What Is Whiteness? Anti-Oppression Group

Beyond Fear of Differences

Group Intentions:

  1. To examine our conditioning regarding whiteness, especially in relation to privilege.
  2. To uncover, study, and transform our personal racial biases.
  3. To learn about the wider racial context–history and current structures of race in the U.S.
  4. To take actions that bring about racial justice.
  5. To engage this work with sangha
  6. To utilize Zen teaching, which provides unique tools for deconstructing our conditioning around race.

 

Structure:

  1. Self-Education
  2. Critically Examining Whiteness via a.) Impact of Whiteness/Racism on People of Color and White People and b.) History of Race
  3. Developing Skills and Tools to Address these Issues
  4. Processing and Support via: a.) Group Dialogue b.) Keeping a “Whiteness Journal” to examine personal experience of white conditioning
  5. Outreach and Education to Sangha (e.g. film events, discussions, workshops)
  6. Community Action
  7. Spiritual/Contemplative Aspect (e.g. liturgy, whiteness as an object of meditative inquiry)

Why Have a Group for White People?

This group is an opportunity for those who identify as white to take responsibility for addressing racism. Recognizing that it is essential for white people to understand their own racial context, we will gather together to engage self-education and group work while utilizing the unique resources of Zen training. This is a chance for the white members of our sangha to take the initiative rather than burdening people of color with this task.

Given our current and historical racial context, it might seem questionable to create a group that is for white people. Let there be no doubt that this is not an attempt to reinforce white dominance or to strengthen barriers between people of different races. The work of this group is by no means an end in itself. Rather, it is best understood as one step along a much longer path. By developing a better understanding of whiteness, we hope to be more able to address racial inequality, and to be able to work together with people of all races towards this end. Recognizing the importance of putting our values into action, we will also continually explore opportunities for being socially engaged.

This is just a brief attempt at clarifying the intentions of this group. We strongly encourage anyone who has any questions about this to reach out to the group leaders, whose contact information is below.

Donna Nicolino itsallgarden@gmail.com

Yunen Kelly patrickyunen@gmail.com