Panel: Honoring or Appropriation?

Panel: Honoring or Appropriation? July 30, 2015

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 an issue that comes up for both people pursuing neo-Pagan traditions and also us non-Indian Hindus. The excuse that we like to use is that we aren’t stealing traditions, we’re honoring them. So this panel asks what do we mean by that…

The fundamental question is how do you honor the cultural tradition your Gods or Goddesses come from without taking it away from the native practitioners. 

I wasn’t able to find a visual version of the podcast, but here is the audio and I highly, highly, highly recommend listening to it! Pantheacon 2015 Panel Discussion #2: “Honoring or Appropriation: What is the Difference?”  moderated by T. Thorn Coyle

Some Highlights:

Listening without defensiveness even when you think you’re right.


Colonialism: Having things taken from you (at 20 min)

Separate but equal (at 35 min)

What I have rights to and what I have to earn (at 40 min)

American culture is a creole culture at this point (at 42 min)

Blood and ancestry do matter (at 44 min)

Sometimes uncomfortable stuff is right (at 47 min)

Out of context, playing (49 min) tantra (50 min)

Getting to the root is important. If you want to be Hindu but you don’t have any native Hindu friends, then you need to find those people and learn from them. When I started understanding that I was a Hindu I had a couple of friends of Indian origin and none I talked religion with. The first thing I did, the very first step, was going to the Hindu Student’s Association at my graduate school.

She comes to you. not you going to her (57 min) and willingness to do the work. it doesn’t stay shiny.

No way to get back to before (1:09 min)

Past life were this (1:12) Those people are oppressed today and what are you doing to help them. “If you’re not going to help those people, don’t use this prayer” are you treating them as family?

Attribution (1:18) “native design” this is the issue with yoga and color runs

Causing harm (1:19) “it’s about knowing what happens when you do it, not that you can’t do it” informed actions

Taking on culture without the consequences (1:25)

A ton of fantastic issues and questions raised! It’s a must-listen for all of us non-Indian Hindus.


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