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Nacho

Chalip, wonderful post, thanks for the engagement, and thanks for the words of wisdom. : ) I probably am not as adamant about an apology now as I was then. I do recognize the inanity of coercing an apology. I would like him to own up, to be responsible. But I suspect that is not coming, and I can't force him to do so.

There is an interesting line in Buddhist thought here between the Look Within and the Act from... that is increasingly compelling to me. This should not be a dualism. We need to look within, see the sufffering and our own attitudes, dispositions, and how we water those negative seeds, and still act compassionately to relieve suffering. I equate it with sitting: there are at least two parts to Zazen, sitting down and getting up. The getting up is as important and should be informed by the sitting, and in fact, the getting up is as much Zazen as the sitting down.

The problem I see with the perspective that calls us to stop externalizing racism and instead look within, is that it is a "meta" strategy. It broadens the issue's ground, brings it inside into a darker place where our seeing clearly is more difficult, and quite often remains mired in that kind of gazing. So, what we need is a way to shine a light when we look inside, but also to find dharma doors that allow us to open the door again. Unfortunately, that formulation, like the original one, is full of dualism (inside/outside).

I do agree that we need to own up to our hypocrisy, but we cannot stop there. We can tell better moral stories, and we can live better moral narratives, and we can continue trying to make ourselves better all the time, and the way we live better moral narratives is by acting to make those narratives be central in our lives -- not just by retelling them but by embodying them.

I feel like this next deserves its own post! : ) but just in case... yes, people do need to change. I do believe in the potential for change, both individually and socially. Buddhist thought also tells us that people can change.

The question of what changes people, or what ocassions social change, is difficult, and although it may very well be answered by saying "people have to want to change," it doesn't invalidate attempts at persuasion, or approaches that shape how people see things (framing). We wouldn't have an education system otherwise. People often change without conscious consideration for how they are changing. Sometimes they just find themselves shifting in position, being less rigid, saying to themselves, "hmmm... I just can't support that anymore." Sometimes they just naturally find themselves in a different place and don't know what got them there. Some of that change is driven by personal experience, and much is driven by exposure to arguments that help them see things in new light or from different angles. So, we can work toward gradual change, toward helping others see the consequences of some actions, toward helping others be more empathetic, to highlight incongruity in thought and action, and so forth. Sometimes it works better, and sometimes change takes lots of time. But change, contrary to the common bit of humor out there, does not *just* come from within. It is always an engaged process, a dialectic between attitudes, dispositions, and values that are socially conditioned, and thus open to more social conditioning.

The Diversity Trainings then do not carry the burden of creating change in those that already value diversity. For them it might serve as reaffirmation, as mantra, or as validation and legitimation of their values, attitudes, etc. Lots of value in that, because they also might feel supported and charged with talking to others about them, or in embodying those values even better.

For others who might not have given time to these before, or perhaps who have not seen them articulated this way, or who had not thought about all these issues... the trainings might engender deep contemplation, frustration, anger, consideration of other perspectives, or even a willingness to prove themselves, etc. In any case, what the power of those words can do is to initiate thought, jar people of complacent attitudes, get them involved in more conversations about those issues, or not. I think they are likely to, at some point, and maybe not immediately, facilitate people saying "hmm, I hadn't thought of that, but now that I think about it..." These are probably the most critical audience members we have, because as you well note, these are not the overt or hardened ones who don't care, who don't like black (or others) people. Yet, these have the most influential effect through their change, through their looking within, through their small steps, or commitment to learn more, to try, to observe, to understand.

About those other ones who don't care, who hate, etc. I believe that change is possible, and what it might require can vary but it likely will have to be deep. Still, we can't dismiss the possibility that, others influenced by our discourse, that materials, or that our own actions to make the world a more compassionate place, will have a salutary effect. So for me, instead of looking at this as inside vs. outside, I'd like to see a melding: deep contemplation, careful practice that shows us out own difficulties, our lack of wholeness is critical, but so is our compassionate action, our engagement with the world, so that we are at neither pole world renunciation, or worldliness.

The way I see it is that such engagement can be the deep practice of looking inward also, which is ultimately looking outward to all that we are, and can manifest as *Being.*

Thanks Chalip. Sorry to take so much of your blog space and bring this issue back up. I do appreciate the engagement, and your insights in this, and am nourished by your perspective. These are great questions. : ) Sorry it took me so long to get here to your nice post.

N

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