can i has yoga and also henna?

read two good articles that discussed just how essentialist, reductive and ridiculous cultural appropriation has become.
yes, the author does make objectionable claims and stumble at bits, but she gets in so many good points too – on the banning of yoga:
“Many of the people taking offense because yoga has become so mainstream give you this idea that yoga somehow belongs to everyone in India — it does not, it only belongs to the privileged rich ones, it belongs to the upper castes”
i do think that /some/ of the discourse on cultural oppression has done some good. but i also think that at its core it is wildly unsustainable, plays to the politics of offense, and the ways in which it has shaped up reflect that.


1. to be clear – i think it’s Very Bad that white people slam blacks for wearing dreadlocks, then turn around and ‘Make Dreadlocks Great Again’ (and a whole host of other infractions – please see this simple but instructive piece for more:…/cultural-appropriation…/ this is).

2. but i don’t think that the way forward for most of these wrongs is to go “STOP STOP THAT’S MY THING GIVE IT BACK”, because as above, it just is not sustainable (what happens if I’m a Chindian? then what culture do I belong to??? do i go by how many % of each race i am??).

3. i do think that there must be a way forward, because the problems raised in (1) should not be left there and ignored, and my pick for now is education (while long-drawn, and perhaps unsatisfying or ineffective in the face of structural inequity) – teaching the meaning of symbols, exposing hypocrisy in dominant races and their actions etc.. basically raising community awareness instead of filling up community jails with Cultural Criminals.

and now i must get changed. peace ✌🏼️ !!

**last of last thoughts: a good friend pointed out that CA should really be about “how can we appreciate other cultures in a respectful and well-informed way that takes into account the way their customs have been shaped by the people around them”? and that’s precisely what i think needs to happen, and education is my vehicle of choice to move things forward (even if not everyone has the patience or privilege of waiting afforded to them), but that said – when you look for the key rule setters who get to lead the dialogue on what is ‘respectful and well-informed’, you often end up asking ‘who has a right to this piece of culture’ as well… truly a rose-stemmed issue :–(


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