White presenting, women presenting, person defends Dharmic terminology from white people

Not sure if I would have believed this tweet existed if it didn’t. But it does.

But wait, it gets better! More white presenting people defending the cultural sensitivities of people of the Dharmic persuasion.

Now, I do think it is true that Dharmic religious perspectives tend to be made light of on occasion. For example, Hindus have “mythologies.” As opposed to the presumably real Abrahamic “God of history”?

But I don’t think this is going to help the situation. In fact, these sorts of public posturings are more about the person posturing than about what they are posturing about.

From the entry on Newspeak:

In “The Principles of Newspeak”, the appendix to the novel, George Orwell explains that Newspeak usage follows most of the English grammar, yet is a language characterised by a continually diminishing vocabulary; complete thoughts reduced to simple terms of simplistic meaning.

34 thoughts on “White presenting, women presenting, person defends Dharmic terminology from white people”

  1. In general “cultural appropriation” is post modernist madness. This exchange makes me uneasy. Dharma doesn’t need or want obnoxious social justice warriors.

    If someone wants to talk about cultural appropriation, what about the left handed Tantrik Swastika. One of the world’s oldest and greatest symbols. Was used by the Arya offshoots in ancient Greece and Rome too. The Swastika has “NOTHING” to do with anti Jewish bigotry.

    1. Cultural appropriation is real. Ever seen a white lady in yoga pants teaching Yoga who thinks just because she has a yoga certification, she is entitled to say “Namaste” in a bad American accent, all because it sounds vaguely spiritual. Really pissed my brother off….

        1. it’s patronizing. but you eye roll.

          and if white ppl didn’t eat indian food, there’s been fewer indian food restaurants. you take the good with the bad.

          1. My initial reaction was the same as Janmejaya’s, but your response reminded me that I would have perhaps found that patronizing 15 years ago. It depends on the motive one attributes to the person involved. Back then I had many reasons to think that whites were hostile to Hinduism per se (but would be gentle on individual Hindus due to their staunch devotion to individualism), and it was only after I stayed in the US for a while that I got to update my priors and to see that the bad-accent namaste was actually well-meaning. And yes, cute 😀

        2. I think he wanted just the yoga without the “spirituality”. It’s exercise for christ’s sake! And for a non-Indian to say “Namaste” in a bad accent is patently obnoxious.

          1. Your real problem seems not to be cultural appropriation but the infusion of Hindu spirituality in Yoga.

            I don’t think its possible to remove the Hindu spiritual aspects of yoga. Its meant to be done for both physical and mental well being.

            I personally never have a problem with westerners appropriating any parts of Hindu or Indian culture they like unless they use it for some ulterior motives (like the Nazi party did with swastika).

            Imagine if Americans or the British were to start crying foul whenever we pick up their latest slang when speaking English.

          2. It’s not my story. I didn’t attend this yoga class. Personally, I’ve never liked yoga. When I need exercise, I go to the gym.

            I have no problem with Hindu spirituality (though I don’t believe in any of it). As a student of Hindustani music, I sang bhajans–just as music. I also said Namaste to all the Hindus who were learning from my ustaad. But we need to bring the neutral “Adaab” back for just such occasions.

            I do think a white person who has never been to India saying “Namaste” in a bad accent and drinking “chai tea” is a bit ridiculous, but that’s just my opinion.

      1. When they start wearing our clothes (badly) then it’s time to get really pissed. Point is, if you’re going to appropriate my culture, at least do it properly.

          1. But we have learned to wear pants and suits properly. Benefits of colonization and all. People who don’t wear pants properly are super gauche and should stick to shalwar kameez.

            “Our clothes” means saris. White women who can’t drape saris properly should not be wearing them….

        1. @Kabir, South Indian women have also appropriated Salwar Kameez and many wear it badly (mostly, there are Tharoor-type exceptions) when traveling to Delhi or further north in the “winter”. Would you frown at that too? Traditional South Indian wear is not usually suitable for cold weather, so it is often a choice born of necessity.

