Thursday, April 17, 2014

And it continues...

Well, I got responses from my remarks on the Facebook group page.

Before I post the screenshots, I want to mention that I changed methods in how I screen-capped these conversations about half-way through the events. Typically, I block out names. As much as I'm for public scrutiny on people who have problematic opinions and practices, I do realize that employers and communities hold prejudices against non-Abrahamic religious beliefs that fall under the pagan umbrella. This Facebook group I am screen-capping is actually private for those reasons. So, I block out names for that reason.

However, green-blocked guy from all these chats is public about his beliefs. He legally changed his name to reflect these beliefs. So I think Kevin EarthSoul doesn't need this type of protection when he is willing to be public about his ideas, beliefs, and teachings. (This extends to his wife.)

And in fairness, I also unblocked my legal name (typically hidden with the purple blocks). My online life and offline life are so intermingled that it hardly needs to be a secret. I'm open about my spiritual beliefs too. So after I unblock his name, I also unblock mine. (Spoilers: my legal name is Marcella. "Allec" is my nickname backwards, "Cella.") And I also want to be under scrutiny for my actions. I am a white middle-class person. I am speaking as an ally, not as an oppressed person, in these conversations. Therefore, if I misspeak in any way please tell me.

First off, he responded to my "smack down" and I got so frustrated that I lost a bit of my temper. I say "a bit" because I still took a day to cool down from the initial anger (which was through the roof) and cooled down to a fuck-you-and-your-fucking-racism.

There is so much wrong in what he wrote that I will admit right off the bat that I did not address all of it.

The "professional racist" is a remark towards how he teaches shamanism and Native ceremonies. He gets be racist. A professional racist. My boyfriend nailed it.

And to that, he responded:

After this, I got another message from the admin of the group about UU values and how "we all need to be reminded of them." This passive aggressive criticism really, really irked me. I hate this. This happened with the other pagan group's Facebook too. If someone has a problem with how I approach a subject or discussion, I would appreciate being told so personally and directly. 

Yeah... This is intended for me, I am almost positively sure. It went up almost immediately after I swore at another member. Which, admittedly, I understand why someone would be against swears. There are still debates in the social justice blog circles about whether or not swearing at someone--bigoted or not--is an appropriate response. That's a different conversation, though.

I responded:

As you see, I try to figure out if I am suppose to tolerate and/or respect racist beliefs. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don't think Yellow answered my questions? 

I haven't yet got a message back from Yellow or Red, but I did get a response from Mrs. EarthSoul:

That hasn't yet been responded too.

Meanwhile, Sirrah EarthSoul made another post about cultural appropriation.

The book he bought was Talking About the Elephant. I then link-dumped all my resources on the issue of cultural appropriation. And then, I even researched the book's authors--since there are many.

My concerns about the book's authors being racist were confirmed a bit later when I talked to CAORANN about Lupa and another contributor,  Erynn Rowan Laurie. At the very least, the editor is an exploiter which tells me this book is as useful as trash. 

EarthSoul responded, and again really really angered me in his understanding of religions.

So we have generalization of Natives, claiming that an oppressed group somehow stole their oppressor's religion, and that books are superior to other forms of education (which is albeit an opinion held by many people who don't understand technologies' impact on information.)

I was angry, but I managed to not swear this time:

And then I added resources and information I got from CAORANN's board member: 

And I do hope this project about pagans and racism comes to fruition, since it is obviously very very needed.

Ahh...but he did not respond to what I wrote! Instead, I guess my "civility" was never lost in my swearing, but in acknowledging he is supporting racism:

This is an unfortunate norm in USAian society. Calling someone racist is considered worst than the racism itself... I fell victim to this too. Being called racist gave me the same reaction EarthSoul gives. "How dare you! I don't hate x-group!" ...but as I learned about being an ally to oppressed racial groups, I learned that being called racist is not an attack necessary but a way to point out my problematic behavior so that I can correct it.

I thought he would be done with this discussion, since the last two times he ended the conversation when confronted with me pointing out his racism. However, he replied:

He has points about "shutting down" a conversation and the problems of trying to "win a debate." However, I am not trying to win a debate. This isn't a debate to me. This is akin to claiming the water is polluted. It isn't a debate. I ran a test, it came back positive. Therefore, the water is polluted. I read articles by Native activists and Elders who say that EarthSoul's ideologies are harmful and racist, therefore they are racist.

THAT is all there is to this clusterfuck. I still haven't been banned, which is surprising. I don't have any hope that any of the 50+ links I shared will change EarthSoul's mind on why he is racist and an exploiter, but I do have hope that the people in the UU group will learn something. Though that hope is slowly crumbling under the support EarthSoul is getting from the admin and others.

I usually link what I screen-cap, but there are 50+ links. Therefore, I'll just link to CAORANN since the bulk of the best resources are from that website. If you want any of the specific links, leave a comment and I will return promptly with the direct link. 

I expect another blog post to come out in the next few days with at least the UU members responding to my intolerance to racism. 

Again, I implore anyone to tell me if my approach to this issue is wrong, misguided, or offensive. Especially if you are Native. 


  1. Man, I want to be friends with you. There is far too much casual racism, and I was guilty of it when I first started out. All the resources I could find as a new pagan had me calling myself a celtic shaman. Thank gods I found articles and blogs like yours and the ones you link before I managed to create too much of a mess around me. And it's still a process of learning, but it's an important process and it's better to be a little embarrassed and say 'sorry' and stop the behaviour than to stand n your pride and become stubborn defending something indefensible.

    Loooong rant to basically say, thank you for doing what you do.

    1. Something I didn't mention was that people called me "racist" which opened my eyes to what I was doing when I started out... There are too many books with "Celtic shamanism" and other horribly wrong and/or harmful information. It's sickening how easy it is to fall into that trap :/