White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

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lyndon taylor
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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by lyndon taylor » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:17 pm

Sad for a Buddhist forum, I'm seeing a lot of relatively well off white people claiming "racism is not that much of a problem". Nothing could be further from the truth!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Mr Man
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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by Mr Man » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:07 pm

Here is something from Martin Luther King
Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly profess the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy. This tragic duality has produced a strange indecisiveness and ambivalence toward the Negro, causing America to take a step backwards simultaneously with every step forward on the question of Racial Justice; to be at once attracted to the Negro and repelled by him, to love and to hate him. There has never been a solid, unified and determined thrust to make justice a reality for Afro-Americans. The step backwards has a new name today, it is called the white backlash, but the white backlash is nothing new. It is the surfacing of old prejudices, hostilities and ambivalences that have always been there. It was caused neither by the cry of black power nor by the unfortunate recent wave of riots in our cities. The white backlash of today is rooted in the same problem that has characterized America ever since the black man landed in chains on the shores of this nation. This does not imply that all White Americans are racist, far from it. Many white people have, through a deep moral compulsion fought long and hard for racial justice nor does it mean that America has made no progress in her attempt to cure the body politic of the disease of racism or that the dogma of racism has been considerably modified in recent years. However for the good of America, it is necessary to refute the idea that the dominant ideology in our country, even today, is freedom and equality while racism is just an occasional departure from the norm on the part of a few bigoted extremists.
(The whole talk is well worth a read)

https://www.scribd.com/doc/134362247/Ma ... ciety-1967

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dhammafriend
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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by dhammafriend » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:49 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Sad for a Buddhist forum, I'm seeing a lot of relatively well off white people claiming "racism is not that much of a problem". Nothing could be further from the truth!!
And then they end with Trump as president elect. :rofl: Growing antisemitism, unarmed black people being shot in the streets, Korean churches defaced. My gods.

The absolute, almost violent, refusal to see that racism is systemic and structural.
Bell hooks says that white Buddhists are so invested their buddhist identity that the think it absolves them of having to deal with reality.
Metta
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Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.

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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by dhammafriend » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:28 am

Lucem wrote:
Akalika wrote:Regardless of whether we are skeptical of one or another person's experience, it's indisputable that inequality and oppression exist in human society, built on a massive store of unskillful actions past and present. This is a heap of pain and our latent tendency in response to pain is aversion - in this case in the form of righteous indignation, violence and hatred.

When we see oppressors and oppressed, privileged and deprived, our natural response is to cultivate hatred and disgust towards the oppressors or (more commonly these days) towards those who benefit from oppression. Or, if we happen to be among those who benefit, then insecurity and fear of the oppressed. This is a bind which will, if we're being honest, express itself in cycles of violence for a long, long time.
This also has to do with merit not necessarily with historical oppression. The huge majority of europe was oppressed and kept in slavery under the multinational empires until WW1. Some countries were literally rented to whoever payed the most money, who then did his best to exploit these places to the last dime. But the difference in terms of wealth has to do with economic policy (capitalist vs communist), geography, good/bad government policy, resources etc. not with oppression. Historical oppression accounts for probably less than 0,1% of today economic differences in europe. Big empires of the past such as the Russian or Otoman empires are now poorer than many of their former economic slaves.

When it comes to USA, it is not even that clear weather the american slave trade turned out as a good thing for black people of today or as a bad thing. Those alive today have not personally suffered because of slavery, just like europeans of today have not personally experienced serfdom or slavery either. Even if all the economic differences inside US can be blamed on slavery (witch they can not), I still don't see black people from USA moving en masse to Senegal and Angola. Witch means they are rather contempt on how history turned out for them personally and do not intend to reverse it. There is even a country (Liberia) brought by benevolent abolitionist from US for black people who wanted to go back to africa. Some moved there but not many.
Cultivating hatred is painful in the here & now and will lead to painful states in the future. The rational thing to do is withdraw from society - not in the sense of leaving it or giving up on it, but in the sense of no longer self-identifying with one tribe or another; dwelling independent and considering the issues with a clear mind divested of ill-will. In that space you can then reflect: "What unskillful acts have I done in the past? What unskillful acts am I doing now? What skillful acts am I doing now? What are skillful acts I can do in the future?" This is the proper framework for moving in the right direction with social justice.

Metta
I agree. People need to start thinking in terms of individuals rather than in terms of groups. This is what Martin Luther King fought for all his life. Thinking in terms of groups and in terms of ancestors is exactly the type of thinking racism and hatred is built on. That is why so many people are opposed to the type of thinking these articles engage in: "white buddhist are like this" and "asian buddhist are like that" or even blaming groups of people "white american buddhist are white supremacist".

