“The reality of this is that white European dancers will never know my intersectional experience.”
A university yoga group disbanded after one Indian student complained that a dance performance it staged disrespected her “intersectional experience” of “systemic racism.”
The Bhakti Yoga Club of American University in Washington, DC, in October invited a multinational Hare Krishna dance troupe called Viva Kultura to perform the Indian epic “The Ramayana,” according to ISKON News. However, student Maya Krishnan far from spiritually uplifted by the show.
She subsequently filed a complaint with the university’s office of diversity and inclusion and penned an outraged op-ed for the student newspaper.
“Having my culture represented by an almost entirely white troupe of dancers is incredibly frustrating. Additionally, the director and other representatives of the theater company absolve themselves of cultural responsibility by saying that the point of the show is to increase exposure of Hinduism and its traditions,” Krishnan wrote.
“The reality of this is that white European dancers will never know my intersectional experience as a Hindu woman, being a brown bodied person and the other aspects of systematic racism that I, as well as other South Asian people, have experienced.”
Amid subsequent backlash, the yoga club’s faculty adviser, vice president, and president resigned, ending the club’s university recognition and campus activities.
Other, mostly progressive, commentators have pushed back on such concerns, suggesting that there is some value to an education in social justice, and that the problem is far from the cultural crisis that critics suggest.