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Buddhadharma : Fall 2012
10 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY FALL 2 0 1 2 I’d like to praise the contributors involved with two articles in the Winter 2011 issue: “Why Is American Buddhism So White?” and “Yes, We’re Buddhists Too!” Race-based issues produce a lot of anxiety and confusion among many folks, so I respect the will- ingness to discuss the issues so openly. Nonetheless, I am troubled by some of the assumptions latent within those two articles that went unexplored. While it is common to confuse race with ethnicity in the general public, govern- ment, and media, we as humans have been trying to work our way out of the cul-de-sac of racial categories that the planet has been led into by largely Euro- pean (and European-descended) schol- ars beginning in the nineteenth century. It seems fairly clear that race can’t be sustained as a biological construct, yet not a single contributor questioned their reification of the notion of race. To pre- tend that “racially diverse” means more than noticing superficial phenotypic dif- ferences is to encourage confusion. Yes, the world is a place of different skin colors, eye shapes, nose shapes, etc. But that is not culture, which is composed of different practices, such as spiritual systems, foodways, musical forms, and political systems. The concept of race doesn’t necessarily tap into any of these cultural components in any meaningful way, except that in racist societies, race- based terms will continue to be neces- sary for discussing and disengaging from racism, even if the terms themselves per- petuate confusion. Michael Aceto Greenville, North Carolina WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK the following people and organizations for their assistance with this issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly Alison Bank • David Chadwick Michael Goldberg • Andy Ilachinski Peggy Jarrell Kaplan • Gina Kelly Pam Killin • Marco de Kloet • Laura Kuhn Mary Lang • Wendy Lewis • Allan Miller Virginia Mokslaveskas • Russ Morris Michael Newhall • Vanja Palmers • Vivian Perlis • Nancy Perloff • Jean Rigg Nicolas Schossleitner • Seiko Uyeda Barbara Wenger • Masao Yamamoto