Students who get upset about yoga should learn a thing or two about cultural change.

For students trying to seem so culturally aware and intellectual, they are completely clueless. Check out this article:

Ottawa College Bans Yoga

I completely agree with the following article.

Article on Cultural Appropriation

Okay, so where are we at on this topic? These are lessons I teach my ninth-graders. Culture changes. You can’t stop it, not would you want to. Every culture changes. You see that word EVERY in front of that. When first a cultural element comes into contact with a foreign culture, the relationship is tenuous, perhaps curious, perhaps skeptical, and sometimes even enthralling.

When I first moved to Vietnam in 1994, the culture I dragged with me came into contact with lots of new cultural elements I was previously unfamiliar with. Some parts of Vietnamese culture were thrilling. Other parts I completely couldn’t understand and wanted nothing to do with. But over time, I began to navigate their ways, understand how to act in certain circumstances, and even tried new things.

What happens next depends on the situation. If cultural elements are transmitted into a new culture, it’s what we call cultural diffusion. Every culture is diffused with ideas from the outside. Korean culture is influenced by the Chinese. Malaysian culture diffused in Islam from the Middle East traders and Chinese elements from the Straits Chinese. American culture is a mish-mash melting pot of a variety of different examples of cultural diffusion.

There are no pure cultures – not in this day and age. Even the remote hunter-gather tribe of Tanzania, the Hadza, wear tire-tread sandals for convenience sake. Are their sandals an example of cultural appropriation. Of course not, because that’s a silly idea.

It’s beyond ludicrous for non-Mexicans to be criticized for eating Mexican food. Does this sound too outrageous. Well, there was a college in Ohio whose cafeteria had to endure protests because the Vietnamese food they served was not an authentic representation of what it’s really like.

Cultural change is a messy business. It doesn’t follow ordinary channels and protocols. It’s awkward college students doing a type of yoga they that don’t fully understand. It’s a chef who uses a spice combination or technique from a different culture. It’s me, in the kitchen, making bad Indian food because I don’t know what I’m doing. What I am not doing, however, is trying to offend Indians. I revere their cooking. That’s why I try to emulate them.

These ridiculous examples are just that. Ridiculous. We need to stop finding offense where there is none because I know one thing for certain: it won’t stop cultures from changing and adopting new ways of doing things.

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