The Dukkha of Racism – University of Copenhagen

The Dukkha of Racism

Racial Justice Work in American Convert Buddhism

On May 14, 2015, a delegation of 125 Buddhists gathered for the first “White House-U.S. Buddhist Leadership Conference,” during which they delivered a letter titled “Buddhist Statement on Racial Justice.” This letter should be seen as the product of work to challenge racism and white privilege in American Buddhist convert communities spanning over two decades. For much of this time, such efforts have been either marginalized or ignored. Due to a combination of a small network of American Buddhists People of Color and the wider cultural critical mass around racial justice, however, such work is now coming to the forefront of American Buddhist convert communities.

This talk will attempt to examine racial justice and diversity work in American Buddhism. It will highlight the main pragmatic and theoretical strategies employed to integrate racial justice work with Buddhism, as well as consider opposition such work has faced. Finally, it will reflect on the significance of such developments for Buddhist modernism in the United States.

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About Ann Gleig

Ann Gleig is an assistant professor of religion and cultural studies at the University of Central Florida. She has published a number of articles on contemporary American Buddhism in the Journal of Global Buddhism and Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal. She is currently working on a manuscript on developments in American convert Buddhism under advance contract with Yale University Press.