News & Politics

Seattle Yoga Teacher Offers 'Undoing Whiteness' Class

Good morning, white people. Have you apologized yet today for the color of your skin? Have you begged forgiveness for the immutable physical characteristic that renders your opinions meaningless and your very presence intolerable? Have you expressed regret for the white supremacy you carry around with you everywhere? If so, it still doesn’t matter. Guilt is not enough. You must actively undo your whiteness. Repent, sinner!


And now a strong, brave, fierce white lady in Seattle has finally figured out how to do that: yoga.

Marcus Harrison Green, Seattle Times:

Laura Humpf braced herself for fresh salvos of death threats, rage-soaked slurs and indictments of “reverse racism” from media provocateurs…

This spring, Humpf publicized an “Undoing Whiteness” yoga class at Rainier Beach Yoga, geared toward white people wishing to “unpack the harmful ways white supremacy is embedded” in their “body, mind and heart.” Along with providing a contemplative space, the class would dissect the “pathology of whiteness” — an obliviousness to the batch of privileges society grants white skin — and how it operates in daily life…

“I do stand behind white people needing to talk to other white people on how to undo whiteness. Can I keep refining it and doing it differently and better? Yeah, and I will forever and ever. But I believe in this space as one tool,” she says of her class of about a dozen that incorporates meditation, yoga postures, and readings from “Witnessing Whiteness,” a book meant to help white people deal with discomfort around race-based conversations.


There’s something about this that’s so Seattle. It’s like, how much more Seattle can this be? And the answer is: None. None more Seattle.

This is a good start, of course. If white people just checked their privilege and stopped acting like such… such… such white people, obviously that would solve a lot of problems. Starbucks would shut down, Canada would be dissolved, cargo shorts would stay at the bottom of the laundry pile where they belong, and we’d never need to suffer through another Chuck Lorre sitcom. A more perfect world, right?

Except for one problem: All those white folks would still have white skin. Even if they stopped expressing the wrong opinions about everything, even if they quit insisting their lives matter too, we’d still have to look at them. Our eyes would still be afflicted by their horrible, pasty external whiteness. White supremacy would still reign, as long as white people were still hanging around looking like that.

If you really want to undo whiteness, a yoga class isn’t going to do it. Your very existence on this planet is the problem. You know what you need to do.


No, not mass suicide, silly! You people need to build a fleet of spaceships, find some Earthlike planet out there, and get the hell gone. Go hang out with Luke Skywalker and leave the rest of us alone already.*

And to all you smart alecks who think that white people doing yoga is racist in the first place, since they culturally appropriated it from Indian culture: You’re wrong because shut up.

*I’m not going anywhere because I’m transblack. Google it.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member