What is Whiteness Sangha Commitment Group studying “Me & White Supremacy”
September 20 - November 29, 2020
The MRO’s online Beyond Fear of Differences Commitment group for those who identify as white will hold a monthly meeting starting on Sunday September 20 from 1-2:30 pm via Zoom. This will be part of an ongoing monthly inquiry—based in Dharma practice—into Whiteness and its many biases and blindspots, using the study guide “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad. These meetings are for those who identify as white specifically because of the need to help each other address our conditioning and to be of benefit in the world, as do sangha of color who meet bi-monthly as BIPOC and have the option during Ango for a BIPOC study group (for more see the ango activities page).
This meeting is open to everyone participating in ango and newcomers will be oriented to the ways in which the meetings are conducted. If you have questions about this aspect of ango training, Shugen Roshi will be holding a meeting beforehand to address these on September 15 at 7 pm, and you can access the zoom link here.
For those who would like to participate, you’ll be asked to make two commitments to the group.
First, to make financial donations, dana, to organizations directly addressing the effects of racism, discrimination, and the underlying structures, assumptions and oppression of white supremacy. This commitment is personal, and it’s intended to directly address the habits of mind which turn away and ignore systems of oppression and instead turn towards making reparations for these injustices. We’ll provide a place for people to share the organizations they suggest with each other, but you can look locally in your community to start.
The second commitment will be to your small break-out group, meeting at least once a month for the remainder of the year (4 meetings). A bond built in honest conversation and non-intellectual sharing can bring insight and acceptance of our internalized racism and implicit biases, which takes time and trust. We’ll begin each meeting all together before our break-out groups divide. Each autonomous group will end the meeting with their own closing. Groups are also able to decide if they want to meet more often, but monthly is a good start.
The work in these groups will help participants to develop both compassion and accountability as participants process felt, embodied experiences of reactivity and defensiveness, examine racist structures, analyze their own racist views (hint: we all have them), and challenge their racist assumptions and behaviors. The willingness to engage this work—as in Zen practice and meditation—is learning to not turn away from the suffering of others and one’s own discomfort in undoing racism. This is not easy and we need to bring patience and commitment. Zen practice is a willingness to see our minds directly, and our vows are to acknowledge the depth of karma as we take full responsibility for and atone for our intentions, actions and inactions.
1:00pm – 2:30pm
Your registration confirmation will include a link to the Zoom session.