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Cultural Bias, Racism, and Otherism Work doesn't deny the Suffering of Persons who are White


In talking about cultural bias, racism, and othering... let me be clear... I grew up in predominately White culture... going to schools and institutions that were and are predominately White. Because of the color of my eyes and the way I talk, even Black people don't necessarily see me as Black, and treat me with skepticism, though based on appearance, I am policed and surveilled just as much as anyone else who's a Person of Color. Based on my direct life experience, I've been more likely to be befriended by Whites than fellow People of Color. I'm more than clear that Black people and other non-Whites are capable of holding prejudices that can be similar to Whites.


Going deeper still, I know factually innumerable Whites that have grown up and got their college degree's in the "School of hard knocks." I know many White people that have had the shit kicked out of them as a result of class... growing up on the "Wrong side of the tracks,"... gender and gender identity... poverty... lack of advanced education... broken homes... houseless… addiction and substance use disorder... mental-health challenges... victims of domestic violence... prison time... and more. Based on personal and direct experience, I would not be one to deny the suffering of Whites.


The above said, and as bad as things ALREADY are for so many... the structure of our culture... as well as a certain percentage of people within it based on a wide range of variables such as: how they were raised, so-called "heritage" that allows for arbitrary hatred and willingness to cause harm on a spectrum, lack of proximity, stereotypes, and stigmas, are willing to make things worse for people, strictly based on the color of their skin.


This tendency, left to its own devices, lends to being easily out-grouped, objectified, treated dismissively, and treated with hesitation and suspicion that extends to all areas of life, not just here in the United States but across the Planet. That matters because that kind of mentality strictly based on color lends itself to a very perverse cruelty that doesn't have a limit. And for me, that's why I make an effort to work on cultural bias, racism, and othering as an aspect of my Zen practice as a priest and monk. It's a specialized form of suffering that I'm trying to help alleviate within an intersection of others who have taken up this effort.


--Dignity and Grace

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