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Buddhadharma : Fall 2016
80 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 1 6 Of my many identity locations, I experience Blackness most strongly. It is a site of profound transhistorical and intergenerational trauma. Much of my struggle to work with oppression is rooted in race, yet at the same time, this site is one of profound resilience, hope, and love. I have noticed how easy ver- bal communication is for me, especially in front of groups. This, I feel, comes from a love of verbal communication in the Black community originating in the homeland tribal communities in Africa. My community’s language expression is rooted in playfulness and the expres- sion of intimacy. Call it “talking shit,” “cracking,” or if you are older, “play- ing the dozens”; it is how we are heard and seen. It is how we train to love and value our individual voices and the rec- ognition that our individual voice is part of a community voice. It was how we have long practiced being free. Within a white supremacist culture that holds Black speech in contempt, our practice has been one of resisting total devaluing and silence. When I am “talking shit” from the cushion, I am doing much more than idly talking—I am resisting and interrogating the psychic violence of white supremacist silencing. I am prac- ticing freedom. To teach from a place of intersec- tionality begins with understanding that teaching is not an objective activity. We are offering dharma teaching from the many ways in which privileged and dis- privileged identity locations inform who we teach and even what we teach. Most white teachers will not consider race in the dharma because white teachers have been conditioned not to see race and to normalize their racialization. It is the same for male teachers who do not openly talk about patriarchy. For many white teachers, connect- ing to an identity of whiteness that has been perpetuated and defined by the domination of other races is a signifi- cant obstacle. Whiteness does not mean oppression, but still, it has often been defined by superiority and the power over other. To resist naming our identity loca- tions is to commit a kind of aggression toward ourselves and to further obscure blind spots that hurt others. Others are hurt when they are not seen; invis- ibility is another form of violence and oppression. Often, teachers claim that the way they experience a certain dharma is how others should experience it. How- ever, teaching from a place of intersec- tionality requires us to be conscious of the ways in which we center our story lines. Having your own story line is not a bad thing. However, if we do not know how we are relating to our nar- rative, we begin to normalize it; this makes others in the room who do not identify with our particular story invis- ible—further trauma for those who are already marginalized. If your experi- ences do not match up with the teacher’s experience, you may feel your practice is inadequate. › do you KnoW your true Face? continued from page 33 Immerse yourself in Buddhist Diversity www.uwest.edu | 1409 walnut grove ave, rosemead ca 91770 | 626.571.8811 Scholarships Available! MASTER OF ARTS MA in Religious Studies MDiv in Buddhist Chaplaincy Character Compassion Community NOW OFFERING distance learning opportunities tibetan language courses: levels i, ii, and iii Fundamentals of Buddhism: a dharma course (No Tibetan required) tli Bookstore Best-selling Beginners’ package with effective instructional dVds Visit the tli weBsite Free study aids, info about classes, and more www.tibetanlanguage.org tiB etan language institute learn tiBetan & study Buddhism with daVid curtis Over 19 years’ experience teaching hundreds of students “Learning Tibetan from David Curtis is definitely one of life’s better experiences.” —K.J., VA David was named a Lama in 1992 and an Acharya in 2005. new!! Buddhism Courses