White Privilege

BuzzFeed: ‘One-third of black men will go to prison at least once in their lifetime.

The Invisible Character of White Privilege

11.17.17

by Richard Rohr

If we are going to talk about God as me, we must also talk about God as theetoo!  For a long time, I naively hoped that racism was a thing of the past. Those of us who are white have a very hard time seeing that we constantly receive special treatment just because of the color of our skin. This “white privilege” makes it harder for us to recognize the experiences of people of color as valid and real when they speak of racial profiling, police brutality, discrimination in the workplace, continued segregation in schools, lack of access to housing, and on and on. This is not the experience of most white people, so how can it be true?

Because we have never been on the other side, we largely do not recognize the structural access we enjoy, the trust we think we deserve, the assumption that we always belong and do not have to earn our belonging. All this we take for granted as normal. Only the outsider can spot these attitudes in us.

Of course, we all belong. There is no issue of more or less in the eyes of an Infinite God. Yet the ego believes the lie that there isn’t enough to go around and that for me to succeed or win, someone else must lose. And so we’ve greedily supported systems and governments that work to our own advantage at the expense of others, most often people of color or any highly visible difference. The white man’s easy advancement was too often at the cost of others not advancing at all. A minor history course should make that rather clear.

I would have never seen my own white privilege if I had not been forced outside of my dominant white culture by travel, by working in the jail, by hearing stories from counselees, and frankly, by making a complete fool of myself in so many social settings—most of which I had the freedom to avoid! Recognition was slow in coming. I am not only white, but I am male, overeducated, clergy (from cleros, “the separated ones”), a Catholic celibate, mostly healthy, and part of the American empire.

Power never surrenders without a fight. If your entire life has been to live unquestioned in your position of power—a power that was culturally given to you, but you think you earned—there is almost no way you will give it up without major failure, suffering, humiliation, or defeat. As long as we really want to be on top and would take advantage of any privilege or short cut to get us there (what exactly is it that is up there?), we will never experience true “liberty, equality, fraternity” (revolutionary ideals that endure as mottos for France and Haiti).

To repeat, if God operates as me, God operates as thee too, and the playing field is utterly leveled forever. Like Jesus, Francis, Clare, and many other humble mystics, we then rush down instead of up. In the act of letting go and choosing to become servants, community can at last be possible. The illusory state of privilege just gets in the way of neighboring and basic human friendship.

Richard Rohr, an American Franciscan friar ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He is a known inspirational speaker and a author.

The Center for Action and Contemplation began as a dream of Fr. Richard Rohr’s in 1986 during his first year in Albuquerque. By October of 1987, the first edition of Radical Grace was published. The name was chosen because it expressed the paradoxical nature of the Center’s purpose: standing in a middle place, at the center of the cross, where opposites are held together. [wikipedia]

Civic engagement.

Science’s Next Frontier? It’s Civic Engagement

by Louise Lief

11.13.17

‘…scientists’ problems run deeper. According to a number of recent surveys, there has been a rapid decline in knowledge about and sympathy for scientists and the institutions where many of them work, particularly among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Politicians from the same party who now govern in over 32 states, the White House, and Congress are aware of these sentiments.

These developments point to an urgent need for the scientific community to rethink the enterprise and reintroduce science to the public as a trusted, non-partisan civic actor, a collaborator that can help communities address their problems, and partners in a dialogue where each party brings its unique lived experiences to the table. Scientists need to create more portals to the public, and the citizen science community may be best situated to lead this transformation.

There is evidence that the public is hungry for such exchanges. When Research!America asked the public in 2016 how important is it for scientists to inform elected officials and the public about their research and its impact on society, 84 percent said it was very or somewhat important — a number that ironically mirrors the percentage of Americans who cannot name a scientist.

 

Recently, I have focused on civic engagement, studying how communities try to identify and address collective problems and apply collaborative problem solving. There is a central role for scientists in this effort.

