16 Sep
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Waking Up White

I leave on Saturday morning for the next Community Dharma Leader (CDL) training retreat. Diversity is a big topic in this program and one of the ways we’re working through it is by reading assigned texts (for example: Waking Up White, by Debby Irving), then meeting in small groups (in my case, by phone/Skype) to discuss our thoughts/feelings/concerns, using prepared questions such as:

What motivates you to be a part of this process?

* What concerns, fears, or other feelings arise as this conversation opens?

* What potential do you see for your role as a Dharma leader?

* When did  you first recognize yourself as having a racial identity?

* What has supported your growing awareness about racial identity?

* What feelings arise in response to the idea of privilege?


There are four “modules” in the program we’re following, which is based on the work done by White Awake. I’ve only completed the first one. But already, it seems to have had a surprisingly enlivening effect on my thinking about myself as a white woman, born in the 1950s, into a professional middle-class family in the American midwest.

I was expecting to feel a lot of guilt.

But that’s not it. Guilt is a narrowing of one’s focus. What I’m getting from this exploration is just the opposite….a widening, deepening, more responsive awareness to the interconnected aspects of race/class/ethnicity/identity for me and for others.

Now what to do about it.

Stay tuned.



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