It Happened To Me. The 5 Best Responses to That Silly Yoga Essay.

xo Jane Yoga Article

In case you missed it, the interwebs has been ablaze this week after this article about a white woman being “disturbed” by a large black woman in her yoga class was published on xoJane. Naturally, this caused all corners of the web, out of solidarity of course, to begin mocking the writer to high heaven. You can read the original here, if you can stomach it, but be aware that names and other details have since been changed to protect the (not so) innocent.

One positive that came out of this shitstorm is all the thoughtful, poignant, and just plain hilarious, responses to everyone’s favorite yogi. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.

1. It Happened To Me: I Read An Essay About A White Woman’s Yoga Class/Black Woman Crisis And I Cannot

“The self-centeredness you employ in describing this class at your “beloved donation-based studio…[where they] preach the gospel of yogic egalitarianism” as a solar system revolving entirely around you is not quite in keeping with the yogic principles you espouse, is it? If you really believe that yoga is for everyone, why would you describe the woman on the mat behind you in such alien terms? And your little soupçon of self-awareness does not mitigate your dehumanization. Without full understanding of your privilege, you can never be a true ally.” by Pia Glenn via xoJane.

2. I’m a Big Black Girl Around Small White People and I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It

“As a plus-size woman of color, people are constantly “telling on themselves” in regards to how they see me. It could be as simple as calling me “girl” instead of my name or being shocked when I sing along to Incubus songs, it could be something as nuanced as mentioning their own appearance in contrast to mine, or as awkward as quoting Tyler Perry to me and assuming I’ll get the reference (I won’t).” by CeCe Olisa via The Huffington Post.

3. It Happened To Me: I Saw A White Girl On My Train And I’m Suddenly Uncomfortable With It

“I went back to my apartment and collapsed on my bed, my Angela Davis and Waka Flocka posters staring down at me as if they understood the pain that was coursing through my veins. That poor white woman on the train! I can’t believe I went through my whole life without understanding how terrifying us black and brown folks are….This experience also single handedly stopped my addiction to crack cocaine and out of wedlock pregnancies. #Blessed.” by Ashley Reese via The Gloss.

4. It Happened To Me: There Are No White People In My Twerk-Out Class And I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It

“I got home from that class and immediately broke down crying. I mean I was hysterical. I called my therapist, my mother and my pastor to help me cope with the pain. Twerking, a beloved dance that has helped me through many dark moments in my life, suddenly felt deeply evil. I so deserved to be targeted by that woman’s racially charged anger. But maybe that’s my own psychological projection. Nah, she was totally hating me.” via KazzleDazz.

5. An Open Letter to the XOJane Writer Who Cried About a Black Woman in Her Yoga Class

“Yoga isn’t about “skinny;” yoga is about strength. And ANY person who doesn’t have the strength to execute a pose should find the perfect regression for themselves, something this woman did…for reasons that could have not a single thing to do with her being not-skinny…To know that you need to accommodate your own abilities when surrounded by people who are more advanced than you takes humility. That is major.” by Erika Nicole Kendall via A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss.