A New Case of Appropriation?

There's been buzz going around lately about a music video put out by Coldplay featuring Beyonce that is set in India. Brown Girl Magazine asked people for their responses and here are their thoughts...Hymn For the Weekend: Cultural Appropriation or Not?Representation or Appropriation?This article at The Independent rounds up many responses, many of them positive or not seeing what the issue is."These videos, along with Coldplay’s, continue a long, dubious tradition of depicting I … [Read more...]


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Panel: Honoring or Appropriation?

My friend Andrea is often my consultant when it comes to issues of cultural mis-appropriation. She and my husband were the first to teach me about these issues. I have learned so much from both of them about racism and how what I do could be seen as inappropriate or stealing. I am so grateful for their input!Andrea found this wonderful podcast and sent it to me. It is a panel discussion among Pagans of various traditions (and a white devotee of Kali!) about cultural misappropriation. This is … [Read more...]


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Hoping to be Born Brown

(Note: I am on my honeymoon this week, so if your comment doesn't show up right away, give me a day or two!)Most of the time I'm just living my life, trying to be a good person, trying to live up to the ideals my religion sets for me: to help others, to see everyone as myself (or at least as family), to react calmly rather than in anger.Every so often I stumble on something that forces me to confront a larger issue that is always in the background of my life: the cultural … [Read more...]


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Awareness of Your Own Ethnicity

Years ago I was reading a book in the library. It was a memoir of a white man who became paralyzed as an adult. I don't remember much about the story, but one part really stuck in my mind.  He spoke of a friend of his who was black and how that friend mentioned off hand once about the feeling you always have, the awareness of your race.The author said that at the time he had no idea what his friend meant. Then he started using a wheelchair and he understood. He became a member of a minority … [Read more...]


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When Is a Hat Just a Hat?

Okay, now that you know my deep dark secret, that I am terrifically fascinated with religious head covering, here's an interesting question...Where is the line between regular thing you would put on your head and a religious expression?I find that I have lines drawn in my mind, but I'm not sure that they are accurate or where exactly I have gotten the rules from. Example: hats are fine. We all wear hats in cold weather. Doesn't say anything about your religion. Hijabs are not okay. … [Read more...]


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Confession: I’m Fascinated By Hijabs

Personally I don't feel that me dressing like a Hindu, behaving like a Hindu, and generally living like a Hindu is at all appropriative. I am a Hindu, so I think it's appropriate! Sure, there aren't particular clothes that are labeled as Hindu, but there are clearly clothes in which you fit in during Hindu worship and clothes in which you do not.I'll tell you what is entirely inappropriate of me. I covet some of the religious expressions of religions that are not my own!I'm reluctant to … [Read more...]


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The Hardest Thing About Blogging

There's something about human nature that no matter how much praise we get, one criticism burns so deeply it seems to negate all the praise and we fixate on that one negative comment.As it turns out, blogging is probably best for people with an ability to brush off criticism. People who have internalized that not everyone is going to love you or love what you're doing. And so be it.I know that in my mind, but my heart has a hard time accepting it.Blogging means putting yourself out … [Read more...]


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Russel Peters: Race and Culture

Russel Peters is an Indian stand up comic and he's got some great material. He discusses race a lot in his shows and the other day my friend and I were watching one of his routines and he started talking about how race and culture are different things. This was very interesting to me because I think I'm exactly the reverse of him. He says he felt like he was Indian until he arrived in India and it struck him just how Canadian he is. Because racially he's Indian and culturally he's Canadian. I … [Read more...]


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