When it comes to exercise, yoga is one of the more unique practices. Hailing from Hindu religious tradition, it focuses on flexibility, balance, and awareness. It has been popular in the United States for decades, growing into a robust industry.
However, the bigoted Leftist ideology that condemns “cultural appropriation” has led one professor to lecture people of the “wrong” DNA for doing it.
Shreena Gandhi, a professor of religious studies at Michigan State University, recently co-wrote an article where she claims the practice of yoga by white people contributes to white supremacy. Her co-author, Lillie Wolff, is a self-described “antiracist white Jewish organizer, facilitator, and healer.” The article begins: “To the so many white people who practice yoga, please don’t stop, but please do take a moment to look outside of yourself and understand how the history of yoga practice in the United States is intimately linked to some of the larger forces of white supremacy.”
Basically, they’re rehashing the claim that partaking in activities not invented by your ancestors can somehow damage people who trace their lineage to that activity’s founding culture. If you do not practice the activity with sufficient reverence — say, you do yoga for fitness but ignore the Hinduism — you might be a racist.
There. I saved you the hassle of having to read a whole lot of nonsense.
I’m sympathetic to the argument that mockingly doing yoga while cracking jokes in a faux Indian accent could be racist. Obviously, that behavior is not what the article is referencing, though. Gandhi and Wolff simply refer to “white people who practice yoga.” They follow up with sentences like this: “This complex socio-political reality of the U.S. is key to understanding how the cultural void of white society is intimately mixed with white supremacy, capitalism, and globalization.”
I guess we see the real problem here: Gandhi and Wolff aren’t worried about combating racism; in fact, they are racists to the core. They have no problem with, say, Indians embracing only some elements of a culture that traces back to white Europeans. They single out one race for creating only a “cultural void” and “supremacy,” while ignoring, say, India’s continued embrace of the hideously bigoted caste system.
Is it okay to build an industry called “Bollywood” without embracing early Hollywood’s blackface acts? Yup. Just like it’s okay to do yoga while rejecting castes.
If you believe someone is forbidden from doing an activity because of DNA, you are a racist. If you judge people by DNA rather than content of character, you are a racist.
Further, if you want to convince people of your viewpoint, telling them they’re bigots if they don’t agree with you isn’t likely to have the effect you want.