white privilege

Why I Don’t Want to Hear Your White Opinions on Race

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Another thing that often sickens me whenever talk about race and racism is involved is when white people attempt to have any sort of dialogue on it. Why? Because most of the time they cannot see past their own prejudice, white privilege and white guilt to truly see the matter- these things distort their perception of events, and they often try to take race out of things because the topics of race and white privilege in general makes them uncomfortable.

Whether it’s Lily Allen or Miley, it seems as if white critiquers always manage to divert attention from the actual problem in facor on focusing away from racial conversations. The very fact that white people believe they have the right to tell PoC what is and is not cultural appropriation and theft is white privilege. The fact that Miley’s sexuality will be applauded while Beyonce’s will be demonized is because of white privilege and the constant demonization/fetishization of WoC by society.

This is why most PoC tell whites that their opinions are not needed or wanted- because their opinions often attempt to derail conversations away from race and thus away from any feelings of white guilt.

Your guilt is not my problem. I don’t care what you thought about Lily Allen’s video, because I know that you will just assume that I’m overaccting, “bringing race into it”, being a “race-baiter” ect. This is why your opinions on topics are not wanted in PoC spaces- like this blog.

Because while in most other places (minus a select few) you will be assured that race and cultural appropriation had nothing to do with it, thus soothing any anxiety you feel when the subject of race comes up. It will not happen here.

What I will say is that most comments on race by white people range from blatenly ignorent to downright disgusting, whether it’s about racial crime (it’s not about race!) racial discrimination (that’s just the race card) cultural appropriation (I’m just appreciating the culture!) or what the fuck ever.

THE LIES TOLD TO BLACK PEOPLE TO MAINTAIN WHITE DOMINANCE

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If you ever wondered why African Americans are portrayed so negatively in almost all media sources, please look no further than this.

African Press International (API)

By F. Jones

Many African Americans now holds the opinion that in the face of greater gained opportunities that many within their race became their own worst enemies. It is not uncommon to hear these negative sentiments about their own race now echoed by many African Americans themselvesthey that consider themselves as being exceptions to this norm. This perception often engenders profound feelings of immense humiliation, racial self contempt, and disunity among many African Americans in the 21st-century. But are these self contemptuous views among so many African Americans correct?

And if so how have African Americans, the racial group that demonstrated an unprecedented degree of Black racial pride and unity during the 1960’s civil rights movement now become living contradictions of their former selves? The common response, when presented with this daunting question is to take the position that the core problem lies with something to do with Black…

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Excluding Definitions of Paganism: How Does it Effect Pagans of Color?

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Often, especially in old books and websites, I find definitions of paganism that go a bit as follows:

“Paganism is an umbrella term for any pre-Christian European religion”

When people define paganism as such, what they are effectivly doing is setting up a system in which European (white) is the default, and any PoC or-non-European traditions- are considered an outlier. When you ask pagans why there isn’t more PoC representation in the Pagan community, often the excuse is that paganism is defined as European religions, and that most pagans choose to follow those paths that their ancestors walked. Instead, the case is that PoC (pagans of color) and non-European traditions are often overlooked in favor of Euro-centric ones.

Not to mention that that excuse doesn’t make  sense. How do you get the idea that if you are following  a European religion that that is the path that your ancestors walked, so long as it’s European?

I do not know where my ancestors came from, and just picking and choosing a traditional African religion does not mean that I’m following the “path of my ancestors”, much in the same way that a white person picking any European spirituality- regardless of their ancestry- isn’t necessarily  following the path of their ancestors.

This system is problematic, as it also upholds the idea of privilege where any pagan who is not following the defaults of Paganism (read: is white, follows a European spirituality or a spirituality filled with cultural appropriation) is seen as different.

Also seen in the Pagan community is the idea of mutual exclusivity, or the idea that, if you are pagan, you cannot be something else, because pagan and xyz are not possible because they are mutually exclusive.

Also not true.

You can still be a pagan and be a racist.

You can still be pagan and be prejudice.

You can still be pagan and have white privilege.

You can still be pagan and have male privilege.

You can still be pagan and have heterosexual privilege.

YOU CAN STILL BE PAGAN AND HAVE PRIVILEGE- just because you are oppressed in one way- spiritually-doesn’t mean you aren’t benefitting in other ways-being white.

Those are the simple facts, and by pointing out the fact that many pagans feel as if they bear the worst oppression because of their spirituality is laughable-especially because many uphold ideas that racism and prejudice no longer exist, while also choosing to remain “colorblind” (which is a form of racism)- they feel as if you are being antagonistic or simply “bringing race into it” or being a ‘race-baiter”

I am choosing to point out these issues in the community because it remains a constant problem, and in order to truly progress and understand each other, we must be able to create a space in which we can accept others without silencing them in favor for a more homogenized, blind view.

Many PoC feel as if they cannot be pagan because they aren’t white. Others avoid talking about race/cultural based subjects in fear of being seen as a negative race-baiter.