 

To better introduce themselves to the public, it makes sense for scientists to work with civic institutions the public already trusts. Arizona State University’s efforts to partner with  local public libraries is one such step that helps root citizen science programs in communities, creating a natural alliance of knowledge seekers, science, and public engagement, and establishing community feedback loops. (Full disclosure, Cavalier is the PI of this initiative, supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.)

Scientists need to be present at these tables, and practice those deep listening skills. At a minimum you will meet new people and gain new insights. But you may also make valuable new connections, find new collaborators, and most important of all, forge stronger bonds with your community. Don’t underestimate the power of the data you collect and create to impact community decision making.

[full article: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/citizen-science-salon/2017/11/13/sciences-next-frontier-its-civic-engagement/#.Wg9Buq2ZP1J]

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Grungy Flags of Soviet Union and USA

ESALEN

News note: During the height of the Cold War, Esalen launched the Soviet-American Exchange Program, and a series of Soviet-American citizen diplomacy gatherings, organized by Michael and Dulce Murphy and others. At these meetings held at Esalen, Joseph Montville coined the phrase “track-two diplomacy”, which is now a well-recognized diplomatic method. This work led to the first spacebridges which enabled Soviet and American citizens to speak directly with one another via satellite communication, along with multiple other projects. The following article was written by Joseph Montville for Stratfor Enterprises, LLC and republished with their permission. 

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev recently wrote an op-ed that, amid the many conflicts brewing around the globe today, recalls an era of diplomacy worth revisiting. In the Oct. 11 column, he expressed fear that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty he signed with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in December 1987 is at risk of collapse. Though 80 percent of the nuclear weapons that the United States and the Soviet Union accumulated during the Cold War have been decommissioned and destroyed, and both sides have complied with the deal’s strategic weapons clauses, the INF faces stiff opposition in each country today.

[…]

“Track two diplomacy is a process designed to assist official leaders to resolve or, in the first instance, to manage conflicts by exploring solutions out of public view and without requirements to formally negotiate or bargain for advantage. Track two diplomacy seeks political formulas or scenarios which might satisfy the basic security and esteem needs of the parties to a particular dispute. On its more general level, it seeks to promote an environment in a political community, through the education of public opinion, that would make it safer for political leaders to take risks for peace.”

Treading Where Diplomats Cannot

As today’s headlines make clear, the American public is becoming increasingly concerned that Trump’s policies on North Korea could precipitate a disastrous conventional war capable of destroying Seoul and its millions of citizens, along with tens of thousands of Americans living in South Korea. Many worry that Japan, too, may become a target of Pyongyang’s short-range nuclear missiles.

In an Oct. 22 interview, Carter showed some sympathy for Trump while reiterating his recent offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The former president has a history of intervening in tense conflicts. He went to North Korea in 1994 to head off a potential war, reportedly annoying then-President Bill Clinton. Later that year, he persuaded Haiti’s leaders (this time with Clinton’s approval) to peacefully leave the country in order to fend off a U.S. invasion. Of course, Carter has never felt bound by strict instructions from the White House if he believes they reduce the chances of a peaceful resolution to conflict. His chief focus is eliminating violence; that’s the way he is.

North Korea has already been the subject of many Track Two initiatives, even if the North Korean participants in those talks could never be considered unofficial. According to journalist M.J. Zuckerman’s major cover story “Track II Diplomacy: Averting Disaster,” published in 2005, the Carnegie Corporation of New York supported several “Track 1.5″ meetings that eventually yielded a deal to resume formal negotiations among the six-party nuclear group made up of North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

[…]

I now realize that properly done Track Two does not seek to ‘get in the way’ of Track One diplomacy, as those in office sometimes fear, but rather to complement it, often by going to places where Track One is unable to tread and by tackling subjects it cannot approach.”

[full article: https://www.esalen.org/page/track-ii-diplomacy-citizen’s-response-when-leaders-falter?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=esalen-enews&utm_content=eNews+November+2017]

‘Moral treason.’

How Trump and the Republican Party will go down in history

by /Sasha Abramsky

New Moon on Saturday, Nov. 18th

 

 

 

 

 

 

The theme for this new moon is creating positive change out of challenging circumstances.

