March 2, 2010

Roundtable on Race

With regards to online posts on diversity, Firehorse has proposed a discussion on race, diversity and Buddhism. The proposal has been making its rounds on the net.
How about a Buddhist bloggers’ roundtable or panel discussion on different topics related to race, diversity and Buddhism? But the goal would not be to show how someone is wrong or convert others to your viewpoint, it would be to practice what Katie calls “mindful blogging” and do it in the challenging context of a dialogue about race, diversity and Buddhism.
My feelings are mixed. It’s a noble aspiration—a forum for the expression of these sensitive issues, mindfulness of the visceral emotions this discussion nearly invariably evokes, a safe and supportive space where one can be heard without screaming above the din.

But to be perfectly honest, I am afraid that such a discussion would legitimize as progress certain types of discourse that fundamentally are not. What I’m talking about includes the things we’ve heard before and Wite-Magik Attax, among other derailing tactics.

On a personal level, involvement is surely worthwhile—if that entails bending oneself towards listening more mindfully, engaging more mindfully. If it were me, I probably wouldn’t “enjoy” it, but I would surely appreciate it. Such are true benefits—but they seem shallow if purchased at the expense of buttressing the arguments and rhetoric of apologists for the status quo.

All in all, I suppose it’s worth the risk, in spite of my fears. If there’s an open seat, I’d love to reserve a spot. I’m curious to see what comes of it.

2 comments :

  1. Arun - that's great, you've got a seat reserved! Your reservations are also noted and appreciated. A few of us are discussing organizing this using emails through the urban refuge site. If you "friend" me I'll include you in the string.

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  2. Thanks for the links, Arun :) I hope to be involved for the same reasons as you, an opportunity to mindfully explore my own place in all of this and to hear from others.

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