When does culture appreciation become cultural appropriation?
Whether its those mandala print wall hangings with "om" written on it, or the elephants on furniture. Or Yoga, or 'naan bread' or 'chai tea'-- Westerners have often taken a lot, and (by lot, I mean, a lot. Here's looking at you, Kohinoor) and made it their own to the point where you can't even recognize your own culture.
And now they're making TikTok videos about it. A self-styled white woman, called 'Kundalini Yogini' has been broadcasting as a preacher or a "voice for Hinduism".
In a video posted on TikTok, 'Kundalini Yogini' is seen with two other white men dressed in what she calls 'traditional Hindu clothes'. Their "quarantine look" involved dhotis, turban and rudraksha malas.
This visual is coupled with Doja Cat's 'Boss B*tch' soundtrack. The lyrics go like this: 'I'm a b*tch, I'm a boss'.
She captioned the video, "Not what you’d expect 😂 (we are attending an online ￼spiritual program based in india)"
But that's not the highlight of this video. The comments are.
I have grown up and lived in India and have never seen anyone walking around the streets wearing that this 'yogini' calls "traditional dress".
What 'Kundalini Yogini' does is appropriation, mockery and it's hardly different from the mindset of colonizers-- the idea of 'I know better.'
It's 2020, and we have come a long, long way from the idea 'exotic east' -- We are not the land of snake charmers and Maharajas. Nope.
And honestly, if I wanted to know more about my religion, I would read textbooks. There are plenty. What I would not do is take advice from a white woman who tells me to recite a 'mantra' to get rid of 'evils.'
“Any identity you believe about yourself that is less than you being god, is low self-esteem, because you are god.” Living Enlightenment — Kundalini Yogini (@prasiddhananda) April 1, 2020