          1. I think if you are going to wear something, you should learn to wear it so it looks good….

  2. While I don’t myself believe in this cultural appropriation thingie one bit (many Sanskrit texts themselves use the word Guru also in the more secular sense), nevertheless, I, as a Hindu fundamentalist who is fed up of seeing so many Hindus and westerners speaking for Muslims, have to confess that it feels psychologically good/comforting to see this SJW purporting to speak for Dharmics.

    If enough SJWs do this (which of course won’t happen), I may even convert from alt-right to SJW 😛

    1. SJWs hate right-wing hindus though. they don’t have deep thoughts about this, but they know they should. eg they think treating with modi is outrageous, but mostly just eye-roll with MBS contact….

      1. I know sir, I know…the last bit was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to add flavor to the preceding statement 🙂

        But you raise an interesting point – virtue-signalling tendency is generally correlated with bias in favor of out-groups, but not all out-groups are the same.

          1. Razib Khan, some of Modi’s long time personal friends are muslims. Many Sufis, Shia and liberal Sunnis really like Modi. Modi is the first PM in Indian history to side with muslim reformers and try to protect them from Jihadi violence and intimidation. He is the most pro muslim PM in Indian history and has sent police to guard muslim leaders and muslim spiritual centers.

            I know that many conservative Sunni Indians are deeply worried about Modi . . . both because they think Modi is supporting “bad” or “lesser” muslims against them, and because they fear Hindutwa extremists. This needs work. But the positive side is that the Indian muslim community will be forced to treat minority and moderate/liberal/reform/atheist muslims better. If Modi is able to increase his share of the muslim vote from 37% to 50% then the muslim vote will be a swing vote again. It is best to be a swing vote.

            At long last Congress, CPI (M) and India’s own post modernists will be forced to treat Indian muslims with respect. Something they should have done long ago.

          2. PM Modi is the first Indian PM since 1991 to offer significant military assistance to the Iraqi Security Forces. This is also a very good thing. Iraq is likely to be a loyal long term ally of India. India and Iraq need to be best friends.

            My hope is that PM Modi decides to help the ANSF in a big way. No decision has yet been made. [Yes India has donated 11 military helicopters; but the Afghans want a lot more.] Afghans love Indians and want to be India’s best friends.

          3. Interesting. But in retrospect, this is not surprising. Thankfully the American academics I interacted with in the US never discussed any Indian politics with me; I shudder to think of what would have happened to my career had I gotten into arguments with them.

          4. “He’s the pro-Muslim Indian PM in history”

            Two words: Gujarat pogroms.

            Also, “Hum panch, Hamary Pachees”–that was quite an Islamophobic statement from fearless leader ji.

  3. Funny as heck video about cultural appropriation:

    Kabir, full disclosure . . . I have an issue with post modernist social justice warrior Yoga teachers. Sadly Europe, America, Canada and Australia have a lot of them.

    If someone can’t pronounce “Namaste” correctly, so what? [Janmejaya is right, it is cute.] That isn’t cultural appropriation. What I don’t like is when someone speaks as if they are an authority on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and other ancient Yoga texts . . . and interprets them through a non practitioner orientalist Indologist post modernist subaltern studies marxist Foucault lens. And yes I have met a lot of them.

    Post modernists and Foucault don’t understand what “power” means. Only a serious spiritual aspirant and meditator can even begin to understand the meaning of power. Are you familiar with the word “Siddhi”?

    I have no issue with a serious humble student who is trying to learn and awed by what they have read, studied and experienced. Even if they are licensed as a Yoga teacher. The point is practitioner versus non practitioner post modernist.

    1. You don’t understand post-modernism. Please actually acquire a humanities degree. I am sick to death of economists and CS types thinking they understand the humanities (because the rest of us just goof around in college no?) Like actually read Foucault. Perhaps in French? Maybe then we can have an actual substantive discussion.

