Didi Ananda Devapriya's Meditation and Yoga Blog

Friendship – the Key to Overcoming Prejudices

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Who me, a racist?

Virginia Blackburn was a powerful and beautiful black African American woman working as a social worker at a women’s centre in a poor inner-city neighbourhood in the Midwest.  She was a close  friend and  wise mentor for me in my early twenties. She invited me to different workshops on themes such as overcoming racism, classism, sexism and other types of isms.  I was shocked to discover how these barriers had limited my ability to feel close and connected to others. I considered myself a liberal, open minded person. I had grown up in a multi-ethnic highschool and most of my best friends were non-whites – Korean, Chinese, Indian. I had even gone to a formal dance with a black friend as my date, and had to cringingly endure the loud and embarrassing comments of my somewhat deaf French-Canadian grandfather like  “Oh he is good looking for a black guy!”  I was a good person and I was dedicated to principles of equality for all.  I certainly didn’t see myself as a racist and would never consciously participate in hurting anyone because of their identity.

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