What is Whiteness? Exploring our White Cultural Conditioning: A Monthly Discussion Series

with Lea Stotland

March 16th—August 17th

Date details +
    Room: Meditation Hall

    Determination is what it takes to confront racism. We need to keep going back and picking up the task no matter how uncomfortable, angry, or frustrated we become in the process. Being an ally is like that. We keep learning, doing our best, leaving something out, making mistakes, doing it better next time. It is a practice, not an identity -- and it is best done in collaboration with others.
    —Paul Kivel, Uprooting Racism

    This third-Friday series is for meditators who self-identify as white and who wish to learn, listen, and unpack the notions of race and whiteness with fearlessness. We will do this brave work together in the "cradle of loving-kindness," creating a container of warmth and shared agreements to allow our truths to emerge.

    We will look directly and compassionately at our own experience of race and whiteness and explore the obstacles and privileges that are carried unconsciously throughout our communities, relationships, and institutions. This kind of examination is urgently needed for us as individuals and as a Shambhala community to be able to respond effectively to the realities of the world we live in.

    The group will read and focus on themes from the book, Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, by Paul Kivel (4th Edition). Each meeting will begin with a short meditation practice and include paired, small group and/or open discussion.

    Attendance is required at the introductory meeting as it will include establishing working agreements for the group.

    This is the first round of an ongoing series to support deep work towards understanding how race/whiteness operates within ourselves, our community and beyond. If you cannot attend the first meeting, we encourage you to read the assignments in Uprooting Racism—on your own or with a friend—and contact Clay Bennett (see below) to be notified the next time this introductory session is offered, probably in three to six months.

    All Sessions are from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Fridays. Dates and assignments are all from Uprooting Racism, 4th Edition by Paul Kivel.

    March 16: Introductory Session
    April 20: Preface through What is Whiteness?
    May 18: Words and Pictures through Entitlement
    June 15: Cultural Appropriation through Who is a Victim?
    July 20: Part II: The Dynamics of Racism
    August 17: Part III: Being Allies

    Other Suggested Readings
    So You Want to Talk About Race
    , by Ijeoma Oluo
    Radical Dharma
    , by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah

    As a service to our community, this series is being offered at no charge. For those who want and are able to contribute financially, donations to Berkeley Shambhala are gratefully accepted.

    ...there's been too little conversation allowing space for the unearthed suffering of white folks. Almost because of the power dynamics involved and almost because we have been so racialized into saying, 'If I'm white, I'm supposed to feel bad for folks of color.' But there's zero space for white folks to really claim suffering around living in a racialized society... I just don't see how we can ever expect that this dynamic is going to change if we can't allow people to fully claim their own suffering... That's what the dharma is actually about. It's about allowing people the space and the opportunity for discomfort so that they can touch their own suffering.
    —Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Radical Dharma

    If you have questions, please email Clay Bennett at uncommonclay0 [at] gmail [dot] com

    If you identify as a person of color and are interested in meeting with other people of color in the Shambhala community, please contact Kelsey Blackwell at kelseyblackwell22 (at) gmail (dot) com