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General Cultural Borrowing Is Great; The Problem Is Disrespect

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General Cultural Borrowing Is Great; The Problem Is Disrespect

sukhsingh

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Aug 14, 2012
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This is a good thing to remember....it isn't always intentional.
Of course.. It doesn't mean that someone is being consciously disrespectful..

How many times have we heard someone be racist and have no idea that they are being so? Doesn't mean they not being racist they just 'ignorant' .. 'we' still have to call it out
 

Tejwant Singh

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Jun 30, 2004
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How many people would actually want to know, ask questions, and take the time to research about it? Some may - and this could indeed be a positive thing - but it comes down to how the dastaar is being portrayed. I am pretty sure most would not take the time to research, and they would come to associate dastaars with whatever else is being portrayed in the music video. Conditioning. Media is a big tool which teaches people many things. I think this is what the heart of the cultural appropriation issue is- are items that have a deep/significant meaning to a group being respected/used in appropriate context, or are they being portrayed as a pop-culture fashion statement, a fad.

There should be no patent on dastaars, but dastaars do have meaning associated to them.
The View
 

Tejwant Singh

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Jun 30, 2004
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We are all products of our environment. The more environments we get exposed to for longer periods of time, we adapt ourselves to them quite unconsciously. As far as Yoga/meditation is concerned, which the topic is mainly focused on, we can all thank or blame The Beatles and their Guru, Maharishi.

Yogi Bhajan saw that and as a customs officer in India, he moved to the US to teach Kundalini Yoga. It was the right timing in the 60's because he got all the drug-induced hippies and through the Yoga of which he had no knowledge of but claimed to the westerners that he was a Yogi and had a Guru in India who taught him that, he made them drug free although things got ugly after sometimes and one of his businesses became to smuggle marijuana into the US. Many of his chelas got caught doing that.
Many hippies flocked towards him and gave up drugs, became vegetarian and started using the white regalia which they still do. This was the beginning of the multi-billion empire of 3HO. Yoga with the Sikhi look white regalia became their snake oil pitch where they use Sikhi as their billboard to advance their businesses which is still thriving.

With this fame came a lot of political influence. As a result, the worst translation of the SGGS, our only Guru was ordered by Yogi Bhajan to one of his disciples, Sant Singh Khalsa which was then sanctified as the best translation by the SGPC despite Sant Singh's urging to his master about his lack of Gurmukhi skills.

One of their most thriving businesses is called Akal Security which has had multi-billion dollars contracts with the US government to secure the buildings among other things. The latest contract of the group is to secure all the illegal immigrants including many who are seeking asylum in the 'holding pens' where thousands of kids are also without their parents. If we see this from the Sikhi point of view, one can argue that this kind of business is wrong ethically speaking but ethics is not the goal here. However, as it is done under Akal- timeless- Security, one can add this to the gumbo of the cultural appropriation.

Mind you, this did not start with the Yoga and the Ninjas but long before that. Marco Polo turned Chinese noodles into spaghetti, the staple food of Italy. The word loot is from India and the Brits used the word in a literal manner when they started looting India with shiploads of goods. There are many words that we use in English come from India like a gully, Jodhpurs, Chakras, Kamarband etc. One can go on and on.

As the world is shrinking daily at a quick pace, eventually, borrowing cultural values would become like borrowing a cup of sugar from one's neighbour.
 

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