Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

for measuring opinion on matters relating to their BKWSU experiences
Forum rules A forum specifically for polls on any topic relating to Brahma Kumaris. Anyone can vote here or discussion the poll. General conversion about the issues is best kept to the Commonroom.

Do you find yourself in this birth as a BK / ex-BK soul in black body?

Yes
4
17%
No
20
83%
 
Total votes : 24

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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post30 Nov 2016

onthor wrote:For the farther we go from the 'when' a thing happened the harder it is to know exactly what happened because historical revisionism is ALWAYS taking place and I mean ALWAYS. Why? Because there is a POWER narrative that has to be maintained at all costs ... the key concepts is POWER - just like that the BKWSU finds itself mixed up in.

"History is written by the Victor"

For a while, at least but largely true, however, what might be called "Western liberal intellectuals" have become pretty good at deconstructing it and piecing together a better picture. I'd say it take a certain distance from the events until the fullest picture can be constructed ... and that this also applies to BKism too.

Although, some a somewhat Stalinist or Talibanist manner, the BKs have gone out of their way to destroy or re-write the past, significant enough evidence has been unconvered to expose a bigger picture. One that, somewhat arrogantly, they've still not answered and still attempt to bury.

BK history was been written or re-written by the "victors" or Imperialists within the Brahma Kumaris ... although "victors" is hardly an apt word for those who just happened to hold on for the longest (for the lack of other options in life), except in the case of Prakashmani outcasting Virendra Dev Dixit for asking too many question (who then went on to start the PBKs).

Onthor, are you Black or Black African? What was your experience of being Black or African within the BKWSU? Or, if not, how did you see Black people's experience within BKism during your time?

I would not portray the BKs as obviously racist. Certainly not "all BKs". I would have portray the early to middle period BKs as being Sindi Supremecists or SIndi Exceptionalist (as in, from "American exceptionalism"). Are Indians, in general, as racist, nationalist or classist as anyone else? For sure ... there's an old saying from Gandhi's time in South Africa that went something like, "The whites looked down on the blacks, the blacks looked down on the white, and the Indians looked down on both of them" ... but the practise of "soul conscious" or viewing others as soul beings not body would have to counter that.

I don't really know what the inner circle or elders attitudes towards lower castes and "lower races" were. That sort of thing was not spoken and a generally benign, patronising attitude adopted. Of course, in orthodox BKism, it was a simple "them" and "us" ... the whole world except for them were untouchable.

Of course, not all Blacks or Africans are "downtrodden" ... many of them never got up in the first place. I tend to see the maladoption of Christianity by Blacks as a manifestation of some kind of desire to be White, to take on the White man's robes physically and intellectually, the "White man", of course, using the church as a means of controlling and exploiting of the "lower orders" ... a role or game, particularly in the African churches, a caste of Black men are more than willing to step into and emulate.

But what then of Black or African taking on BKism? What is it they are doing? Picking up a white middle class "orientalist" path?

We write our past with the notion that we fell into BKism as an expression of "truth seeking", "god seeking", a desire to acquire some mystical power or ability etc ... but what were we really doing? Were we just odd balls, or sensitive souls, who did not fit in elsewhere, the BKs accepted us and we started to mould ourselves to them?

Of course, I suppose not all BKs were trapped by such "high minded seeking" ... they were just sad, broken, neurotic, peaceless and it was the "Peace of Mind" angle that caught them/us.

Amongst Caribbean Blacks, was there a greater acclimatisation with Indians because of the cultural mixes there?
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post30 Nov 2016

Phew & Wow ex-l I have to digest some of that before attempting to respond on any aspect that fits in with my interests,. As always you say it as you feel it, dareisay that for folks unaccustomed to your forthrightness, some of your expressions could stir-up a response that would not be part of the late Martin Luther King's playbook.

brb
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post30 Nov 2016

One thing I am very conscious of - from direct experience - is that there is no one "Black" experience and one has to question the agenda of anyone who is pushing the unity agenda.

I mean, look at Pan-Africanism ... great idea, but what a disaster.

The British Black, the American Black, the *very* many different African Blacks ... even each island culture in the Caribbean is different from others. Some as different as, say, Black and "Asian".

