So today I went to Pagan Pride Day in NYC, which happens every year. This year it was on September 26th, in Battery Park as usual.
And as I did last year, I raided Cucina Aurora’s dip and mix (it’s extremely delicious, I suggest you buy some at her site.) Hopefully she can forgive me for single handedly devouring half of her supply.
I also got a tarot reading done by a young man, much appreciation for what he’s said.
And then I went to Lilith Dorsey’s workshop on Voodoo. It was highly informative, but it posed one problem for me. A statement she made.
Unless you’re related to somebody black or very close to somebody black, you shouldn’t be practicing an Afro-Caribbean religion.
Perhaps I am alone, but this statement upset me to a large degree. My matron is Yemaya, you see, so a statement like this was easy for me to take to heart.
While I agree with her that it’s important to know and understand the Afro-Caribbean traditions, to limit belief based on race seems… close-minded.
We are all beautiful, we are all human, we share this wonderful earth with each other. Faith transcends color. Life transcends color. Why should we allow the tone of our flesh to determine what we can and cannot do?
This fear all comes down to the fear of cultural appropriation. You’d think people would see the acceptance of other cultures into their own as a positive thing. But many people feel this is “theft”. Well, if you’re reading English and you’re not from England, you’re technically stealing, too. You know that anime you watch or manga you read? Cultural appropriation as well. That Italian food you eat? That also.
Instead of seeing things as cultural theft, why not see it as cultural acceptance? I wouldn’t eat your food if I didn’t think it tasty, I wouldn’t learn your language if I didn’t think it interesting, I wouldn’t play your sports if I didn’t think it fun, I wouldn’t read your stories if I didn’t think them wonderful, I wouldn’t collect your artwork if I didn’t think it beautiful.
Would she demand those who collect Afro-Caribbean artwork to return it all simply because they are not of African descent? It makes no sense to me.
What’s the harm in learning and loving and trying to become one with another culture? Yes, you will never truly be a part of that culture. But you will have the closeness to it, and benefit from it, as much as the people indigenous to it.
So what if a White or Asian person wants to practice Voodoo or Santeria or any other Afro-Caribbean religion? They shouldn’t get any flak for it. They share this great planet with the everyone else, we all share this great planet together, we should all love each other and share our wisdom, our art with one another. Yes…
… we should even share our religion with one another.
Instead of condemning the interested, they should be greeted with wide-open arms and have everything explained to them. If everything is explained to them, if they are allowed to ask questions, they won’t have any misconceptions about anything.
This is just my opinion though. Take it for what you will.
My fiance and I didn’t stay for the circle unfortunately, because we had strict time restrictions, but we got to enjoy everything else to the fullest.