☆☆¸.•*¨*•☆☆•* ☾¨*•.¸¸☆☆

Anything that has been a hardship for you, and can be seen as a negative experience, can be used as a powerful agent to shift into something new. This is a new moon and will support anything new. Take the pieces of the old, whether an old dream, an old life, or challenging lesson, and use the power of those experiences to fuel what wants to emerge from the ashes.

It is a time where healing that comes from a shift in attitude and reaction is on the table. We may be triggered again, the same way were were during the time of the eclipse (actual trigger point on November 20). So take advantage of the opportunity to reset what needs it. As you turn the soil of our life, focus more on the gifts and inspiration you are discovering that what you regret or feel bad about. Do a practice every day from now until the solicit on December 21st of dreaming an improved life.

-Power Path

 

Mudbound

Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. Mudbound follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry, his wife Laura struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson – sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations – struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson, forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.

[rotentomatoes.com]

A sun in every person.

‘It is essential to realize and embrace the paradox that while no one can go through your journey for you, you are not alone. Everyone is on the same journey. Everyone shares the same pains, the same confusions, the same fears, which if put out between us, lose their edges and so cut us less.’ -Mark Nepo

‘There’s a sun in every person–the you we call companion.‘ -Rumi

Unimaginable ethical ambiguity.

We are now perched on a strange cusp of history, a time when the world feels like it’s been turned upside down, and nothing is quite as we imagined. But uncertainty is always a precursor to sweeping change; transformation is always preceded by upheaval and fear. I urge you to place your faith in the human capacity for creativity and love, because these forces, when combined, possess the power to illuminate any darkness.

The price of greatness is…responsibility. 

-Winston Churchill

May our philosophies keep pace with our technologies. May our compassion keep pace with our powers. And many love, not fear, be the engine of change.

Love is from another realm. We cannot manufacture it on demand. Nor can we subdue it when it appears. Love is not our choice to make.

Love is not a finite emotion.

We don’t have only so much to share.

Our hearts create love as we need it.

We must become a spiritual partner of science, using our vast experience-millennia of philosophy, personal inquiry, mediation, soul-searching-to help humanity build a moral framework and ensure that the coming technologies will unify, illuminate, and raise us up…rather than destroy us.

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

[Loved this book. If ‘Da Vinci Code’ was my Alpha, ‘Origin’ is my omega. Recommend highly in the context of our contemporary polarized, tribal, fear-based culture. Can’t wait for the film!]

Anahata

‘May the eyes of your heart transfigure the world with love.’

-Alex Gray

Save the world. Or savor it.

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it.

-E.B. White

Bodhisattvas live in compassionate service to humanity.

Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit word for those who are committed to the spiritual awakening; we postpone our personal enlightenment to aid others in reaching it first.

Living in compassion and service is is in ‘complete contrast to the excessive individualism of some cultures.

Bodhisattvas believe happiness comes from tending to those who are suffering, helping them overcome their despair.

[…]

What can we do when we hear the news of poverty, inequity, war, terror, injustices or environmental destruction? It is easy to slip into despair and go numb.

Bodhisattva philosophy and living invites us to turn toward instead of turning away from the pain.

To begin, we learn to quiet our mind and find the peace that resides in our collective hearts. Only when there is peace on the inside can we bring the benefit of this to the outside world. We are not separate, but are interconnected and interdependent with all beings. 

Life is suffering. (Buddhism) And happiness often comes of being devoted to the well-being of others.

We need not be a Kuan Yin, a St. Francis of Assisi, a Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Simply, being congruent with our outer actions in alignment, or balance, with our inner desires, we able to be a blessing to the people we are with, and situations we find ourselves living in.

jai  ☀

[Science of Mind Magazine/November]

 

Remembering who.

VETERAN’S DAY 2017

Action without a name, a ‘who attached to it, is meaningless.’

-Hannah Arendt

‘Eduard Kornfeld was born in 1929 near Bratislava, Slovakia. He was taken to Auschwitz and several other concentration camps. On April 29, 1945 he was freed by American troops from the Dachau camp in Germany, weighing only 60…’

[VICE NEWS]

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