I think you have to be specific about which one you speak.

Then there's the issue of adopt others experience as one own, especially when it comes to coopting injustices or suffering in the say that, say, modern Jews or Chinese often want to do of wartime experience. I think it's a little unjust and immoral but that it's a very human quality to do. A sort of reverse projection ... projecting some exaggerated past onto oneself and taking it on as part of one's indentity ... for whatever purpose. Often just for money, power, or a disguise of other activities.

It happens in BKism too. I can say I did it to myself too taking on the idea of the melodramas of Om Mandli ... the BKs are not immune to adopting bogus persecution myths either. Bogus because their early persecution myth is precisely that. Bogus. Contrary to the facts. I suspect they even brewed up their persecution myths having seen how well other religions benefit from their own ones.

I suppose we are talking about the power and influence of archetypes, e.g. the archetypal "downtrodden" and oppressed Black, but also the damaging effect of the power of negative imaginings.

As BKs do we take on the events which happen to early BKs as "our experience", our "family" history?

If so, and within that context, are Black BKs equally discarding their Black culture/history/family to adopt the BK identity?

Of course, something we not addressed here is that implicit to BKism is Karma ... slavery, racism and oppression was your/their own fault. It was your/their own karma. It was not the White man's fault, they must have been very bad in their past lives ... slavers, racists and oppressors ... in order to have had to experience that, in order to have to have had learned the lesson not to.

Not my necessarily opinion, but clearly the real BK point of view ... Karma.

Otherwise, how do they explain it?

If they deny is was Blacks karma ... just like they will now skirt around and deny the Holocaust was Jews' Karma (which has been said in the past) ... then how do they explain these political correct exemptions to the "Law of Karma"?
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Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post30 Nov 2016

Word Origin and History for black

The meaning "black person, African" is from 1620s (perhaps late 13C, and blackamoor is from 1540s).

Regards

onthor
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Pink Panther

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post01 Dec 2016

All words are metaphors. No word is the thing it’s naming.

“The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor; it is the one thing that cannot be learnt from others; and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in the dissimilar." - Aristotle


That last part implies the converse, to be able to see what is dissimilar in things we consider similar.

The First suggestion in Buddha’s Eightfold Path is 'Samya Ditti’ which is usually translated as ”right view” but is better translated as ”complete view” (sam - being related to the latin ”sum” as in "total”).

There is also a paradox with colour. Consider this.

The colour which normal-sighted people see (perceive), of anything, is from the spectrum of light that is reflected off the object. The other parts of the spectrum have been absorbed by the object, not reflected.

So , is the actual colour of the object what has been rejected by the object, the frequency not absorbed, or that which the object ‘accepts”, absorbs, that is not reflected? Are we seeing. in fact, the negative?

Then, consider the limitations of our sense perception, consider all the value judgements we make based on all these limited senses (this colour good, that colour bad) and the ways we have of of thinking about them?

If you are getting interested in words like ”archetype” you may also like to look up words like ”ontology” and ”epistemology”. Edifying fun!
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post01 Dec 2016

The meaning "black person, African" is from 1620s (perhaps late 13C, and blackamoor is from 1540s).

Something we don't know much about were racialistic sentiments in the ancient past. Obviously there has been racial mixing going back for 1,000s of years. Personally, I would actually bet on racialism being less prevalent in the past than today, as ideas have an entropic tendency to become more fixed and concrete as they age.

But what is your personal experience of this within BKWSU, onthor ... if that is what you are hinting at?

And, more importantly, in anyway on eath could BKism be decribed as a tool of Black liberation ... Black evolution ... Black power?

Is it a valid Black path to take, or is it just another kind of soul slavery, swopping White masters for Indian ones ... and accepting castration (celibacy/sexual denial) as part of the equation?

How are the BKs doing converting Black people and Africans? How is it for a Black BK going to India where racism is far more open and they have an obsession over skin lightness? How have and do the BKs use or not use Black internally for their public relationships etc ... (they used to have a real thing for light skinned blond/blondes in my day!)?

I don't know where and when the quote, "If you’re White you’re alright; If you’re Brown stick around; If you’re Black get back" arose (there was later addition, "If you're yellow, you're mellow"). I think it entered the popular consciousness from an old Lead Belly (Huddie William Ledbetter) song.

