Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Zhen Li wrote:It's a common occurrence, my mother would hit my father frequently, girls have hit me for little to no reason, I've seen it hundreds of times, may be thousands (but never vice versa), and you see it constantly in media - and it is laughed at. Sexual violence against men is completely tolerated by our society - our society thinks it is funny in fact. Castration is also considered a joke.

I know statistically, anecdotally and experientially that domestic violence against men is more common. I can discuss this more later when I have more time.
Can you show me the statistics? Anecdotally, I simply think you are wrong, or are projecting a narrow set of experiences as reality.

I find it bizarre that you think there is an epidemic of women physically abusing men, and going around randomly hitting men. Where I grew up hitting people was a dangerous thing to do.

Most "abuse" though it's gonna get hairy defining that with men - who regularly are involved in socially sanctioned violence more often, is male on male.
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Simon E.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Simon E. »

rory wrote:Simon E please only contribute a personal experience of discrimination or comment on that instance. That's what this thread is about. I really don't need to hear generalities, it doesn't help my Saudi Arabian lesbian acquaintance to say 'samsara' she wants to be able to drive and vote and not be killed for loving a woman.
gassho
Rory
I note your polite request and , I hope equally politely, I am not going to comply with it.
There is a wider context to the debate, at least when that debate is happening on the pages of a forum which exists for the discussion of Dharma..and that wider context is the fact that we are living an existence which is characterised by dukkha.
Any social action which fails to see that is treating symptoms..Dharma is for the treatment of causes.
The cause of your friends distress is that she identifies with a bodily form and with its concomitant transient demands.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

It's interesting. It seems possible in sangha or in mixed sangha company to have a dialog about "engaged Buddhism". Generally after some discussion of the causes of suffering and liberation from suffering people generally agree that its good to, well, do good deeds. That is pretty consistent with the teachings. The only warning being not to get caught up in it all. Serve without hope or fear. Also solid dharma.

Feed hungry people, or animals-- awesome. There are even formal practices for that. We even feed ghosts and demons in chod.

Take care of the elderly-- awesome. Solid dharma. In tune with Asian cultural values.

Work to preserve the dharma or support monastics or retreating. All good stuff.

Environmentalism: all good. All Thicht Nhat Hahn ad 17th Kampala and 14th Dalai Lama. Good stuff. All about interdependence.

Pacifism. Ahimsa. Solid dharma. Great American tradition of nonviolent protest. Thoreau and his kin. Carry on.

BUT AS SOON AS... one's service is women, LBGTIA people--- then it's all political and bad dharma.

Thr subtext is... feed the hungry,care for the sick, heal the wounded... but the women and queers are on their own.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

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untxi wrote:It's interesting. It seems possible in sangha or in mixed sangha company to have a dialog about "engaged Buddhism". Generally after some discussion of the causes of suffering and liberation from suffering people generally agree that its good to, well, do good deeds. That is pretty consistent with the teachings. The only warning being not to get caught up in it all. Serve without hope or fear. Also solid dharma.

Feed hungry people, or animals-- awesome. There are even formal practices for that. We even feed ghosts and demons in chod.

Take care of the elderly-- awesome. Solid dharma. In tune with Asian cultural values.

Work to preserve the dharma or support monastics or retreating. All good stuff.

Environmentalism: all good. All Thicht Nhat Hahn ad 17th Kampala and 14th Dalai Lama. Good stuff. All about interdependence.

Pacifism. Ahimsa. Solid dharma. Great American tradition of nonviolent protest. Thoreau and his kin. Carry on.

BUT AS SOON AS... one's service is women, LBGTIA people--- then it's all political and bad dharma.

