October 9, 2015

SEATTLE YOGA CENTER OFFERS “YOGA FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR:”

Rainier Beach Yoga in Seattle has a class called “yoga for people of color.” It started last week and runs once a month.

Teresa Wang, co-founder of the specialized class, said it was started by five queer people of color who came together to create a safe space for people of color who might otherwise be uncomfortable.

An email blast about the class says it’s aimed at people of color and of all sexualities, ages, body sizes, abilities, genders, and experience with yoga. It specifically identifies “lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer and trans-friendly/affirming,” plus people who self-identify as “African American/black/of the African Diaspora, Asian, South Asian, West Asian/Arab/Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, First Nations/Alaskan Native/Native American/Indigenous, Chican/Latin, or Multiracial/Mixed-Race.” The email adds that “white friends, allies and partners are respectfully asked not to attend.”

So what would happen if a white man decided to attend?

“Well, it’s a class for people of color, so he would be coming to that class knowing that we’re really clear about who we are asking to come to class, so…I’m not really sure because it hasn’t happened to us,” Wang said. “So I don’t really know.”

Perhaps as a result of making the Drudge Report, it seems that Rainier Beach Yoga has deleted the announcement from their Facebook page, but a copy remains in Google’s cache as of the time of this post:

yoga_people_of_color_10-9-15-1

So, separate but equal, to coin a phrase. Michael Graham’s Redneck Nation, written in 2001, which warned about the increasing return of such practices despite America’s best efforts to build a colorblind society in the 1960s through the 1980s, still seems remarkably current.

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