The vision is an affinity group of white folks (aka white caucus) as defined by Dr. Ruth King across Buddhist denominations in Seattle involved in race equity.
At the first meeting, these avenues of exploration and action presented themselves:
1) providing mutual support for our efforts in our individual Sanghas toward creating the conditions for authentic inclusion, seeing & undoing white supremacy (includes our ongoing internal work, of course)
2) creating a container to build a larger circle of Buddhist white folks committed to this liberation work
3) discerning what learning opportunities and resources might be useful to offer to our wider Seattle Buddhist community, or to our individual Sanghas (by us, by inviting BIPOC or white teachers, etc.)
4) building supportive relationships with local Asian Buddhist communities, especially any that are experiencing anti-immigrant discrimination
In my own experience and in relation with folks steeped in the dominant (white) culture, I find depth knowledge of and gut feeling empathy with People of Color experience lacking. For those who would like to explore, I recommend the following paper alerted to me by Lama Choyin
INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION IN THE WHITE SPACE: AN INVESTIGATION OF THE EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE OF COLOR IN A PRIMARILY WHITE AMERICAN MEDITATION COMMUNITY
Craig Nicholas Hase, James C. Meadows, Stephanie L. Budge
More people of color have begun to attend American convert Buddhist communities that have, until recently, been almost exclusively white in composition. This study seeks to explore the ways in which people of color experience racialized inclusion and exclusion in one such community. Utilizing a phenomenological methodology to examine the experiences of eleven participants of color, the present study extrapolates six distinct themes related to their experiences of racialized inclusion and exclusion. These themes are Interpersonal Barriers to Full Participation, Institutional Barriers to Full Participation, Strategies for Coping with Racialized Exclusion, Failures of Leadership Support for People of Color, Range of POC Experiences, and Promoting Equity and Inclusion. Following the explication of themes, the authors offer recommendations for primarily white meditation communities to help guide their efforts toward greater inclusion and equity for people of color.
The full paper here.
For further exploration with the Undoing Racism – White Buddhist Affinity Group, please contact Tim Tapping for information.