Does it apply within the BKWSU?

I ask because I don't even seen many really dark skinned Dravidian Indian rising within the BKWSU. Try doing a search for "Indian racism towards Blacks", or something, and include into your conception Indian BKs' backstory.

In India, I'd say Blacks tend not even to make it into the caste system. They're still seen as being largely sub-human. The idea of "anti-racism" or equal opportunities is still in the dark ages over there. Black - and this was the context used in the old Murlis and trance messages "God" spoke before they were whitewashed - was synonymous with or symbolic of ugly or spiritually debased. In my time, the title "Shyam Sunder" for Krishna (the BKs claim Lekhraj Kirpalani is Krishna) was the Beautiful and the Ugly. Shyam referred to Krishna's colour as the dark Blue Black, the colour of the evening sky. The explanation given for why Krishna was portrayed as both White - like their Golden Aged deities are - and Black, was that he was the one who was the beautiful and become the one who was most impure. Black.

See, for example, 'India Is Racist, And Happy About It', or There’s no escaping racism in India. This, for example, is straight out of "Jim Crow era" USA, and yet it happened this year.
To Be Young, Gifted and Black

To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean

In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black,
And that's a fact!

Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There's a world waiting for you
This is a quest that's just begun

When you feel really low
Yeah, there's a great truth you should know
When you're young, gifted and black
Your soul's intact

- Nina Simone
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onthor

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Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post02 Dec 2016

The BK environment in which I 'grew' was one in which respect was accorded to ALL students and visitors as would befit an institution professing to be a Godly place. Besides which, if one is steadfast & conducts oneself in a manner that evidences that they know themselves as a child of the Creator (as is everything else part of the great Creation) then there is nothing any human can do to shake them.

To go off topic for a while: A question I ask myself is, "Did I experience a heightened spiritual awareness and gain any spiritual wisdom whilst studying Gyan?"
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ex-l

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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post02 Dec 2016

Are there predominantely Black BK centers just as there are predominantely White or Indian ones?

Did they develop Black iconography in the same way, say, BK Russia developed Caucasian iconography of blonde angels and Golden Aged deities?

I certainly don't remember Black angels and deities in my time, so did all Black BKs assume and accept they were going to be light skinned in their "heavenly births" and accept that?

When were the first Blacks to arise in the Kalpa ... in the Coper Age or later? And through what circumstances ... degradation of the soul?

Did anyone question the BK Seniors in such a way? Were there any Black Seniors, or had they not "stuck around" long enough to become trusted? Did their faces fit? Were elements of Black cultures (or cultures) allowed to enter BKism in the same way elements of everything from Sikhism to Judaism did, or was it considered too body conscious or cultureless ... or simply not good for business? Or were separate/segrated Black cornershops started up to specifically target that niche, e.g. in the UK, South Africa, or the Caribbean, did they have 'Black' and 'Indian' centres? How do you think Blacks felt in the predominately White middle class centres?
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Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post02 Dec 2016

ex-l, I think I have already written elsewhere that there are a number of reasons why much of the iconography, be it visual or oral, was already within my 'compass' so to speak. In part this was because of my place of birth but also because of my spiritual endeavours prior to meeting the BKWSU.

Thinking back about it now - and in the light of certain aspects of this topic - I could choose to see that, "I was not a blank slate" ;) ;) ;) or as one would say with a BK hat on, "God knows His children; and irregardless of where they are located He knows how/when/where to find them. Skin colour is of NO consequence to the Creator.
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Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post02 Dec 2016

With all due respect ex-l these sorts of questions can be said to reveal a degree of body-consciousness that is not reflective of the spiritual tenets of Gyan as I know them to be. Are you playing devil's advocate? Or are we to see these queries as a stark revelation of the saying that "many are called but few are chosen"?

ex-l, In my time a I NEVER heard any murmurings about the so-called lack of ethnic diversity in the composition of the icons, and NO-ONE would ever dare imagine that they had open access to my ears with such matters. ex-l have you taken a real close look at the heads on belt around the waist of some pictures of Goddess Kali? Take a real good look ex-l. Look as if you ain't ever seen it before. You can even use a magnifying glass. And if you care to, come tell us what you see on her belt.

