A movement of American Buddhists, mostly converts, who are seeking to create an alternative to the predominant white Buddhist community is emerging.
The Huffington Post (December 11) reports that Buddhists from native American, Hispanic and African-American backgrounds have organized separate faith communities or “sanghas” in various cities in this fledgling movement. Known as People of Color Sang-has, participants say that they feel excluded from white-led Buddhist groups and in turn prohibit whites from participating in their rituals and meditation services.
Most of the converts to Buddhism have been white and while there have been attempts to integrate with Asians or “ethnic” Buddhists, the former camp tends to stress meditation more.While those in the people of color movement also are mediation-oriented and acknowledge that ideally Buddhism is color blind, they claim that an exclusive European white cultural style marks many convert sanghas, despite the talk and policies of “diversity” they adopt (such as the growing number of “diversity councils”).
In its place, People of Color Buddhists want to integrate their traditions into Buddhism, such as native American rituals.