Thr subtext is... feed the hungry,care for the sick, heal the wounded... but the women and queers are on their own.
That is true in the case of some of the criticism, not so true in others. There is a valid (and pretty obvious) concern within Buddhism regarding politics that reify identity and project an "other" to fight against. So, for many political aspirations perceived as partisan, there is a question about how to engage them in terms of Dharma. The unfair part of this (and I agree with you here) is that supporting the "status quo" is actually very often supporting a particular viewpoint, even though it's not acknowledged as one.

However, I feel certain that some people would react the same to Dharma practitioners that were doing something like, for instance fighting against gay marriage. In fact, I know that is so from some of the conversations on this very board. The people you perceive as the opposition have been faced with the same scrutiny on here, it is not just you.

So I think you are right about how difficult it is to address certain issues, and how there is bias towards the status quo but I don't think that many on this board are singling out your chosen issues in the way you think they are.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Simon E. »

That is entirely your own construct untxi..

In fact even a cursory reading of my back posts ( not that I am recommending such an onerous task ) would show that I regard the whole complex of social and environmental issues as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic in light of our actual situation ...

I think its all displacement activity aimed ( unwittingly ) at keeping us asleep by substituting more politically correct grasping for less politically correct grasping...but its all grasping.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Adi »

Why would anyone expect agreement on actions or what should be done on this thread if the simple request to "limit responses to expressions of compassion or specific actionable suggestions for improving circumstances" is ignored? :smile: Everyone grasps at their own opinions no matter how appropriate to the situation. And so it goes.

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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Simon E. »

Why should anyone feel that they have some special condition which enables them to set boundaries on the responses they get..other than that those responses should stay within the T.O.S. ?
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Adi »

Simon E. wrote:Why should anyone feel that they have some special condition which enables them to set boundaries on the responses they get..other than that those responses should stay within the T.O.S. ?
QED.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Zhen Li »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Can you show me the statistics? Anecdotally, I simply think you are wrong, or are projecting a narrow set of experiences as reality.
Yes, I didn't have the time earlier to look it up. The topic is so complex and there are so many things I could tell you, that this is really beyond the realm of the internet and into essay territory, I know people won't read that based on my experience in the Anarchism thread.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glenn-sacks/researcher-says-womens-in_b_222746.html wrote:Dr. Capaldi's research examined the different relationship violence scenarios -- violence by him only, violence by her only, violence by both with him initiating, and violence by both with her initiating. Of these, the most likely to result in future injury to women is when she initiates violence against him and he responds, although both mutually aggressive groups were close in danger levels.

Dr. Capaldi notes that in a study of women who were in a battered women's shelter, "67% of the women reported severe violence toward their partner in the past year." Others in the domestic violence field, including Erin Pizzey, founder of the first battered women's shelter in England in the early 1970s, have had similar findings.

According to Dr. Capaldi, "Overall, young couples with unidirectional violence report fewer acts and forms of violence than bidirectional couples."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/collective/A3539469 wrote:* Myth: most physical abuse is carried out by men, especially fathers.

Fact: violent acts towards children are more likely to be meted out by mothers than fathers (49% of the sample experienced this from mothers and 40% from fathers).

NSPCC Director Mary Marsh says: Modern myths about child cruelty have emerged from the public attention given to horrific and frightening cases of child abuse by strangers. Other traditional stereotypes come from a historical wellspring of children's stories about wicked adult bogey
figures. These stereotypes have become part of popular culture. This report challenges us to re-examine preconceived ideas about child cruelty. In some cases it calls on policy-makers and professionals to overhaul thinking and reconsider how to approach different kinds of child maltreatment.
And the government implicitly assumes that only men are capable of domestic abuse,
http://www.ccrm.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=231&Itemid=296 wrote:The Met's 2005 advertising campaign targeted domestic violence offenders with the serious message that the police will seek out men who abuse their partners and arrest them, even if the victim refuses to make a statement or give evidence in court.
In these 21 US states, as well as in the UK, only men will be automatically arrested if accused of domestic violence. This, itself, is an act of violence, since men clearly have no reason to report domestic violence if this is the case.
http://www.saveservices.org/dvlp/policy ... v-assault/
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... olence-men
http://www.equation.org.uk/wp-content/u ... rators.pdf
There's more, but I don't have time to find it. Of course, it's very easy to find these facts online.
BUT AS SOON AS... one's service is women, LBGTIA people--- then it's all political and bad dharma.

