Pagans who are also PoC require their own safe spaces to communicate, find solidarity, and be able to express themselves in a space where otherwise their opinions would not be valued.
Often times, Pagan places are often perceived to be “safe”, simply because we are all Pagan- however, when someone chooses to speak out against issues in the Pagan community i.e., cultural appropriation, racism, classism, exclusion, and other issues that are often swept under the rug in favor of more “positive” discussions notice how the mood changes. Often times, PoC’s experiences are ignored, as the majority of the Pagan community is white, and many white Pagans uphold the idea that Paganism is for white people, or at least people who follow a traditionally European spirituality.
The idea that PoC (Pagans of Color) are expected to simply shrug their shoulders and just accept paganism as a “white thing” effectively silences their voices and minimizes their experiences. The idea that being pagan (and thus being a minority in one regard) cancels out any other privileges they may have is also a common idea- for example, white pagans who believe that they do not have white privilege because they are pagan. This is simply untrue.
Also needed is a space where PoC (Pagans of Color) can discuss non-European spiritualities, such as Buddhism, Taosim, Shinto, Voodun, and Santeria- with a focus on these particular spiritualities where no overwhelmingly European bias exists. By having a space such as this, PoC (Pagans and People of Color) can have a space in which their spirituality takes center stage and is not scooted aside for traditionally European deities, practices, and holidays which is common in other pagan spaces.
There are those people who may be offended that my blog does not focus/ cater to the white pagan populace, however I feel as if white pagans are otherwise represented, accounted for, and have spaces where they are free to speak about their own experiences. PoC do not have such spaces, and it is them that I am catering to- because otherwise they would not have accurate representations of themselves or places where they can comment without feeling as if they are outsiders.
I cannot tell you how many books, websites, and forums I have read that treat me as if-because I’m pagan- I must be white. Books where the author proclaims that “we” should ‘get back to the ways of our ancestors” (in reference to Celtic spirituality) effectively leaves me out, with the assumption that if I’m picking up a book on Celtic spirituality, I must be white.
There is also much more literature about European Pagan deities than there are of say Chinese, Japanese, or South American other than the token Kuan Yin or Amaterasu, not often do you find non-appropriated details on non-European pantheons, minus the Egyptian one, which often is appropriated by other pagans.
With this blog, I will share books, other blogs, research material and artwork, as well as provide accurate information on non-European deities, holidays, and systems so that people who are looking for information about them from a non-approprative view can read them.
I hope that I can create a safe space for PoC to deepen their spirituality in a place that understands their unique experiences.
Please let me make this clear.
My blog is not for white people- my job is not to coddle you and make you feel better about race relations or cultural appropriation. I am not catering to white people- I am here to cater to PoC as well as pagans, people whose voices are seldom heard much less appreciated. If you are white and read my blog, please do not comment on my blog telling me about your opinions, feeling, or xyz, because I don’t care about what you think.
However, simply because my blog does not cater to the white populace does not mean that I am telling white people that they cannot read or experience. The very plain fact is that when it comes to social justice blogs, many white people cannot choose to put aside their own opinions to simply listen to what PoC are saying-and, instead-choose to ignore what we are saying in favor from their own opinions, either because they refuse to admit that whit privilege exists, that they benefit from it, justifying racism and the like, standing up for cultural appropriation, and the list goes on and on. I will have none of it.
Your opinions are valued everywhere else- they will not be here. Do not police my tone and tell me that I am not being fair or that I’m being rude- I don’t care. I am tired of white people always wanting to invade every space, because any space that does not include them is somehow offensive, as if they do not have a thousand other places to comment and express their opinions. Many PoC do not.
This is a not a coddling blog. I am not here to make you feel comfortable, wanted, or appreciated, or to reassure you that you are not “like other white people”, or assure you that you are a good person.
This is a place for PoC to express their own opinions and experiences- because we have very few safe places to do so otherwise.
Thank you, PSA over.
Dear White Feminists: If You Know That You Should Say Something About Race, Then Say Something About It
Nothing is more frustrating than having someone leave a comment on my blog telling me how they know that “xyz issue is a problem, and that yeah, you’re right, more people should speak about it!” and then not say anything about it themselves.
Then say something.
If you understand the intersection of race and feminism, than why don’t you blog about it? Why don’t you speak up, speak out, and attempt to create change?
It only seems to reinforce the idea that racial feminist issues are “not your problem” or the idea that race does not belong in feminism.
Because it is a problem, and it does belong in feminism.
The reason many Black feminists (and other feminists of Color) decide to identify as Womanist instead is because they have a unique set of issues and problems that are rarely addressed in the mainstream feminist community. As long as white feminists continue applauding things that harm women of color, while then ignoring other issues that are important to address.
Get. It. Together.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t any white feminists that tackle both race and woman’s issues, but it is not a universal thing. It is less common to see a white feminist tackle issues pertaining to PoC than to do so.
If you really want to fight for equality for all women, then you need to address issues that apply to ALL women, not just white women.
This is sad. This is very sad.
For all of those who will say that racism is a “thing of the past”, state that “I’m just being sensitive”, that you “don’t see race”-
This is for you.
Let this “OpenSeasononBlackGirls be an example to you, an example of just how my blackness, my gender, is still seen by a joke by people.
So tell me- if this is the 21st century and racism is behind us- why is it that in order for another race to prosper and feel good about themselves, another one must be torn down, deminished, and dehumanized?
This is not just a string of black girl stereotypes- these are people degrading women’s black woman’s bodies, comparing them to animals,to furniture and to food- for what?
Because being black is a joke to some people.
This outlines the main reason Black Girls Rock is needed in the first place. This illustrates why safe places for minorities are needed in the first place.
This is why feminism is needed in the first place.
Where are those feminists?
Because apparently when race and feminism meet, I’ve found that many white feminists go silent. Why? Why has the feminist community gone silent, when under other circumstances they are quick to comment, quick to protest, quick to demand change.
Because apparently, this is a black issue, and has nothing to do with them.
Despite the fact that we continue to fight and comment about how society continues to comment, grade, and shape the perception of the female body, it has nothing to do with them.
Because apparently, despite the long history of black women’s bodies being used as a joke to humor others, it has nothing to do with them.
Because apparently, despite stripping a group of human beings of their human status and turning them into nothing more than a joke at their own expense- has nothing to do with them.
Because, instead of continuing to fight for the freedom and equality of all women, what you are really saying is that youa re fighting for freedom and equality for yourselves.
And to the rest of you in the ‘racism doesn’t exist crowd”, I have something to say to you:
This is what I am fighting against. Yes I am angry, yes I am black, and yes, I am a woman. I am tired of watching my race be swallowed up by hatred, racism, and sexism. I am tired of a community of people being pitted against them selves- black women against black women, black men against black men- because of the mandates and expectations placed on them by a society that would rather see us fall than to see us rise.
I am tired of my experiences being cast aside, thrown away, and misinterpreted, because someone felt “guilty” or “attacked” whenever I speak about racism in America. I will not be silent, and if screaming is the only way I will be heard, then so be it.
Because apparently talking isn’t going to do it anymore.
I will not “calm down”, “learn to take a joke”, “stop being so sensitive”, and “stop bringing up the past”. I WILL hold my head high, wear my curly hair with pride, love my beautiful brown skin, and continue to shatter each pervasive stereotype as I continue to fight for equality in ALL forms. Let this be a reminder to you on how society and those within it view black women- and let this be a reminder to you that self hatred in the black community is also as prevalent.