Saturday, February 4, 2012

Racism, Ron Paul, and Buddhism

 Last night I felt foolishly uninformed.  It was a black psychologist, a brown judge, and pink me, talking about the Republican candidates.  I admitted warm feelings toward Ron Paul, the avuncular, self-effacing old doctor who loves the Constitution.  I've only been watching the debates, not reading much about context and history. None of these guys can win, so I don't worry about them. But the debates are fascinating.  My companions had the history and context.

I learned that Ron Paul has a history that suggests he promoted racist views in the past or allowed them to be distributed in his name. Is he a racist now? Should I worry?

A Buddhist cares deeply about racism in any form.  (1) A scientifically trained Buddhist knows that the concept of race itself is an invalid construct. (You're already on line, look it up).  (2) A practical Buddhist can see that people from various places have different physical characteristics  -- so much so that you can often guess a person's genetic/geographical ancestry at a glace. Nigerians don't often look like Norwegians. Even Koreans and Japanese tend to show differences in stature and nose shape.  So?

We are so deeply connected that even the notion of "individual person" is ultimately an invalid construct, like race. We don't all look alike, and we haven't all had the same experiences. But finally, we are one.

So I don't care if Ron Paul is racist or not. He'll never have higher office than congressman for a Texas district, and his constituents have to decide about this character.

I do care deeply about how I deal with differences and the profound bond among all people, everywhere, and with every sentient being.