Thr subtext is... feed the hungry,care for the sick, heal the wounded... but the women and queers are on their own.
Being a woman and being queer is not being sick or wounded. It's just being a regular person, like the other half of the population are just regular people. They should be viewed and treated equally in this regard.

Also, is not everyone on the board who disagrees with anyone else not thereby being considered a propagator of "bad dharma?" :P

Don't you think that what I am saying is bad dharma? That's expected. That's why we should debate these issues.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

Zhen Li...

I'm not sure if you've intentionally or accidentally missed my poi t. But, to clarify, my reference to healing the sick and tending the wounded wasnt in reference to LBGTQIA people. It was in reference to the fact that on Buddhist circles it's acceptable to be political feeding people, healing people, saving animals... but as soon as one talks about class, race, or gendt, one is too political and one has strayed from the path.

-U
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Zhen Li »

Dana is not political. Nor necessarily are matters of class, race, or sex (gender as some call it).

I also wouldn't claim that anyone is straying from the path, everyone is trying their best to be on it, which was one point I made previously. For that, one should be lauded. The questions I have raised are also not about whether or not we are helping victims, or even perpetrators, in the appropriate way - I certainly believe in and would defend that. The question is whether or not we are understanding issues in a way that accurately reflects the world - because to do otherwise can easily lead to neglect and unintended consequences. This also is important to keep in mind if we are trying to make judgements about systems and religions, such as Buddhism, in total, if we are going to be proposing courses of action. We can quickly end up turning temples into places that, like public schools, become mouthpieces of public policy to those who are attending for wholly different reasons. We also risk dividing temples politically - just take for instance some people's attempt to paint FGS as anti-gay marriage or in other ways taking political stances that it doesn't take in actuality; not only can this be divisive, but in many instances, as of course in the case of FGS, it is false and can be misleading to the public at large. These are ethical and moral hurdles, which if we are prudential we can have the scruples to work around and or overcome.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

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Simon E. wrote:That is entirely your own construct untxi..

In fact even a cursory reading of my back posts ( not that I am recommending such an onerous task ) would show that I regard the whole complex of social and environmental issues as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic in light of our actual situation ...

I think its all displacement activity aimed ( unwittingly ) at keeping us asleep by substituting more politically correct grasping for less politically correct grasping...but its all grasping.
I entirely agree with your point, Simon E.

But, sometimes, if you want to have a conversation with somebody, you may need to arrange the deck chairs....even if you know that at some future point the tidal wave may take them off the deck and out to sea. Skillful means is entirely about relative truth and samsara. Viewed in the light of absolutes, all "engaged Buddhism" is misplaced. But owning one's suffering is incredibly difficult for some folks. I don't think discussions about personal experiences of discrimination are irrelevant. But I also completely agree that there is a larger issue, and one that those who suffer discrimination should understand--as Buddhists.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

We identify with any number of things as Buddhists. Our vehicle, our lineage, our teacher, our monastery-- perhaps specific philosophical views or methods of practice. Sometimes we identity with non-sectarianism or with the "Buddhism without beliefs" of Stephen Batchelor. It's not something we even attempt to derail. It's a matter of devotion. It's a method of grounding our practice.

We also identity with any number of aspects of our being. Our nationality. We talk about "Western" and "Asian" Buddhist cultures. We talk about "new" or "American" Buddhism. We identity with our education, our vocation, our profession. We identify with how we offer service to the community. Barcelona played Manchester today-- we identify with soccer, football, and cricket sports clubs like our lives depended upon it. We identify with our family heritage. The food we came up with. Our communities, extended and nuclear families. We identify with our friends. The woods and streams around us. We identify with aesthetic preferences. Film, music, art.