      1. You got me, I am not good at reading French.

        Would you ever allow a post modernist to try to destroy Islam? Post modernists (and the structuralists, marxists, modernists they flow out of) have been trying to pervert and destroy Sanathana Dharma and eastern civilization. Fortunately the Chinese, Laotians, Cambodians and Vietnamese have seen these post modernists up front and mostly thrown them out. It is the time for the rest of Asia to do the same.

        Full disclosure I know some enlightened academic post modernists who are deeply into meditation and are pushing back against the nonsense. Not all post modernists are bad. It is the misunderstanding of post modernism that I am pushing back against.

        Only through spirituality (or religion if you prefer) and meditation can someone transcend meta narratives and transcend universalist notions. Meditation greatly increases intelligence and intuition. Only a subtle intuition can understand these subtle questions.

        Hoping to write a long article on post modernism soon. I blame post modernists for many of the world’s economics and social problems. To understand why Asians need to throw the post modernists out of Asia, look at how much they have hurt America.

        In 1960 few African Americans had felony convictions and spent much of their life in jail. Today 25% do. This is partly a result of how the US K-12 teaching profession stopped teaching values, right and wrong, manners and discipline in schools starting around 1960. Post modernism increasingly dominate teaching credential programs around the world (again with the growing exception of China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.) K-12 teachers in America say who are we to decide what is right and what is wrong. Who are we to discipline and punish students or force good behavior on students? The consequence of these policies is a massive crime wave, children who are disrespectful of teachers, parents, family, elders, clergy, police officers. Children who become teenagers who can’t get jobs, who don’t succeed academically, who have behavioral challenges.

        Of course there is no right and wrong. There are no values and no truth as humans generally understand these terms. But only by increasing our own intelligence can we begin to transcend these things and glimpse the truth. So we should pretend that some things that are not so are so; for a while. This can be explained to kindergartners and elementary school kids instead of the post modernist garbage they are told now.

        About 20% of all US teachers need to be fired immediately for incompetence (which teacher unions don’t allow). This can be blamed on the “socialists” and post modernists too.

        The devastation that post modernists and socialists have done to the foster care and adoption system in America and Europe is yet another great crime. Because of this, social workers aren’t taking kids away from irresponsible parents nearly enough because of justifiable fears about the rotten foster care and adoption system. [About 20% of all American children are orphans and wards of the state. In many cases their parents are alive and deemed unfit by the legal system.] There are some cases where post modernist social workers try to take kids from good parents who happen to disagree with post modernists political correctness too.

        Post modernism is the same thing as structural racism and structural bigotry. Post modernism is the colonization of the mind with inferiority complex, lack of self confidence, and hatred towards one’s own religion, culture, civilization, elders, parents. Post modernists try to turn different races and religions and cultures against each other. An excellent example is how non black post modernists tried to encourage the 1992 LA anti immigrant riots in an attempt to harm latino Americans and asian Americans and black Americans. 2700 Latino owned businesses were destroyed. 19 patriotic Latino Americans were killed. Thousands of Asian owned businesses were destroyed. Many patriotic Asian Americans were attacked. And worst of all the economy in many neighborhoods affected by the riots were economically hurt for years afterwards as businesses avoid these areas and middle class residents moved out. I believe this was a post modernist conspiracy to hurt African Americans who lived in LA. Similar to the way the post modernists (and their structuralist, marxist, modernist predecessors) devastated the people of British India during colonial rule.

        In 1900 about 10% of African Americans were born out of wedlock. Divorce rates were also about 10%. The great and wise Booker T Washington was the undisputed dominant leader of black Americans from 1890 to 1915. Booker T Washington fought the post modernists tooth and nail. Today about 76% of African Americans are born out of wedlock. The African American divorce rates are also about 76%. This too is an intentional conspiracy by non black post modernists to destroy the black American family and keep black Americans down.

