“The relocation of yoga to thin white bodies aestheticizes it by white colonial aesthetic standards; the divorce from Hinduism and all Indian religion and philosophy sanitizes it (one might say bleaches it) to cater to the white colonial palate.Whitewashed, reduced to peace-and-healing, yoga in the West is a marketable, digestible, low-commitment version of what yoga is to the people that it is stolen from”
Similarly, cultural appropriation should be called out — each and every time, without hesitation or apology. But the list of people and systems that need to be called out should go broader and deeper. We need to call out our entire system, as well as our hearts and our minds. This is not as daunting as it may seem at first glance. Yes, it is a bit more work to address underlying systems than the brightly lit symptoms of that system. But fighting to change the history textbooks in your kid’s 7th grade social studies class to reflect the true and diverse history of our world will go further in rendering cultural appropriation a relic of the past. Instead of (or more accurately, in addition to) requesting a list of ways in which to not appropriate other cultures, concerned white people should be investigating ways to dismantle the very privilege that makes their appropriation of other cultures possible.
“How can settler Canadians claim the “right” to do anything remotely like this culturally created art? And how can their intrusion into these spheres of Indigenous experience represent reconciliation? It takes a certain warped perspective to even conceive of this. Williamson’s essay describes what that perspective looks like.”
“For reconciliation to be effective as conceived, we must be willing to reconcile, willing to hear apologies, willing to share our trauma with others, willing to heal and willing to forgive. I emphasize willingness because it exposes another point of erasure. What happens to the irreconcilable Indian? The one who is angry, resentful, outspoken and critical of the process?
An irreconcilable Indian cannot exist in a system of reconciliation. There is no space for her. She is either completely erased or she is condemned for not existing in the newest Aboriginal-friendly space created by her oppressors.”
“We need to get over the point where we are apologizing for continual behaviour that has been ongoing for decades…to move beyond conflating free speech with ongoing colonial appropriation” – Wente
‘The problem lies not with you doing the practice, but with how yoga is commonly practiced and commercialized in Western contexts like the US.’
“Metal yoga?” Really? Is this what it’s come to? Indian Sramanas would be more than a little horrified by “metal yoga” and “beer yoga.”
The history of colonisation in India means that the practice of yoga in countries with colonial ties, like Australia, can never truly be a friendly exchange. In fact, during their colonial rule, the British banned certain practices of yoga which they perceived as threatening and ‘less acceptable’ Hindu practices. As a policy of conciliatio
n towards some aspects of Indian culture was pursued by the
British in the later years of their rule, the Brits promoted a re-appropriated more physical ‘modern’ yoga which is more akin
to the postural yoga taught in many classes in Australia today.
by Andrea Smith
While both Black and Native studies scholars have rightfully argued that it is important to look at the distinctness of both anti-Blackness and Indigenous genocide, sometimes this focus on the distinctness obscures how, in fact, they are mutually reinforcing. There is much to be said about these interconnections, and this work has been explored by many in this blog series, in the #decolonizesaam Twitter discussion on anti-Blackness, and elsewhere. Here, I want to focus on how anti-Blackness and Indigenous genocide are connected through colonialism, and further expand on how colonialism constructs both the labor of Indigenous and Black peoples, in particular and different ways, in order to secure the settler state. In this article I want to focus on how settler colonialism is enabled through the erasure of colonialism against Black peoples as well as the erasure of Indigenous labor, with a particular emphasis on some of…
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