Nobody ever challenges those types of self-identification. Nor should they. It's all good stuff. It gives juice to life. It's social glue that allows us to love and care for those around us. Without some identification with our children, our pets, our loved ones-- we wouldn't have the strong bonds we do to care and nurture them.

Yet, for some reason, certain types of self-identity really seem to push us off our rails. A Buddhist talks about being black or queer-- and it's all over. We're lost in debates about identity politics.

I really want to know precisely what "identity politics" I'm guilty of pressuring people with on these two threads? I haven't stated any metric that adhering to views X, Y or Z are integral to being either a good citizen or a good Buddhist practitioner. I've not pressured anyone into embracing any spectrum of "political correctness".

-U
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

I don't know, when people are threatening to "rape your faggot ass" off the forum, it certainly sets a tone.

From what I can tell, I've been pegged as a political agitator for using the jargon of IP to debate certain points, and regardless of how much I try to redirect to the more fundamental issues of a) supporting people who have suffered gender violence in the sangha and b) discussing sex/gender in the dharma... I'm still pigeon holed as a political agitator.

I'll reiterate for the billionth time: I don't care about IP.

-U
Johnny Dangerous wrote:So I think you are right about how difficult it is to address certain issues, and how there is bias towards the status quo but I don't think that many on this board are singling out your chosen issues in the way you think they are.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

The subtext of this is that since we're all going down on the Titanic (we're stuck in samsara), there's no sense rearranging the deck chairs (worrying about social justice issues).

I disagree as showing kindness to others and attempting to alleviate their suffering, even if temporarily and superficially, is part of our practice.

-U

conebeckham wrote:
Simon E. wrote:That is entirely your own construct untxi..

In fact even a cursory reading of my back posts ( not that I am recommending such an onerous task ) would show that I regard the whole complex of social and environmental issues as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic in light of our actual situation ...

I think its all displacement activity aimed ( unwittingly ) at keeping us asleep by substituting more politically correct grasping for less politically correct grasping...but its all grasping.
I entirely agree with your point, Simon E.

But, sometimes, if you want to have a conversation with somebody, you may need to arrange the deck chairs....even if you know that at some future point the tidal wave may take them off the deck and out to sea. Skillful means is entirely about relative truth and samsara. Viewed in the light of absolutes, all "engaged Buddhism" is misplaced. But owning one's suffering is incredibly difficult for some folks. I don't think discussions about personal experiences of discrimination are irrelevant. But I also completely agree that there is a larger issue, and one that those who suffer discrimination should understand--as Buddhists.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by Zhen Li »

untxi wrote:Yet, for some reason, certain types of self-identity really seem to push us off our rails. A Buddhist talks about being black or queer-- and it's all over. We're lost in debates about identity politics.

I really want to know precisely what "identity politics" I'm guilty of pressuring people with on these two threads? I haven't stated any metric that adhering to views X, Y or Z are integral to being either a good citizen or a good Buddhist practitioner. I've not pressured anyone into embracing any spectrum of "political correctness".
Assuming this is following from the rest of the thread, I'm not quite sure where you got the impression that anyone was trying to find you "guilty" of "identity politics." I'm also not quite sure how identifying as black or queer is in any way identity politics - it is identity yes, but not inherently political.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

That is certainly what Johnny Dangerous, Ven. J Khedrup, SImon E and Jamyang Tashi have very explicitly said. Others more dramatically and privately off the forum.

-U
Zhen Li wrote:
untxi wrote:Yet, for some reason, certain types of self-identity really seem to push us off our rails. A Buddhist talks about being black or queer-- and it's all over. We're lost in debates about identity politics.

