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Buddhadharma : Summer 2016
summer 2 0 1 6 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 47 dominance that we’re so often blind to, is very par- ticular. It takes effort to know what happened and to know our part in it. But it’s not about shaming people. In fact, one of the things I find inspiring about the very beautiful movements that have been emerging, especially among the frontline communi- ties that make up Black Lives Matter, is the focus on love. For the folks fighting against oppression, self- love is a central force, and that’s true for all of us. We’ve got to love ourselves and each other through this. If white people are going to have the courage and honesty to look at where we’re holding on to dominance or enjoying our privilege, we also have to find a way to forgive ourselves. We are not per- sonally bad; we are part of the collective condition- ing. And yet we can be responsible and respond in whatever way is called for. We have to learn about the particulars, and we need to engage with others. At our dharma center in Washington, D.C., we have affinity communities: groups for people of color where it’s safe to begin to process the effects of racism, and also white affinity groups. I recently completed a yearlong white-awareness group that deeply impacted my self-understanding and attunement to others. We need to be in spaces where it is safe to speak our truths and examine the identities that have accrued, and then, as we grow more mature and able to speak from wisdom, we need to be with each other in mixed racial groups. We need to be able to name where the hurts are; to be able to name our sorrows and fears; to not be afraid of anger. So often As white people, we have to let our hearts be broken or else we’re going to stay in a very insulated identity. ➤ continued page 82