ex-l it is abundantly clear (to my way of 'seeing') that you do not have any clue how spiritually attuned the African really is. Were I to put my (charitable) BK hat on, one way to look at those questions is that they are symbolic of a spiritual immaturity or perhaps a spiritual development that has been arrested insofar as BK teachings are concerned. As for what might be said of them in a worldly context ... Well if you are NOT one of the 3 who answered yes to the survey question, I can assure you that you are not saying or asking anything that an AFRICAN ain't heard before and will not hear again

Again please do not get me wrong for what I am saying is not intended to hurt, belittle or in any way underestimate your spiritual efforts whilst a BK or since you left. From your questions and comments about the Caribbean I must say that they do not tally with my knowledge or experience of people's form the region. As I know of caribbean life in days gone by, the facts of national economic conditions went a long way to fostering a spirit of togetherness irregardless of race.

Folks who live in the so-called first world - or after leaving somehow fail to recognise the benefits of a third world life experience despite the relative hardships - are so 'blessed' by the facilities at their disposal that they have lost sight of the intrinsic nature that the human possesses to pull together in times of hardship.

And I am not talking about cultures or environments in which the inhabitants have developed compelling imperatives to resort to 'silos' of any sort. Anyway is not spiritual awareness meant to bring us around from that stuff?

ex-l, you may be quite sincere but I really cannot be bothered to answer some of those questions; truth is that it even pains me to read them but hey maybe am just a sensitive sort. I repeat myself unapologetically:
I don't think that there is anything in the history or social development of a non-African that can ever enable them to grasp the heavy load that the African bears. ... But like I said elsewhere, in the final analysis the African will have to find ways to suck it up and yet still keep rising because the alternative does not bear thinking about. It scares me real bad to think about it.

regards

onthor
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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post02 Dec 2016

ex-l are you a moderator on this forum?
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Re: Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post02 Dec 2016

onthor wrote:ex-l have you taken a real close look at the heads on belt around the waist of some pictures of Goddess Kali? Take a real good look ... come tell us what you see on her belt.

Indian men with moustaches' heads or skulls mostly.

I read your quote the first time but I don't think it's well rooted in the reality of the big picture. It's like a Jew born in the USA long after WWII ended, claiming Jewish suffering is some how more exceptional and of a different nature than the suffering of all other people (which they do and I would also disagree with) and that only they can understand it.

The topic is about being Black in the BKWSU. I am asking not you just but whoever read this about their experience and what they saw.

You're talking about how things/spirituality should be, I am asking how it is and was in the BKs. For me, "spirituality" means almost nothing. The word is so vague it has lost any meaning.

For example, in the early days of the West, right up until at least the 80s and early 90s, the BKs had a habit of using White males to pioneer new centres - as they were free spirited and independent - and then once the centres were established, parachuted in an Indian Sister to become center-in-charge. I'd say it happened in the USA, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Russia.

This often led to problems and bad feelings because whilst the Indian Sisters were submissive, conformist and "loyal" to the Seniors (good snitches), they often lacked other skills and experiences.

How many Black center-in-charges, zone-in-charges or trustees do you know of within the BKWSU ... any?

Do they do the same thing in the Caribbean and West Africa? (Kenya is very Indian).

Historically, the BKs clearly targeted areas where there are a lot of Sindi/Indians first, then middle class White second.

Are there BK centres in Black areas of the cities you know, programmes targetting them?
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Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post02 Dec 2016

You read it ex-l but you cannot see past your own 'pain' even after all these years it seems. ex-l various of your comments on this topic are borderline racist; and some of the rest is so without balance that I can well understand a poster elsewhere on the site who asked whether this platform is run by the infamous (from a BK perspective) anti-Party.

You should address those questions to the BKWSU - I am neither a defender of nor an apologist on their behalf. I personally, never had any interest in being a centre-in-charge. Did you?

If you are under the impression that opening up an attack of the BKWSU on the equal opportunity front on behalf of AFRICANS ought to meet with the approval of what you imagine to be 'poor downtrodden blacks" then I can assure that there is at least one ex-BK who is not in need of that 'support'

To my mind, more important than any one of the those questions you ask is whether or not a person BELIEVED Gyan. It may well be that irregardless of the quality of the efforts we make (subjective), if they are under the influence of "sincere belief" the aspirant may experience benefit of an altogether different nature than would have been the case otherwise.