        1. I was being snarky. Tu ne parles pas le francais? Perhaps try reading Foucault in English.

          Until you read Foucault, Gramsci, and Said you are not qualified to opine on post-modernism or structuralism or anything. Read and actually try to understand. The humanities are just as rigorous as any of your stuff. Maybe do an MA?

          There’s nothing wrong with being born “out of wedlock”. Who are you to impose your values on other people?

          Full disclosure: It’s been years since I read any Foucault and I just know the basics of “power/knowledge”. But I don’t claim to understand him. Who am I to understand one of the 20th century’s greatest minds? When I was in school (a decade ago), Foucault and Gramsci were very popular in Literature Departments. I’m sure the fashion has changed to something else now.

          The point is that before you write a “long article” on post-modernism perhaps you should attempt to actually understand it on its own terms. We humanities types don’t just spend four years lying around in the quad under the leafy green trees of Harvard and somehow acquire degrees at the end. If only it were that easy….

          1. No, my French is not that good. But I did study it up to the undergrad level. I was being snarky with Anan.

            Monsieur Foucault est tres difficile, even in Anglais….

  4. Kabir, what is wrong with conservative Sunni Punjabis getting divorced at a 76% rate? What is wrong with 76% of conservative Sunnis Punjabis being born out of wedlock?

    Is it right to encourage “other people” to do things we wouldn’t encourage our own niece, nephew, sister and daughter to do?

    I look forward to reading Said one day. Have you carefully read all of Said’s writings? Didn’t he also critique post modernist attacks against Islam? To this degree I am agreed with Said.

    You are right that it is necessary to carefully study post modernists to deconstruct and refute them. I am more familiar with Ferdinand de Saussure, Freud, Marx, Indology; and might start with them.

    I should also concede that there is a big difference between the nuanced understandings of Foucault, Gramsci and how modern people misapply their

    1. theories.

      Kabir, part of you must revolt in disgust at the way post modernists imply that “darkies” such as Pakistanis are weak, vulnerable, and victims; instead of the truth that we “darkies” (and Pakistanis) are far more powerful, influential and capable than post modernists can imagine in their wildest dreams and worst nightmares.

      Why do post modernists want to destroy the self confidence of “darkies” so much? Could the truth be that post modernists are afraid, that post modernists are jealous?

      1. Islam has clear rules on divorce. Those rules don’t apply to non-Muslims. The US is a secular state and many states have “no fault” divorce laws. In the West, many people live together without ever getting married, that’s their business, not mine.

        Islam says you are not supposed to have sex before marriage or outside marriage. Gays are not supposed to have sex ever. Is this reality? No (not even in Pakistan). But it’s what the Orthodox believe. Luckily, we don’t live in a theocracy (and those of us who do want tickets out as soon as possible).

        I have read “Orientalism”, a long time ago. I do know that Said was one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. You and I aren’t even fit to comment on him. He is brilliance personified. He literally invented Postcolonial Studies while being a passionate advocate for his people–the Palestinian Arabs.

        The main point is the humanities are just as hard as whatever it is you do. Don’t invade our turf without actually doing your homework. I am not going to get into this with you right now. Do your homework and then perhaps we can talk.

        Said is not God of course and it is possible for him to be wrong, but you need to actually read his work seriously and then you can point out where he may be wrong. Not everything is a vast “post-modern conspiracy” (or I could say a vast “neo-liberal conspiracy”)

        1. Kabir, people have the right to get divorced. There are people very close to me that I thought would benefit from a divorce. This said, is divorce really a good and costless thing most of the time?

          In the US there are large data sets of high IQ individuals. Their average divorce rate and out of wedlock birth rates for their children are around 10%. In one study that I saw of high IQ individuals, the sample population had a divorce rate and out of wedlock birth rate of only 2%.

