I promise, this is succinct. Yesterday, my fellow writer Tom Swiss, spoke directly about his recent writing on Cultural Appropriation. Both his original piece There is No Such Thing As Cultural Appropriation, and my response Cultural Appropriation: To Deny This is Racism have gone viral. Tom shared two rather lengthy articles, one called The Cultural Appropriation Controversy: A Summary, the other, a Detailed Reply to a Critic.
Tom Swiss and I do not share the same ideologies, for this much we agree. Tom considers this a “blog fight”, I however do not. I consider this addressing the needs of the marginalized voice in a forum of pagan writing. At this point the issue is moot, because we are no longer talking about the marginalized voice, we are talking about whose opinion is more valid. His or mine. Tom defended his thesis with a self defined 10,000 words. His responses continue to dismiss the margin and do not really articulate the overarching concerns voiced about the overarching impact of divisive writing.
Tom made a request of me to retract my statement that he is a racist or that his thesis about cultural appropriation is one based in a white power stance. I do not have anything to retract, because I never called him a racist. However he makes an argument that I infer such, and this leads to a host of implications about character. Tom has made a request, and in as much, I will modified some language of my original piece to be less aggressive in tone, redirecting away from Tom Swiss and back onto the issue at hand, which is the marginalized voice. His thesis being based in white power dynamics, however remains. I respect Tom’s right to autonomy and opinion to publish what he wishes and as such will publish accordingly, as Patheos Pagan has declined to moderate either of us.
In my last article, I referenced that I would no longer generate new content for Patheos and Alone in Her Presence while I reflected. Many people have emailed and messaged me about this. People who don’t even agree with me, have said “stick out the fight!” Thing is, I’m not here to fight. A blog fight, a real life fight, or any other kind. Unlike Tom, my dying breath wouldn’t be supporting a constitutional right to Free Speech.
My all time favorite line from Shakespeare is, “Get me my robe, put on my crown, I have immortal longings in me.” It’s the line Cleopatra says to her chambermaids before she kills herself. See, the “immortal longing” is Cleopatra’s desire to see Antony, her beloved. @immortal_longings is my instagram feed, my tarot reader moniker when I am public reading, because the only thing I would truly die for, is love.
The bottom line is love for me is the Goddess; in all ways, always, a Love divine. That is what I write from and its from that place I advance. Not ‘Paganism’, or “witchcraft” or any other names popularly given. I could write Alone In Her Presence anywhere, because the message is usually universal. I chose to write it here, because I want to offer this voice of the Goddess as a modern perspective of inclusivity to this community. I feel that message has gone askew with this current thread, and I am deeply sorry if in bringing awareness to the issue of cultural appropriation, I have shamed, hurt, retraumatized or other wise created division, where there has always been inclusion and hospitality within my writing.
I hold true to a few principles: That all is Goddess; in, among, and around us. That Shri doesn’t allow a misalignment. And that Love is Still the Law. My immortal longing is that through this storm we find more love, more compassion, and more radiance, regardless of whether I am writing here or not.
Belovedly yours, Erick