Racial Affinity Groups

In Response to the Murder of George Floyd
A Message from the Triangle Insight Board of Directors
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Having admirable people as friends, companions, and colleagues is actually the whole of the holy life.
~ The Buddha

Along with Buddhist practitioners throughout the country, Triangle Insight feels called to address the continuing violence against People of Color, as well as the many expressions of systemic racism in our society. Growing out of this commitment, and with reflection upon a number of resources, including Ruth King’s Mindful of Race workshops and book, we have developed Racial Affinity Groups to support us in this important work.

Known as RAGs, Racial Affinity Groups are small, racially homogeneous groups that use the dharma, their practice, and mindful sharing to deepen self-awareness around issues of racial belonging and racial habits of harm. This deeper self-awareness, along with the acceptance we bring each other and our shared understanding of the dharma, help us to heal and act more skillfully in the world.

Waking up to the realities of racial legacy, conditioning, and systems is a challenging process, and essential to Racial Affinity Groups is the development of safety, trust, and intimacy. This allows members to share openly and deeply, and the heart of the dharma is enriched in our practice, our daily lives, and the collective experience of the greater society. To support this process groups follow Triangle Insight’s Mindful Sharing Guidelines and Ruth King’s Racial Affinity Group Guidelines.

Some have wondered why groups with goals of equality and inclusion would be racially homogeneous. As Ruth King states in her important book, Mindful of Race, “… given the unintended harm caused from unawareness and cumulative impact when we gather across races, we need a different way, or perhaps an alternative way, to explore the ignorance and innocence of our racial conditioning and racial character with those of the same race.” In this way racial affinity groups create a safe container for this difficult work and lead to greater understanding and interconnectedness for participants and the greater community.

Our Racial Affinity Groups are open to:
– Those who participate in the Triangle Insight Meditation Community.
– Committed Buddhist practitioners who attend another sangha.

These groups are an outgrowth of our sangha and are integrated with our dharma talks, practice, and study. This integration helps deepen connection among group members and the sangha as a whole, and participation in Triangle Insight is a valuable part of this process. Those who attend another sangha and join one of our Racial Affinity Groups might find it beneficial to experience our teachers and sangha, and they’re welcome to attend Triangle Insight on Wednesday evening as convenient.

If you’re interested in joining a group or have questions or suggestions, you are invited to talk with Beth Lauderdale, RAG Coordinator, or email Beth at [email protected]. This program is a work in progress, and we welcome your input.

We are inspired by the dedication of our spiritual community. May our Racial Affinity Groups be of great benefit to all.

Kalyana Mitta-Racial Affinity Coordinating Team
RAG Coordinator: Beth Lauderdale
KM Coordinator: Sarah Tillis
Advisors: Beth Lauderdale, Tamara Share, Sarah Tillis