People Who Practice Yoga Contribute to White Supremacy, Professor Claims

Fox News, January 29, 2018

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Shreena Gandhi, a religious studies professor at Michigan State, claims in an article she recently co-authored that Americans who practice yoga are contributing to white supremacy and promote the “yoga industrial complex.”

White Americans should learn yoga’s history, acknowledge the cultural appropriation they engage in and possibly reduce the cost of yoga classes for poor people, a group that often includes people of color and “recent immigrants, such as Indian women to whom this practice rightfully belongs,” Gandhi argued.

She co-authored the piece titled “Yoga and the Roots of Cultural Appropriation,” with Lillie Wolff, a self-described “anti-racist white Jewish organizer, facilitator, and healer,” who has called for “decolonizing” yoga, the College Fix reported.

The two argued “the explosion of yoga studios, yoga video, apps, yoga pants, and other yoga swag over the last two decades is evidence” of the “(mis)appropriation of yoga” that “is part of systemic racism” built on “the labor of black people and people of the global south.”

“We would argue one of the goals of white supremacy is to buffer white people from the pain that comes from the process of exchanging cultural grounding for the unearned power and privilege of whiteness,” they wrote. “…this modern-day trend of cultural appropriation of yoga is a continuation of white supremacy and colonialism, maintaining the pattern of white people consuming the stuff of culture that is convenient and portable, while ignoring the well-being and liberation of Indian people.”

Gandhi and the Religious Studies Department at MSU did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

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