[Engaged] My Experience at Village Zendo Workshop on Race

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  • Onkai
    replied
    I see that the White Work On Racism is continuing. I don't plan to go to the next one (this Saturday), but it's open to anyone interested. They only ask for a ten dollar donation and an RSVP to the facilitator. Details are at http://villagezendo.org

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah

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  • Naiko
    replied
    Thank you, Onkai, for sharing your experiences and for doing that work. Thank you Tairin for sharing that beautiful version of the Four Vows.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

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  • Tairin
    replied
    Onkai’s comment about signing the Four Vows intrigued me (as a side note I am learning ASL but no where close to proficient).

    I found this in case anyone is curious


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

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  • Onka
    replied
    Thank you Onkai. I would loved to have done this course. In regards to this work I can only draw on my university studies (community studies, counselling, indigenous studies, education and social work) from years ago when Jane Elliott's work was still quite confronting for folk two generations removed from when she started *groan*.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST

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  • Onkai
    replied
    Today I attended the final session of the White Work on Racism. There was a chart showing aspects of "white culture" and how those are expressed. "White culture" is the dominant culture. Then were asked what we like about being "white" and how we feel when thinking about it. We wrote that down and were assigned to small groups. We discussed those questions and also probed when our families became "American" and when our families became "White" and if there was a difference. We talked about our ethnic identities and what we like about them. I think it was the most intense of all the sessions. I felt awkward when I was sharing in the small group, and unprepared to add to the larger discussion when those groups were dissolved.

    One thing I noted was that at the end, when the four vows were chanted, several people did the sign language translation. I thought that was beautiful, although I don't know sign language myself.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah

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  • Naiko
    replied
    Thank you for sharing, Onkai. Whenever I see someone say they are colorblind (usually I see this online), I wonder if they truly feel that way or if it has become a right wing talking point. While it feels like colorblindness should be a good thing, I think it’s only currently possible to see the world that way from the privileged place of not having to think about race. It’s tremendously helpful to relate it to the relative and absolute. Thank you.
    Gassho,
    KristaB
    st

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  • Onka
    replied
    Thanks for sharing Onkai. I wish I'd been able to attend.Takes me back to when I got into uni in my mid 30's. I chose as many indigenous studies subjects as I could do as part of my degree. We were incredibly fortunate to have had so many lecturers who had found infamy (if they were white it would be fame) as prominent Aboriginal resistance organisers. They gave zero hoots about white sensibilities or sensitivities and had many students storm out of their lectures after having their white privilege presented to them like a Lennox Lewis jab. I loved every minute.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today
    *apologies for the extra and probably unnecessary words. I always endeavour to do and be better.

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  • Onkai
    replied
    Today I joined for a third workshop. The concept of colorblindness, and how that has been brought forth as an equalizing idea, but can reinforce white supremacy by making "normal" to be white culture. We broke up into smaller groups a couple of times for discussion. The second time around it was suggested that colorblindness and race parallel the absolute and the relative, and that the absolute must meet the relative. We were given a koan about it, but I don't remember it exactly and don't want to misquote it. There were centering exercises, and at the end we shook and moved to some fast, percussive music. The leader said that in the next session there will be questions about what is nice about being white.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah

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  • Heiso
    replied
    That sounds really interesting (and challenging). Thanks for sharing, Onkai.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

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  • Onkai
    replied
    I forgot to mention an important part of the experience, which was that there were ways we got in touch with and released tensions in our bodies. After the discussions, it made a big difference. Instead of carrying the heavy emotions I felt a release and wholeness.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah

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  • Meitou
    replied
    This sounds so interesting, thank you Onkai.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah

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  • Jundo
    replied

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  • Naiko
    replied
    Onkai, that sounds fascinating and challenging. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I look forward to your next update!
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

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  • Onkai
    replied
    I just participated in the second session of “White Work On Racism,” offered by The Village Zendo. It was a moving session with small group discussions. Jundo brought up the question of what purpose WWOR is for, and the description on The Village Zendo website begins as follows (at https://villagezendo.org/events/white-work-on-racism/ )
    Racism is a trauma that affects all bodies, creating tension, disconnection, and perpetuation of suffering. This group is for White people who want to heal, who want to develop a benign and whole White identity, and who want to turn toward justice.

    White Work on Racism (WWOR) meets once a month, and includes education, experiences, and conversation. We are guided by Janet Helms’ model of identity development and Resmaa Menakem’s application of somatic therapies to the trauma of racism. Turning the light inward, we aim to support each other to uncover the workings of racism and transform them.
    Today’s session focused on class, and the leader referenced the book Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson. At the session, the leader played a recording of Wilkerson narrating a scene of racial discrimination that took place before the Civil Rights movement. We were broken up into groups where we took turns asking set questions about our feelings about the story, answering, and listening. My group got into how some people were raised around racism.

    Later the leader discussed class, and what makes a class identity. Then we broke up into the same groups with questions about our class identity, how we feel about it and how we relate to people in our class and above us or below us. The group discussion had different points of view and some emotion. I think we were all open and accepting of each other.

    Sorry to go over three sentences - overenthusiasm

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat
    Last edited by Onkai; 10-31-2020, 10:23 PM.

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  • Washin
    replied
    Lovely, Onkai! Thank you for sharing this with us

    Gassho,
    Washin
    stlah

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