This all goes hand in hand with the fact that people with privilege often feel uncomfortable speaking about it, and will often a) avoid the conversation completely, b) adamantly refuse the idea that they have privilege,thus effectively silencing the voices and experiences of PoC, or, c),  become belligerent, rude, and embarrassed.

All terrible responses to have.

As pagans we need to understand-yes, understand, because despite all the feel good books speaking about how paganism is open to all people from all walks of life- many still choose to discount those who come from different situations and experiences than them, because often times they bring with them experiences which point out blatant differences between them and other pagans.

I did not come from a wonderful home with loving Christian parents who were outraged at my involvement with paganism.

I came from a broken, abusive home where my mother accepted my maturity in studying a spiritual path and my father applauds my philosophic skills.

I did not come from a home where milk was a given, or that dinner was a given- I came from a home where good food (read: not ramen) was considered luxury and should be respected.

I am not the standard white middle class pagan, and I will not have my experiences as well as the experiences of others droned out in favor for a more homogenized view of pagans and paganism.

So many books portray paganism in this particular way that it becomes seen as the norm. We tend to see those that practice differently or don’t believe in the Three Fold Law or don’t follow the Wheel of the Year as “those other people” or just “others” instead of validating them as pagans with different experiences and practices.

I am pagan just like everyone else, and just because I am not the “typical pagan” doesn’t mean that I am not pagan. We need to stop drowning out ideas and voices because we don’t like what they have to say.

This is a Public Service Announcement: My Blog is Not For White People

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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.

Why Do We Still Treat Asian-Americans as Foreigners?

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One of the things I have continued to notice is how people seem to constantly look at Asian-Americans as foreigners, ignoring them as American citizens.

Questions such as ‘Where are you from?”, “Where were you born?”, usually come before more racist questions such as ‘Do you eat dog/cat?”, “Did your parents own a Chinese food shop?”, and “Do you like sushi?”

The problem with questions such as these is that people tend to put emphasis on someone else’s Asian ethnicity, completely tossing aside the idea that they may have been born in raised in America, or even that their parents may have been born in America. The idea that if someone is other than white or African American must be a foreigner can have negative repercussions on people, especially those who uphold specific cultures and customs.

For example, Indians who choose to wear traditional Indian clothing, such as saris or kurta-pajama may be looked at as foreigners unwilling to “adapt” to American culture, instead of people who are choosing to wear clothing specific to their ethnicity.

Other Asian-Americans may have a cluster of inappropriate comments and generalizations made about them, comments that destroy the cultural differences between them. This is why questions such as “Do your parents own a Chinese food shop” can be offensive- it’s not that there is anything wrong with owning a Chinese food shop, or denying that Asians can own Chinese food shops- it’s the idea that you are associating being Asian-American with stereotypes, refusing to see the differences between Asian cultures in favor of a more homogenized view.

On the other side of the spectrum is the exotification and constant “need-to-know”- that is, people who treat Asian-Americans as if their ethnicity is a game, something to guess and figure out. The funny thing is, if someone were to go up to someone white and go “What is your ethnicity? Where are your ancestors from?”, they would receive odd looks.

The exotification and appropriation of Eastern cultures has a long and dirty history, as is plundering from Eastern spiritual practices in order to “spice up” Western ones. Practices such as yoga, Eastern forms of meditation, yoga, and even martial arts have all been appropriated in the West, presented here as a new form of exotic spirituality/ exercise that’s fine for everyone to do! Cultural appropriation benefits only those who are doing the appropriating, as spiritual practices that were once held sacred or of high importance in their original context are now watered down to merely an excercise done by girls in sweats or an after school activity for kids.

The exotification of Eastern countries and people is also a huge problem, as many Asian-Americans face issues regarding those who view Asian women through a hyper-sexualized lense, one in which Asian women serve only as exotic sexual conquests. Men who state how much they love Asian women are only continuing the racism against them the idea that somehow, being Asian is to be one specific type of person, with no distinction between multiple Asian cultures.

And what about those Asian-Americans who don’t practice cultural specific things? A lot of times they have their ethnicity stripped from them, as if now, since they aren’t doing anything to further “alienate” themselves from American culture, that that now makes them fully American? Why does it seem that we expect Asians to always do/ act a specific way, while it is not the same with other cultures and ethnicities? (Most) people understand that not all Black’s eat fried chicken and watermelon before washing it down with orange soda- so why does the idea that all Asian-Americans must always eat rice and fish and wash it down with tea? Why is that they are always expected to maintain stereotypes and assumptions that may Americans still have about them?

Because America still sees Asian-Americans as being  foreign, and the idea that of course a foreigner would just maintain all their foreign cultures instead embracing American culture is a prevalent one. We need to stop seeing Asian-Americans as being any different from any other Americans, while understanding that they may have a different culture from us, wear different clothing, enjoy different foods, or just simply do different things. We need to understand that you can see race and understand and accept their differences without alienating and exotifying them.