This is class 4/6 for a 6-week series that began on 2/20/18 at Against the Stream Santa Monica. Registration is now closed.
A SIX-WEEK DHARMA AND RACISM STUDY CURRICULUM FOR WHITE-IDENTIFIED PEOPLE WITH FRANK BAIRD
Against the Stream White Allies for Social Justice is offering a 6-week practice and study group for waking up to whiteness and dismantling racism. Using recommended reading, discussion, mindfulness and compassion practice and exercises, the group will focus on understanding the causes and effects of racism and deconstructing whiteness and white supremacy. These studies and this work can serve as foundations for personal commitments to racial justice.
WHITE AWAKE: PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION FOR THE LIBERATION OF ALL
How can Buddhist teachings help us understand and respond to the systemic and immense suffering of racism? This course will explore that question. Through gathering to study, reflect, and dialog within community, we will gain insight about how systems of racism and privilege operate, and learn ways we can support skillful change. This is a course for white practitioners, specifically, to build awareness and knowledge.
WHY WHITE AWAKE TRAINING?
Conversations on racial injustice can bring healing, understanding and change. This course on white awareness hopes to contribute to a wider societal movement by serving the need for conversation among white people, with the larger goal of supporting practitioners in understanding power, privilege and oppression as a form of suffering that can be met with our Buddhist practice. This can prepare the ground for effective inter-racial dialogues.
WHY WHITE AWARENESS?
For discussions of race and injustice to promote understanding and change, we need conversations with different groups: dialog between those privileged and those not privileged by the American racial hierarchy, that is, between white people and people of color; dialog among people of color; and dialog among white people. This group serves the need for conversation among white people, with the larger goal of supporting Buddhist practitioners in understanding power, privilege and oppression as a form of suffering that can be met with our Buddhist practice.
WHY IS A DIALOG ABOUT RACE AMONG WHITE PEOPLE HELPFUL?
White people tend to have less awareness than people of color regarding racial issues, partly because racial privilege can be invisible to those who benefit from it. Also, conversations on race can be uncomfortable, and discomfort can lead to avoidance and denial regarding race, and possibly harm to people of color. This has led anti-racism educators to recommend white racial awareness affinity groups as an important starting point for white people. Such groups provide a space where white people can explore unconscious bias about race, face their own difficulties regarding the racial messages they have been taught, and learn from one another about anti-racist thinking and behavior.
Additionally, an interracial conversation can unfairly become a space where people of color feel they must educate white folks about the realities of racism, especially when racial awareness between people is unequal. This can be tiresome and even re-traumatizing for people of color. Gaining some level of awareness through a white affinity group can be a helpful starting place for white folks prior to engaging in interracial dialog specifically about racism.
Please email facilitator FRANK BAIRD
NOTE FROM FACILITATOR:
Our intention is to foster a learning community infused with safety and emotional honesty. Please review the below requests we are making of participants to determine whether this course is right for you:
- Attend and participate in all meetings
- Be willing to explore your personal experience
- Maintain / renew your personal Dharma practice as a frame for supporting this inquiry
- Be willing to grapple with difficult issues, and to stay engaged
- Seek support of the program facilitators if needed
- Join this community with the intention to support yourself and other group members in this work.
*Course fee is $100 if paid in advance or $20 per session. Regardless of how you pay, we ask that you commit to all the sessions of the class. Upon application acceptance, you’ll be sent a link to pay.
Please fill out the short form at the link below. Please note: you must self-identify as White to apply. There will be 90 min of reading/videos, and a 15-min daily meditation practice to try out between each course.
The curricula for this group is based on the White Awake curriculum developed by the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. The name “White Awake” is used courtesy WA Director Eleanor Hancock. Please see the WHITE AWAKE WEBSITE for more information and to support their valuable work.