This volume opens with a foreword by noted scholar of religion Jan Willis in which she observes that although there is only one race, Homo sapiens, racism still thrives. The collection documents views from the peripheries that reveal that LGBTQ people and people of color are challenged in white US Buddhist communities as if they have no place. Often they are not seen at all. The way forward, Laurie Cassidy writes, is to listen deeply and take responsibility for the shared reality of all people. In his essay Bryce Huebner argues that “races are not biologically real” and “race is a conceptual fiction.” This book is about modifying practices as well as changing minds. This reviewer was impressed by the program—recommended by Jessica Locke (following Patricia Devine)—of implicit bias intervention. Metta ("lovingkindness") meditation to develop a competing and positive narrative to the racist one about blackness is also effective. This important book offers ideas and values that could change how meditation works. In an afterword Charles Johnson writes that what is new here “is the effort to find common ground between ancient Buddhist ideas and principles with feminist theory, existential phenomenology, and Critical Race Theory, and Critical Whiteness Studies.”Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.— Choice ReviewsWith essays from more than 15 thinkers, including Tricycle contributing editor Charles Johnson, this book offers new scholarly ideas on Buddhism’s equal access to liberation in the context of the persistent racism experienced in America and beyond. The editors write in the introduction that “racism or white supremacy is like the water in which we all swim”—though only some of us notice that we’re submerged. Contributors from across traditions, who also draw on feminist and cultural studies in addition to race theory, ask whether we can use Buddhist philosophy to put an end to racism and white supremacy just as we apply teachings to cut through our sense of “self.”— Tricycle: The Buddist Review
Buddhism and Whiteness is highly recommended to anyone interested in modern Buddhism, as well as an interesting alternative lens for those studying the development of racism in North America and Europe.