The antidote to racism is thinking in terms of individuals. (witch is the rational way to think anyway) Smart people like Martin Luther King were able to figure that out. Others think that racism can be fought with reverse racism, with "my group is actually the wholesome one and your group is the evil and guilty one" witch only leads to reactionary movement saying "no, you are wrong. My group is just fine, your group is the bad one because of this and that". We need to drop this thinking in terms of groups and start thinking in terms of individuals if we ever want to leave racism behind.
Today I learned that the teachings of MLK can be used to silence people of colour. Sigh. Congratulations for that amazing achievement.
Metta
Dhammafriend

Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.

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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:54 am

Lucem wrote:The antidote to racism is thinking in terms of individuals. (witch is the rational way to think anyway) Smart people like Martin Luther King were able to figure that out....
Martin Luther King put quite a lot of effort into pointing out that certain groups were being persecuted:
Martin Luther King wrote: Ever since the birth of our nation, White America has had a Schizophrenic personality on the question of race, she has been torn between selves. A self in which she proudly profess the great principle of democracy and a self in which she madly practices the antithesis of democracy. This tragic duality has produced a strange indecisiveness and ambivalence toward the Negro, causing America to take a step backwards simultaneously with every step forward on the question of Racial Justice; to be at once attracted to the Negro and repelled by him, to love and to hate him. There has never been a solid, unified and determined thrust to make justice a reality for Afro-Americans.
And he put his life on the line to demand change...

Image

Without resorting to violence...

Image

Unfortunately, that did not deter others from using violence against him...

Image

:anjali:
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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by Buddha Vacana » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:31 pm

Lucem wrote:When it comes to USA, it is not even that clear weather the american slave trade turned out as a good thing for black people of today or as a bad thing. Those alive today have not personally suffered because of slavery, just like europeans of today have not personally experienced serfdom or slavery either. Even if all the economic differences inside US can be blamed on slavery (witch they can not), I still don't see black people from USA moving en masse to Senegal and Angola. Witch means they are rather contempt on how history turned out for them personally and do not intend to reverse it. There is even a country (Liberia) brought by benevolent abolitionist from US for black people who wanted to go back to africa. Some moved there but not many.
So, if I understand well, your argument is that black people in the U.S. should be grateful for whatever way they are treated because (according to your logic) they could be living in some African country right now? How do you reconcile this with what seems to be your main point:
Lucem wrote:People need to start thinking in terms of individuals rather than in terms of groups. ... The antidote to racism is thinking in terms of individuals.

Lucem wrote:We need to drop this thinking in terms of groups and start thinking in terms of individuals if we ever want to leave racism behind.
Yes, but people will not be able to achieve this until institutions stop discriminate negatively against them first. You can't say people who are fighting to be treated fairly are the bad guys in the story. Those who try to silence them when they have genuine points to make are the ones who keep racism alive, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that they are not racists. I'm thinking Tomi Lahren whose response to the question "how should a black man protest" is "they should stop victimizing themselves". Same person who gets offended when someone burns a flag. Sad, as the d would say.

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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by Lucem » Sun Dec 18, 2016 2:07 pm

Martin Luther King put quite a lot of effort into pointing out that certain groups were being persecuted:
Yes, and the way he did it was by emphasizing individualism.
So, if I understand well, your argument is that black people in the U.S. should be grateful for whatever way they are treated because (according to your logic) they could be living in some African country right now? How do you reconcile this with what seems to be your main point:
No, my point was that the idea of black people of today suffering because of what happened back in history is wrong. These black people of today from USA who supposedly lack privilege because of historical oppression happen to enjoy the privilege of living in almost the richest country in the world, having better living conditions than 95% of the 7 billion people that are alive today. Also, central and easter europe abolished serfdom at the same time that slavery was abolished in USA. The majority of white people in the world got out of slavery at the same time as blacks did. These are historical facts that go against the common narrative of "there are inequalities in the world because of white people oppression", narratives that only harbor more hate in the hearths of black people. This wrong understanding of history is based on marxist simplistic ideas that who ever is richer than you is oppressing and exploiting you somehow.
Yes, but people will not be able to achieve this until institutions stop discriminate negatively against them first. You can't say people who are fighting to be treated fairly are the bad guys in the story. Those who try to silence them when they have genuine points to make are the ones who keep racism alive, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that they are not racists. I'm thinking Tomi Lahren whose response to the question "how should a black man protest" is "they should stop victimizing themselves". Same person who gets offended when someone burns a flag. Sad, as the d would say.
Institutional racism means having laws that are racist. Only racist laws that exist in USA are not discriminating against blacks. (affirmative action)
Things such as those described in the article fall under the category of selectiveness. For example students in my country are highly discriminated when it comes to renting homes. I too suffered from this discrimination as a student and never complained about it because, been a student myself, I knew very well how justified this selectiveness is. I'd probably do the same if I was a landlord. Students would be nr 2 after convicts on my "avoid renting" list just like they are on everybody else list. A black person would be on the top of my "best persons to rent" list because almost all black people in my country are professionals working for international corporations. But if I were to live in USA, I'd probably be more careful when renting to black people because realities are different there.

