White Hindu Voices

In a world of social justice and discussion of cultural misappropriation, this is a subject that has been weighing on my mind for a while. One of the common complaints that people of color have against white people is that white people's voices are louder and heard more than theirs. That our opinions are valued more and paid attention to more. That our thoughts are considered more valid even when speaking about something that is in the culture and history of a person of color.So it is … [Read more...]


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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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Yoga and Cultural Appropriation

This is a big topic right now and there's a lot to discuss. It came up particularly recently when some students at a university questioned whether the campus yoga class was appropriative. I think it was a very good thing to wonder and to bring up. I'm proud of them for asking the question. I have been very lucky to be approached with a guest post from Pierce Salguero, who studies issues like this from a Historian's perspective. The post originally appeared on AsianMedicineZone.com Bio: I am … [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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Racial Identity: me and Rachel Dolezal

I've been hearing about this situation with Rachel Dolezal for a few days and biding my time trying to understand my thoughts about it. She's a woman who identifies as Black racially but has no known Black ancestry. When it came to light that this woman-- who was a chapter president of NAACP-- had White parents, debate and outrage and discussion ensued. It's a discussion that really goes beyond this one woman's behavior and highlights that racial identity is not as simple or clear cut as we like … [Read more...]


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Using White Privilege for Good

In the last few years I have been fortunate enough to be connected with many people who are exploring the ideas of racism and racial privilege. I had a lot of learning to do and it's an ongoing process as I learn to set aside my own opinions to really listen to the opinions of those whose voices are not as easily heard as mine. (Here are some great essays and cartoons to get you started if this is a new concept for you too!)Even when I'm not being racist myself and even though I'm not per … [Read more...]


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White Hindu Stereotypes

UPDATE: I've caused some offense to my friends and I must apologize.  I didn't realizehow the tone here comes across. I did not intend to be judgmental or to say that I'm somehow a "better" Hindu than others. My intention was to show that there is variety in us non-Indian Hindu practictioners but I work hard to not judge other people's spiritual lives. There's no way to compare! My tone may have been influenced by reading the opinions of Indian American young women who find hippies disengenous a … [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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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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