There have been some very extreme comments on the blog recently, particularly on the post Proud White Hindu?. It’s an interesting pendulum between the acceptance and encouragement at the panel and the hatred and anger in these comments. [My husband says I need to put a trigger warning because I share a sampling of the comments and they are deeply disturbing]
These comments may be hard to read (keep reading this post for a sampling of the comments). But I don’t consider these two people to be “trolls.” I think trolls are those who try to needle you into a reaction just to watch you be upset. I think these people are genuinely hurt and upset. They want me to stop and maybe if they had said these things eight years ago I would have, but at this point I don’t feel personally attacked by these comments. I understand why some people are angry that I claim to be Hindu.
I understand and yet I keep doing it anyway.
At first one might think that these comments are too vile and hate-filled to be left up. I think most bloggers would probably just delete them. But as I practice confronting my “white fragility” I remember that people who have been oppressed are not required to be polite to their oppressors. They are allowed to feel and express their rage. They don’t have to tread with care.
Am I an opressor?
Obviously I hate to think that I could be. But I benefit from systemic racism and growing up white has left me with that subconscious impulse that I can do anything I want.
Here’s something a friend reposted on Facebook that feels very relevant to me:
Dear descendants of the colonizers:
I know that it’s fun and exciting to discover another person’s spiritual practices.
The headdresses, the dream catchers, the chants, the circles, the feathers…
Gosh, it’s like a whole new world has opened up!
So, you buy the dashiki cloth, you take on the name of a Hindu priestess, and start inviting other descendants of the colonizers into your empowerment retreats so you can hum, breathe, and clasp hands with the sounds of the sea clapping on the shore behind you.
Such load of crap.
Because all you’re doing is doing as your ancestors have done.
You’re taking what is not yours.
You’re Columbusing traditions which have been practiced by Indigenous, Brown, and Black peoples for centuries.
And you’re doing it for profit!
Let me tell you this – the gods aren’t happy.
So, instead of attracting love and light, you attract darkness and anger as the descendants of the colonized ask you to stop worshipping at the altar of appropriation, extraction, and theft.
How about this?
Discover your ancestors’ indigenous spiritual practices.
The ones they “forgot” to teach you as they were busy pillaging, stealing, and gaslighting.
The spiritual practices they abandoned so they could adopt an identity based on nothing more than skin colour.
Yeah, those ones.
Teach yourself the ways of your Celtic, Scandinavian, Baltic, Normandy, Germanic, Viking, Jute, Angle, or Saxon ancestors.
Discover your indigenous spiritual practices, folklores, mythologies, symbols, and narratives.
Do the work to uncover your roots, instead of doing harm by digging up someone else’s.
Then, teach other descendants of the colonizers what you’ve learned.
This work will not be easy.
The work of uncovering your true spiritual practices.
Because it has been CENTURIES since anyone in your bloodline has had any interest in reclaiming their indigenous culture.
You’ll have to search out obscure books, pay to get access to articles in scholarly journals, interview professors who are experts in these areas.
It may take YEARS to come up with the materials you need to reconnect with your indigenous spirit practices.
But it’ll be worth it.
So, drop the faux goddess name.
Strip off the religious garb that isn’t yours to begin with.
Stop paying to learn from other descendants of the colonizers traditions which were stolen.
As is your spirituality.
A descendant of the Kingdom of Nri
It is difficult to hear that. But it returns to that same idea that Kartashok expresses below that because my ethnic heritage is Celtic, those are the traditions I must practice.
The thing about that is, though, that it assumes that there is equal Truth to be found in every system of faith. Many “hippie” white people like me believe that. I am not so sure. I think if there is a universal Truth at the heart of every religion then in some it is extremely hidden.
I’m not sure that Ms. Hall above is taking into account people who work quietly and sincerely at a “stolen” faith for decades. Are we the same as those who try on exotic-seeming practices and just take the fun parts? The same as those who throw $10,000 yoga retreats without a single native Hindu in attendence? Is that thought just my brain desperately clinging to excuses?
I wish I could say that I don’t profit from my faith, but the fact is that I do. I have this blog and it does give me some income. I think it should be obvious that even without the blog I would still be Hindu every second or every day. And I tell myself that I’m not profiting by taking and reinterpreting Hinduism but by sharing my personal experience and what it’s like to have a faith that doesn’t come from my heritage.
Now let me share the content of some of these comments:
you are EITHER a non-Hindu OR a rootless, soulless, Westernized Hindu.
Hinduism is a religion AND an ethnicity, and they are inseparable.
