I read the autobiography of Frederick Douglass Jr. when I was in fourth grade. The part of the story that struck me the hardest was the description of little Frederick being sold up north to Maryland, to be a happy little white family’s very own first slave.
When Frederick first arrived, he joined a warm and loving family, filled with laughter and natural flow of kindness. Within a year, however, the family became cold and bitter. There was no more singing and easy affection, and there was severity where once there was kindness. The continuous strain of having to be “superior,” and needing to suppress their natural generosity and loving impulses towards a fellow human being—a child, in fact—meant ...
Why a Healer Needs to Consider Race
Too often, “I don’t see color” is translated as, “I don’t want to hear about racism.” The white person who said these words might not have meant it that way at all—but it is important to be aware of how we are coming across in a context where there really are a lot of white people who just do not want to hear or know about racial pain.
Those of us who are white healers supporting BIPOC clients do need to take some extra steps to signal clearly that we are ready to listen, and ready to have our awareness stretched beyond our own lived experience, into domains of experience that we haven’t known.
Middle-Aged White Woman
Teaching Asian Medicine
Is it cultural appropriation for Westerners to practice Chinese medicine? How about Westerners teaching Chinese medicine? How about innovating new practices, new perspectives, new Western adaptations or sub-modalities that owe their origins to Chinese medicine?
These are important questions, and they must be ongoing questions. It seems likely that the short answer is that yes, this is cultural appropriation—but then, having made this determination, what is our next step? Surely it is not for all Westerners to stop receiving, practicing, and sharing Chinese medicine. How do we engage that which our culture did not create in a way that is respectful and generative, as a gift rather than a theft?
There are many pathways to explore ...