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Race, Class, Glenn Beck, and Dharma

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In the wake of the travesty on the Washington Mall this weekend (Tea Partiers’ staging a “Reclaim the Dream” rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech), Marnie Louise Froberg, author of the blog Smiling Buddha Cabaret, has just posted an absolute tour de force essay on racism, class, privilege, Glenn Beck, dharma, and more. It’s called “White Riot.”

Because it dives deep into the “heart of identity politics,” Marnie smartly includes a brief teaching on Equanimity from Gil Fronsdal at the start of the post. We all need a lot of upekkha to get through this topic.

Here’s an excerpt:

As long as economically and socially disenfranchised whites are reminded of the “otherness” of various minorities, whether they be religious minorities, ethnic minorities or other groups, the division remains. And that division is one that can be manipulated in order to control and direct populations into serving the interests of the ruling classes. Because, disenfranchised white person, you are not the ruling class, nor are you a friend of the ruling class, you are their pawns as long as the divisions between all disenfranchised people are held to. This is true in all circumstances including those divisions within “Western” Buddhism. In that case it is a simple reflection of the current socio-cultural milieu in which Buddhism is growing in the “West” . There is a much larger picture than “East vs West”  “Asians vs converts” , “superstition vs science” or whatever the various factions choose for labels.

Wow. Great job, Marnie. I highly encourage my readers to take a look at the whole piece. You may not agree with it, but I hope it makes us all think more deeply about the subject.

About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

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