Personal Transformation / Social Transformation

Jeffrey guided our reflections this Sunday. We continued investigating the issue of social transformation from a Buddhist perspective that has threaded through many of our meetings. Most recently, Brit hosted a meeting April 1st about angel Kyodo Williams’ conception of “engaged buddhism” that Williams calls “Radical Dharma”. Lorilee followed April 8 with another talk on Engaged Buddhism by Thich Nat Han entitled “The World We Are”.

The focus this week was on the question of “personal transformation” vs (and?) “social transformation”. Is this a false dichotomy? Does one come before the other? In particular, the focus was on racism, how we are all racially conditioned by living in this society, and what that means for followers of the wise Gautama.

Opening Talk for Transforming Self, Transforming World, Transforming Self, Transforming World, Talk 1 We heard from minutes 37 – 48, more or less
The Suffering Self , Transforming Self, Transforming World, Talk 2 We heard from minutes 45 – 55, more or less
Three Lack Traps: Money, Fame and Romance, Transforming Self, Transforming World, Talk 3 Didn’t use
Healing Ecology – A Buddhist Perspective on the Eco Crisis, Transforming Self, Transforming World, Talk 14 Didn’t use

Peggy McIntosh article on White Privilege
Lists more of the privileges she came up with. Very helpful article.
Greg Snyder, “Waking Up to Whiteness”, Lion’s Roar, 16 August 2017
I used this for background info. He packs a lot into a very few pages. Snyder guided some of the language and concepts I presented. If some of the concepts presented are new to you, these two articles will get you a long way.
A Class Divided (video, Short Version)
In 1968, a 3rd grade teacher divides her class based on eye-color. One of the best depictions ever of how “races” are created, awarded different privileges, and behave based on their new “race”. Only 12 minutes long.

The long version (55min) is well-worth watching.
Kay Young McChesney, “Teaching Diversity: The Science You Need to Know to Explain Why Race Is Not Biological”. SAGE  Open. First Published October 16, 2015.
Nice article on the science of human differences. This is good background for discussion points about however much humans engage in “tribalism” (grouping people into “us” and “them” categories), the basis for the grouping is social-historical, and not based on real biological differences.

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