…ght about it a hundred times, I’ve never once spoken to a teacher after class to offer corrections. After spending 25 years striving to assimilate, I sometimes question whether advocating to preserve my culture’s social customs is being too sensitive, even unappreciative: If that’s how they teach yoga in America, shouldn’t I just accept it?
No it is not, and yes you should. America has no culture. Everything about this nation has been culturally appropriated from others, hence that old lame melting pot mantra. Like you, I started questioning everything about my culture and traditions, and assimilating. I recently wrote a piece giving thanks to my mother for teaching me code switching and allowing us to retain our culture instead of fully assimilating into what we believed was American. It saved me from the brutal experiences you noted, especially in school. America is just one big mind cluster-f*uck. We are picked on, shamed and chastised for embracing our culture until White people are ready to make it palatable for mainstream consumption to profit from it. I’ve never embraced the things you noted because I knew they came from Indian culture. I wanted to learn about them by immersing myself in the culture of the people providing the opportunityfor me to learn about it, not White people co-opting culture like it’s a fad. Yoga is part of an ethnic group’s or nation’s religion and culture, and White people have shops set up profitting from it, downgrading portions of the communing experience to exercise. I knew where yoga came from, so I wasn’t interested. It wasn’t mines to take or borrow. I could never appreciate or respect it as Indians do. We all should be so thoughtful when it comes to culture.
Embrace your culture. Speak out about the hypocrisy and please study our REAL American history. You need to deprogram yourself from White Supremacy. You should never feel guilty about protecting cherished cultural experiences. White people NEVER feel guilty about misappropriating ideas and cultures for profit. They don’t even give it a second thought. Like Nike, they just do it.
While our parents likely meant well, it’s bad for us to adopt Whiteness and forsake our cultures. At the end of the day, we NEVER are good enough. So why bother. I love Blackness even if rest of the world hates us. I respect other cultures, especially cultures from real civilizations that have existed thousands of years prior to the theft of this country. American culture is piracy. Never embrace or accept that as okay.