This has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with avoiding unnecessary risks. Just like a taxi driver, no matter his skin color, would avoid taking dubious looking people to a bad neighborhood. Asking for this selectiveness to disappear is an utopia and complaining that it does exist is ridiculous. There will always be prejudice and selectiveness when it comes to young people, old people, poor people, etc. Many things that today are considered racist happen to be just normal selectiveness but they are called racist if they happen to be directed at black people. Racism means not renting to a black person even though they qualify as top renters in your country, just because he is black. Such racist people are almost non-existent, most people that pass on as racist are simply been selective just like in the example with the students or taxi driver. They could not care less about racism, all they care about is their own safety (physical or economical). And this is only natural to happen, asking for this to disappear is an utopia.

Of course racism does exist but we should be careful not to call normal human behavior racist. It is precisely because of considering normal selectiveness racism that we got to theories about how all white people are inherently racist without knowing it, even western buddhist. If selectiveness qualifies as racism, than every human and animal in the world is racist.

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dhammafriend
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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by dhammafriend » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:36 pm

Lucem wrote:
Martin Luther King put quite a lot of effort into pointing out that certain groups were being persecuted:
Yes, and the way he did it was by emphasizing individualism.
So, if I understand well, your argument is that black people in the U.S. should be grateful for whatever way they are treated because (according to your logic) they could be living in some African country right now? How do you reconcile this with what seems to be your main point:
No, my point was that the idea of black people of today suffering because of what happened back in history is wrong. These black people of today from USA who supposedly lack privilege because of historical oppression happen to enjoy the privilege of living in almost the richest country in the world, having better living conditions than 95% of the 7 billion people that are alive today. Also, central and easter europe abolished serfdom at the same time that slavery was abolished in USA. The majority of white people in the world got out of slavery at the same time as blacks did. These are historical facts that go against the common narrative of "there are inequalities in the world because of white people oppression", narratives that only harbor more hate in the hearths of black people. This wrong understanding of history is based on marxist simplistic ideas that who ever is richer than you is oppressing and exploiting you somehow.
Yes, but people will not be able to achieve this until institutions stop discriminate negatively against them first. You can't say people who are fighting to be treated fairly are the bad guys in the story. Those who try to silence them when they have genuine points to make are the ones who keep racism alive, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves that they are not racists. I'm thinking Tomi Lahren whose response to the question "how should a black man protest" is "they should stop victimizing themselves". Same person who gets offended when someone burns a flag. Sad, as the d would say.
Institutional racism means having laws that are racist. Only racist laws that exist in USA are not discriminating against blacks. (affirmative action)
Things such as those described in the article fall under the category of selectiveness. For example students in my country are highly discriminated when it comes to renting homes. I too suffered from this discrimination as a student and never complained about it because, been a student myself, I knew very well how justified this selectiveness is. I'd probably do the same if I was a landlord. Students would be nr 2 after convicts on my "avoid renting" list just like they are on everybody else list. A black person would be on the top of my "best persons to rent" list because almost all black people in my country are professionals working for international corporations. But if I were to live in USA, I'd probably be more careful when renting to black people because realities are different there.

This has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with avoiding unnecessary risks. Just like a taxi driver, no matter his skin color, would avoid taking dubious looking people to a bad neighborhood. Asking for this selectiveness to disappear is an utopia and complaining that it does exist is ridiculous. There will always be prejudice and selectiveness when it comes to young people, old people, poor people, etc. Many things that today are considered racist happen to be just normal selectiveness but they are called racist if they happen to be directed at black people. Racism means not renting to a black person even though they qualify as top renters in your country, just because he is black. Such racist people are almost non-existent, most people that pass on as racist are simply been selective just like in the example with the students or taxi driver. They could not care less about racism, all they care about is their own safety (physical or economical). And this is only natural to happen, asking for this to disappear is an utopia.

Of course racism does exist but we should be careful not to call normal human behavior racist. It is precisely because of considering normal selectiveness racism that we got to theories about how all white people are inherently racist without knowing it, even western buddhist. If selectiveness qualifies as racism, than every human and animal in the world is racist.
Dude, you need to leave this thread please.

Moderators you need to please take appropriate action here. For me as a black man, his posts are becoming more and more insulting and trivialising. Please speak to him.
Metta
Dhammafriend

Natthi me saranam annam buddho me saranam varam
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.
Etena saccavajjena vaddheyyam satthu-sasane
By the utterance of this truth, may I grow in the Master’s Way.

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Mr Man
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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by Mr Man » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:37 pm

Institutional racism (also known as institutionalised racism) is a form of racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. Institutional racism is also racism by individuals or informal social groups,[1] governed by behavioral norms that support racist thinking and foment active racism. It is reflected in disparities regarding wealth, income, criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power and education, among other things. Whether implicitly or explicitly expressed, institutional racism occurs when a certain group is targeted and discriminated against based upon race. Institutional racism can go unnoticed as it is not always explicit and can be overlooked.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_racism

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Re: White American fragility, Asian American Invisibility

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:49 pm

I think that's an excellent note on which to end this thread.

:anjali:
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