I really want to know precisely what "identity politics" I'm guilty of pressuring people with on these two threads? I haven't stated any metric that adhering to views X, Y or Z are integral to being either a good citizen or a good Buddhist practitioner. I've not pressured anyone into embracing any spectrum of "political correctness".
Assuming this is following from the rest of the thread, I'm not quite sure where you got the impression that anyone was trying to find you "guilty" of "identity politics." I'm also not quite sure how identifying as black or queer is in any way identity politics - it is identity yes, but not inherently political.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

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untxi wrote:The subtext of this is that since we're all going down on the Titanic (we're stuck in samsara), there's no sense rearranging the deck chairs (worrying about social justice issues).

I disagree as showing kindness to others and attempting to alleviate their suffering, even if temporarily and superficially, is part of our practice.

It depends a lot on what constitutes 'alleviation of suffering'. Trungpa, for instance, coined the now well-known term 'ruthless compassion' which is required for spiritual aspirant to see through their own mind-games, roles and attachments (including attachment to Buddhism!). Buddhism is at the end of the day, still a renunciate movement, concerned with revealing an identity other than that of social roles and constructed personas. So perhaps 'self-affirmation' and 'being who you are' might be quite inimical to that endeavour, even if that seems harsh.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by JamyangTashi »

untxi wrote:That is certainly what Johnny Dangerous, Ven. J Khedrup, SImon E and Jamyang Tashi have very explicitly said. Others more dramatically and privately off the forum.

-U
Zhen Li wrote:
untxi wrote:Yet, for some reason, certain types of self-identity really seem to push us off our rails. A Buddhist talks about being black or queer-- and it's all over. We're lost in debates about identity politics.

I really want to know precisely what "identity politics" I'm guilty of pressuring people with on these two threads? I haven't stated any metric that adhering to views X, Y or Z are integral to being either a good citizen or a good Buddhist practitioner. I've not pressured anyone into embracing any spectrum of "political correctness".
Assuming this is following from the rest of the thread, I'm not quite sure where you got the impression that anyone was trying to find you "guilty" of "identity politics." I'm also not quite sure how identifying as black or queer is in any way identity politics - it is identity yes, but not inherently political.
I just reviewed the entire thread from page one, paying attention to every post I made. The record agrees with my memory: I did not at any point in this thread say anything of that sort. Please review the thread history if you think something like this was said. The purpose of this thread is to discuss examples and personal experiences of discrimination that can help everyone reach a better understanding of the challenges that other people face, and perhaps to offer compassion or helpful suggestions related to those experiences.
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Re: Personal Experiences of Discrimination

Post by untxi »

Jeepers...

I don't disagree with that at all.

I started discussing sex/gender in the dharma, not as a "self identity" issue within Buddhism, but to address specific abuses in the sangha. To name a few: women and LBGTQIA people being told they are inferior vessels for dharma practice; LBGTQIA people being told they are inherently sinful; bigotry towards women and LBGTQIA people in the sangha; sexual harassment and abuse in the sangha.

That's the starting point. The hope was to bore down into the traditional teachings to see what they say about sex/gender.

By the time somebody has their hand in your pants, made you feel badly or uncomfortable because of your gender-- it's already been made a sex/gender issue for you.

-U

jeeprs wrote:
untxi wrote:The subtext of this is that since we're all going down on the Titanic (we're stuck in samsara), there's no sense rearranging the deck chairs (worrying about social justice issues).

I disagree as showing kindness to others and attempting to alleviate their suffering, even if temporarily and superficially, is part of our practice.

It depends a lot on what constitutes 'alleviation of suffering'. Trungpa, for instance, coined the now well-known term 'ruthless compassion' which is required for spiritual aspirant to see through their own mind-games, roles and attachments (including attachment to Buddhism!). Buddhism is at the end of the day, still a renunciate movement, concerned with revealing an identity other than that of social roles and constructed personas. So perhaps 'self-affirmation' and 'being who you are' might be quite inimical to that endeavour, even if that seems harsh.
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