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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in paganism and racism

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 

 

In the dark days following 9/11, I heard numerous voices of condemnation raised from within the Muslim community: That isn't real Islam.

As a non-Muslim outsider looking in, I have to say that personally, I found (and find, since they continue to be raised after every subsequent atrocity) such responses disingenuous at best, self-serving at worst, but ultimately unsatisfying, and possibly even dishonest. Worst of all, such a response doesn't even begin to address the problem.

Who, after all, gets to decide just what is, and what isn't, real Islam?

As a outsider looking in, it sure looks to me as if the Islams of the world constitute a continuum. Some are inherently violent, some aren't. As a pagan outsider looking in, it seems to me that the most honest statement that, under the circumstances, one can make is: This is not my Islam.

I find that I respond similarly to discussions of racism in contemporary Heathendom. Who decides just what is and what isn't real heathenry?

(As to whether or not I can claim either insider or outsider status here, you'll have to decide for yourself. Of the Tribe of Witches, we're wont to say: We're too witchy for the heathens, too heathen for the witches. Straddling the hedge, of course, is fine old Witch tradition.)

Who owns the past? As pagans, I think that we often feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to the past: that, because of our love for it, the past somehow belongs to us in ways that it doesn't belong to others. In this, of course, we deceive ourselves. The past belongs equally to us all.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Alas, Ill News in Pagandom

Alas, ill news in Pagandom.

To judge from his social media presence, it would seem that Holden Matthews—the domestic terrorist who recently torched three predominantly-black churches in Louisiana—is pagan, apparently of some folkish heathen variety.

If that doesn't make you angry, it should.

If that doesn't make you feel ashamed, it should.

Here are some entirely inadequate responses:

He's not a pagan/heathen.

That's not real paganism/heathenism.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm pagan, not heathen.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm heathen, but not folkish.

[It doesn't involve me because] I'm folkish, but not racist.

Who Matthews is in his own heart, we do not know. But we can be certain that refusal to take ownership of problems in our own community achieves nothing.

Some better responses:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks, Carol. I've updated.
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    link no longer working

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Changing Minds

The fact is, people do change their minds.

The question is, how to get there.

I came across an interesting story recently in Leonard Zeskind's 2009 Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream.

Zeskind was interviewing a heathen who held to a staunchly folkish position: i.e. that the Northern Way is exclusively for those of Northern European descent.

Well, but.

There's a man who has been part of the informant's local heathen community for years. Decades ago this man decided to make heathenry the center of his life, and he's done so ever since.

He knows the Old Lore thoroughly. He does lots of work in the community.

He's a committed Thorsman who offers to the Thunderer every day.

He's black.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Studies show that when people change their minds, it's usually the result of personal relationships. It's a long, slow work, a wor
  • James H. McCoy
    James H. McCoy says #
    I like the post. Also being a Heathen who is black... just have to go the extra mile to show that the hammer around our neck is no

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Talking Across the Hedge

There were pagans on both sides of the mess in Charlottesville this weekend.

Agree or disagree, they're still our tribe.

As the “Vote No” campaign here in Minnesota—which successfully defeated an anti-marriage equality referendum—proved, the single most effective way to change other people's opinions is by engaging: by getting to know them personally, and by letting them know you.

We're pagans. Whatever our politics, we have certain things in common. We still share a common language.

So here are thirteen questions to ask those pagans on the other side of the hedge.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Mab Nahash
    Mab Nahash says #
    Because the biggest issue I've seen is Eurocentric paganism's anxiety about people of color, I'd like to offer a few points that s
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I live in a world, Marc, in which pagans perceive one another as holding something in common. I live in a world in which the singl
  • Marc
    Marc says #
    What kind of mayonnaise-slathered world do you live in?
This is not the blog entry I intended to write

This isn't the blog entry I intended to write this week.

The blog entry I intended to write was going to talk about the article featuring me that appeared in my local alt-weekly, the Dallas Observer. It was going to talk about the reception of the article in the Pagan community, which was surprising in ways both pleasant and not. It was going to talk about the way that I've seen coverage of Paganism change in the Dallas press over the last 20 years. 

...
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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Blessings on you dear one, blessings on your city, blessings your work
PaganNewsBeagle Fiery Tuesday May 5

In today's PaganNewsBeagle we bring attention to the ways in which political action and Pagan culture intersect: sometimes easily, other times with a fair degree of dissonance and friction. We've got anti-capitalist May Day history tied into Beltane; racism in the Pagan community; a test (are you racist?) for the brave; BlackWitch on Baltimore, and HecateDemeter undermining the patriarchy as only she can.

Gods&Radicals blogger Rhyd Wildermuth points out that the intersection between the wild Pagan holiday of Beltane and the anti-capitalist holiday of May Day is hardly coincidental in this post on the Wild Hunt.

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