First, I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who commented on my last post about cultural appropriation. Consider this a general reply, since there seems to be a common theme among most of what people had to say.
I feel a bit like there was some misconception that I am not secure in my own path. The point I was trying to make in my last post was not “I feel unsure in my path”, but “I feel unsure about the best practices in addressing cultural appropriation and shamanism, because it seems every single possible solution that is brought up is invariably attacked by someone claiming it’s appropriation”. I am comfortable in my own balance and my practice, but I want to continue to be a constructive participant in the wider discussion of appropriation. My frustration comes down to wondering what there is beside the complaints that seem to dominate the dialogue. I’ve seen very little from critics on what’s going right; it seems no potential solution is without its attackers. It’s like being a ship in a storm with people yelling “WRONG WAY! WRONG WAY!” no matter which way we turn, and not single person saying “Here, here’s a safer path”.
Some of you brought up the idea that maybe there will always be people who are never satisfied, no matter what. On the one hand, it would seem lovely to just ignore the naysayers entirely. But I worry that if I do that, people who have felt shut out for generations will just continue to feel shut out. So the quandary is how to determine what’s signal and what’s noise, and how to navigate that without falling into old cultural patterns of oppression.