I am staggered that having spent so much time in Gyan, you seldom seem able to give yourself credit for experiencing anything of lasting positive constructive value.

I never made a lot of what you ask a concern of mine as a BK for I never came to Gyan under any 'especially special special needs' scheme, consequently I don't know the answer to a lot of what you ask. Maybe you are now ready for the role of 'agony uncle or aunt' to aggrieved wannabe centres-in-charge etc. Personally, I have no doubt that GOD has an equal opportunities program.

ex-l I do not know what happened to you whilst you were in Gyan, but I can assure you that I am NOT on this web platform because I have an axe to grind with any of the Seniors or my fellow students or with Shiv Baba. As far as Shiv Baba is concerned my message is that I have moved on to a form of spiritual endeavour that is of my own making, through a relationship with the Creator.

Regards

onthor
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Re: Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...

Post03 Dec 2016

I don’t read anything personal or racist in ex-l’s questions. The topic is "Young, Gifted & Black in the BKWSU ...” and he is asking your experiences. You seem reluctant to state honestly much about yourself or experiences in this context.
ex-l said pertinently in response to your replies.
You're talking about how things/spirituality should be, I am asking how it is and was in the BKs.

You respond with
you seldom seem able to give yourself credit for experiencing anything of lasting positive constructive value.

That is trite. Of course people join and stay because they get "something" from it. They move out from the BKs for different reasons too. Some have no "axe to grind”, others do. That’s their experience and they can grind away if they want. Those without "axe” may not be aware of a lot of things or not even noticed what was going on, blinded by personal satiation.

Rather than rebuking ex-l, or questioning his motives, and rather than telling us what your experiences were not, or what the BK philosophy says (we all know), why not share what your experiences on this matter were? Maybe they were great? How would we know? Why get defensive? To me, it you come across as if there is something you don't want to admit to yourself.

I am not black. But I lived in BK places that had a significant proportion of black BKs. In personal conversations, they all would convey that they did find ”colour consciousness” pervaded the BK culture at different times and situations. I experienced attitudes of discrimination, not based on colour but on ”social standing” within the BKs. We’ve all seen the fuss and exceptions made for people of fame or status or wealth, regardless of ”spirituality” (a nebulous word at the best of times)

I had a conversation with a "madhubaniwassi” from south India who was very dark, easily mistaken (and often was) for a West Indian or African. I got to know him over a number of visits. He told me in one-on-one conversations there was definitely discrimination based on skin colour and caste for Indian BKs. His aim in the ”Golden Age” was to live as far away as possible from the "royal families” and be with nature. His distaste for ‘spiritual snobbery’ was palpable. That said a lot!

Those in positions of BK privilege of course dismiss any discussions on this. As far as they are concerned, if they aren’t at the receiving end of it, or if they are doing it unconsciously, it's not happening (whilst when they are at the receiving end of criticism, they don't attempt to investigate the validity and rectify it, that’s too ”worldly”). They will be spiritually loyal and call it ”disservice” or even "anti-party”, the way politicians will say someone is unpatriotic or treacherous for going against their party line.

Not even sure where you live, Onthor, but it may be interesting to hear of experiences. This is all about reviewing, deconstructing, being honest, letting go. It's not about defending past choices, just seeing them for what they were. We were (are) all idiots to some extent. It is certain that the way we see the past now will be seen differently in a decade from now (you’d hope).
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Young, Gifted & AFRICAN ... no longer a Black ex-BK

Post03 Dec 2016

PinkPanther this was the answer I offered to that question:
onthor wrote:The BK environment in which I 'grew' was one in which respect was accorded to ALL students and visitors as would befit an institution professing to be a Godly place. Besides which, if one is steadfast & conducts oneself in a manner that evidences that they know themselves as a child of the Creator (as is everything else part of the great Creation) then there is nothing any human can do to shake them.

To go off topic for a while: A question I ask myself is, "Did I experience a heightened spiritual awareness and gain any spiritual wisdom whilst studying Gyan?"
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