on American soil, in a community where white Buddhists comprise a largely neophytic minority cohort. Just take a look at the staff of America’s favorite Buddhist magazines—Shambhala Sun, Tricycle and Buddhadharma—and it’s not hard to see the irony that an Asian American’s got a better chance of getting a seat on the White House Cabinet.
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