Long is not ethnically Hindu, which means he’s not a Hindu. Is that too difficult to understand???
Jeffery Long and Carolyn Choate [me] are anti-Hindus who want to destroy the Hindu ethnicity by proselytizing the evil creed that says that the Hindu religion is separate from the Hindu ethnicity.
THIS IS GENOCIDE.This is how EVIL whites feel about you. They want to wipe brown people off the face of the earth. You want to suck the cock of your oppressor and enemy, go ahead. Don’t ask me to come along with you. Whatever helps white genocide and dispossession as fast as possible is the greatest good, and whatever helps them at our expense is the greatest evil from this point on. Survival and reproduction are the two most important needs for ANY race, and whites directly wish to destroy our very existence. Their technological advantage they had over nonwhites historically is being challenged now, and it’s only a matter of time that whites pick on the wrong race. Either way, before they get to India, I want them wiped out in a way that makes their Native American genocide look like a minor tribal war.
The white Celtic-Germanic race is genetically predisposed to evil and colonialism unlike any other race on the planet, they are not even the same species as other human beings. There is no reason to give our religion away to DEMONS ON EARTH! Hinduism is for Indians. Why would I want my ENEMIES to practice my religion?
Indian civilization survives through the genetic presence of the Indian people, specifically the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras who formed the original population of Bharathavarsha in the first place. Enemy aliens have their own cultures and beliefs that they can follow. Hinduism is about ritual purification, not multicultural universalist communism.
Yellows and whites hate us, and it’s only natural that we should hate them back and not want them claiming ownership over our ancestral way of life. Hinduism is about blood and soil, not “saving souls” like Islam and Christianity. We don’t believe that all humans are equal NOR do we believe that all the world’s people should come together. [Side note from Ambaa: I’ve never heard of any teaching of Hinduism saying that humans are not equal and equally divine].
Practicing some fag “exercise-yoga” doesn’t make some Celtic-Teutonic warmongerer demon into a Hindu.
Long’s children are MIXED BREED MUD BLOODS THAT SHOULD BE CURB STOMPED. Not Hindus. Hindu woman breeds with her white master and pops out identity-less hybrid subhumans. And Hindus are supposed to claim them? This is colonial cuckoldry.
Europeans are biological enemies of non-Europeans, and the only good one is a dead one. Drop dead.
Inventing ethnocentrism is the only way to protect the Indian race. Ever heard of cultural appropriation? Whites as it is claim they invented everything under the sun, don’t give them the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indian identity is ETHNICALLY connected to the Indus Valley Civilization, and anyone who says otherwise is a worthless faggot and a loser. This disgusting white slut Carolyn and this race mixer Jeffery Long are European Aryans, not Indians, and not Hindus. Hinduism wouldn’t exist without the combination of the cultures of the Devas and Asuras, the Asuras being the rulers of the Indus Valley civilization, the ancestors of every dark skinned Indian person. Even the British directly identified Hindus as the natives of the Indus River and east of it. Drop dead, you anti-Indian waste of space. You should be punished for treason for saying that our enemies are even the same SPECIES as us. The only reason we are alive today is because the Jew has broken the back of the EVIL Germanic man.
There are many valid points in what these commenters say (except for the part about white people being a different species and not human. That’s batshit. Also calling me a slut I guess is just trying to come up with the most hurtful term he could to throw at a woman?).
It’s very hard for me to comprehend the concept of a system of philosophy only being valid for people of a particular ethnicity. How can Truth be limited to only particular genetics? But that may just be the American in me.
There is an uncomfortable strain between these people wanting to protect Hinduism and keep it pure from white people’s interpretation and the actual teachings in Hinduism, which I think all variations agree that everything in creation has a soul and that soul is divine.
Here is a Hindu story (if you’ve read my blog for a long time you’ve heard it before):
A wise man was sitting out having a picnic. A wild dog ran up and stole his bread. The man got up and started chasing the dog, shouting, “My lord, my lord, you forgot the butter.”
I am not taking Hinduism. Me believing in Hinduism and practicing it with care and sincerity is not taking it away from someone else. It is not a limited resource.
That may be justifying my racism and perhaps I am in the wrong here. I have to live with the fact that I have heard this hurt and this pain from native Hindus and I have chosen to keep doing what I am doing anyway. (Let me add that 99.9% of the time I have had a ton of help and encouragement from native Hindus).
In the end, as sorry as I am for the way these people are feeling, they don’t have the power to decide who is Hindu and who is not. I will continue to try to be respectful and humble as I practice my faith. But Hinduism is in my soul and it isn’t going anywhere.
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