          The ideal divorce rate and out of wedlock birth rate is more than 0% and less than 76%. Is that really controversial?

          Divorce and out of wedlock births are one of the leading drivers of poverty, unsuccessful businesses, unsuccessful careers, low wealth, committing crimes, being incarcerated around the world. There is overwhelming statistical data on this. This said, sometimes divorce and out of wedlock births are the right thing to do. There are always exceptions.

          Of course IQ is more correlated with the above outcomes than out of wedlock births and divorce . . . which has greatly frustrated many people–including conservatives. In other words the benefits of two parent households drops when IQ is held constant.

          On Said, yes he was an exceptional man. But he isn’t at the level of the greatest Palestinian (Jesus), Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, Hussain, Muhammed pbuh, and the mysterious Sufi masters. I have extensively read about and been inspired to tears by the great muslim masters. Just to think of them is for the mind to slow . . and for miracles that cannot be described in words to manifest. For the silent sound to become deafeningly load and for the goose bumps of heaven. To disappear for a while.

          I refuse not to comment and talk about the muslim masters. If I talk about muslim masters; why not Said?

          1. Divorce is a personal decision. Only the people involved know whether they can or should save their marriage. Unless they are my family members or have specifically asked for my opinion, I don’t really care what they do. Yes, divorce is hard on children. But living with parents who hate each other (in the same house) is also really hard on children.

            You are free to talk about Said. But do your homework first. I refuse to further engage with stupidity (everything is a “post-modern conspiracy to destroy Asia”). Seriously? The Ancient Greeks were influenced by “Sanatana Dharma”? In which universe? European civilization developed on its own. They probably had no clue that “Sanatana Dharma” existed nor did they care. Read Said. Try to understand. Then come back and talk to me. Otherwise, peace out.

            I don’t talk about your subject because I know that I don’t know anything about economics and I don’t care enough about it to bother to read up on it. It bores me to tears. But if you’re going to go on and on about “post-modernism/structuralism/ subaltern studies” you should have the humbleness to admit you may not actually understand it and attempt to do so.

  5. Difference between cultural appropriation of physical kind like food, dress and another of intellectual kind, of which christianity has been serial criminal. I see all the time of xtians or even jews make Aristotelian arguments or platonic arguments and in the final step plug in jesus/ yahweh etc. Jordan peterson does it every time he says, archetypes. That comes from platonism. Christianity is active persistent dishonesty that pollutes the source of knowledge through this game to avoid intellectual scrutiny. A form of intellectual infidelity of sorts to deliberately confound, confuse recognition of origin of ideas.

    People keep asking me what exactly is wrong with this way of reasoning?. I think once mr omar asked. The answer is polytheists are relatively more tolerant because source of knowledge can be from many places. Monotheists are not, however monotheists make use of polytheistic source of knowledge, whether it be logic or reasoning, tools first discovered by polytheists through their body of knowledge/worldview. What is wrong with this is that monotheists could never in a million years discover the arguments of aristotle or plato or stoics from within the body of their tradition and knowledge. So how can they use their arguments honestly?. If you can show that from A you can reach B in an honest way, then it is right to use B in arguing for A. However, if you are p and you cant reach B, for you to continue to use B is dishonesty. This is how christianity got away, it continues to be dishonest, even atheists in west dont hold them to this, perhaps they prefer christianity that allows for place to reason. Islam on the other hand is more honest and self conscious of greek philosophy being somewhat incompatible for Islam. Christianity won not be defeating the best greek philosophers, but by going to the village side where people are not all that well equipped intellectually . Even now, if one were to read the methods and means of evangelists in India, it isnt through thomas aquinas, that just is a good argument against the sophisticated. It is about creating a network to be able to hold things accountable, xtianity keeps spreading in a way as to dodge intellectual scrutiny. I only chuckle when jordan peterson says jesus is logos and truth is very important in Christianity. I am now reading his books and other stuff.

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