I am a Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner. Because the majority of the practitioners are "white," there has been a concerted effort to bring diversity to the community. When I came to the work many years ago, there was a Diversity Workshop in which I participated.
It lasted for a weekend and there were many aspects to it, but what I most remember is this. We were divided into groups as to what we were or were not. We would stand and look at each other. For example, everyone was once a child, so in that case, we all stood on one side of the room. Then, we divided into male and female, and then, it went from there, Jewish, non-Jewish, Black, White, Asian, White, Hispanic, White, abuser, abused, gay, lesbian, single mother, single father, divorced, and on and on. The two groups would stand and look at each other for a certain amount of time. I don't now remember all the categories, though they seemed endless, but what I remember is this.
The people in each group often judged those within their group more harshly than those of us who were outside of it. Also, many women who feared or disliked men because of sexual abuse saw that there are men, too, who have suffered abuse, either physical, mental, or sexual. People were made vulnerable. We stood and looked at "other," and saw vulnerability and saw we were the same. We all witnessed pain. In my case, yes, I was a child, but a well-respected one and I have never experienced discrimination that I am aware of due to being a female, so I watched and felt, and learned that when I say to myself that because I am not prejudiced, there is not prejudice in the world, that that in itself is prejudice, naive, separatist, and elitist. It denies the experience of those I may know and love.
We had very good friends when my children grew up who were Black though I didn't "see" it, so I was shocked one time when they said what it is to be Black. I realized they had experienced something I would never know and my seeing them as "white" was really dismissive of them and their experience. We do this in all sorts of ways, of course. I can't really know your life, and you can't really know mine, but it was so clear that for me to be truly non-racist, and I won't say that I completely am, but I had to let myself feel what it might be like to be Black, Asian, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim, Native-American etc. I couldn't claim it for myself, but I could honor myself and them by trying to understand what they had been through, how they may have been treated because of something about how they were born or something they had chosen or that had chosen them.
I can criticize America because I am American. When I travel, I meet people who respect this country, especially now, but the point of judgment is on me. We can look at our own group because we know it. Perhaps we are comfortable enough to say, "Hey, my group is a little goofy and I love it," or something like that. We learn to both respect and laugh at ourselves, at our similarities and differences.
I remember talking to my good friend Elaine about how grateful I was to the ancient culture of China, of how I love and respect many Asian traditions. She spoke of bound feet. She, of Chinese descent, could say, in some ways, what I could not, could focus where I did not, or had not, and, of course, we were both right, and what I learned is this. When I idolize or denigrate a culture or people, it is my loss. I am not seeing them in a whole way. I am not honoring them or myself.
I believe I mentioned I participated in a meditation retreat on Saturday. It was a combination of Sufism and Diamond Logos work and was quite profound for me. What is clear to me is that I need to embrace the Sarah Palin in myself, the McCain, Bush, Biden, and yes, Obama. I can claim it all, what I perceive as expansive and what I see as narrow. I, too, can be as dignifed and forgiving as Barack Obama. I can also be petty and ignorant. I have choice in this, and feeling the possibilities in myself, all of them, allows me to more wisely and carefully choose.
Elaine sent me this link this morning. http://www.theroot.com/id/48773
I think progress will truly be made when we can see that though we persoanlly may be color-blind, there are still those who discriminate, and to recognize that may deepen our healing understanding in this world.
How many sayings are there on this about walking in your mocassins, your shoes? In Jungian anaysis, the sole is the soul.
I think we can celebrate the victory of Barack Obama for what it is, recognizing that if he were white, this would have been a shoo-in. I'm really into shoes right now. : - )
That Barack Obama triumphed is for someone of my generation unsurpassable in what I feel. I didn't think I would see this in my lifetime. I wish my parents were here, and yet I feel them close. This is a huge celebration for us all, and it came about because the situation in this country is so desperate right now that we have to look beyond color of skin to the one who is most able to lead and inspire us now. Who better than one who has overcome?
Healing is NOW!
I apologize for preaching to the choir.