Reader Says Leave Wicca to the White Folks

Last week, I ran a blog post about the changing racial makeup of modern Paganism, including, but not limited to Wicca. In general, readers were pretty supportive, as I've come to expect from our little community here at About Pagan/Wiccan. Lots of folks stopped by to share their stories, both readers of color and those who felt that skin tone and racial background shouldn't have to play a huge role in one's spiritual identity when one is called by deity.

However, one individual made a comment that I feel needs to be addressed specifically. In my five years as a Guide here at About Pagan/Wiccan, it's been pretty rare that a reader comment has been so offensive that I feel a need to call them out on it. This, my darlings, is one of those occasions.

A reader named Silvia not only feels that Wicca needs to be left to white folks -- because apparently it's all they've got left -- but also, she blames me for the notion that people of other colors might be entitled to believe the same stuff she does. Her comment reads as follows:

This is a very dusappointing(sic) article. Other races have their own pagan traditions. Wicca should be reserved for whites. White people have almost no place where they can come together and experience collective pride for their culture and ancestors. Wicca was one of rare exceptions. Now, thanks to Patti, we don't have even this. I don't see any point to be Wiccan then.

Really? REALLY?

You know, sometimes people in the majority tend to marginalize those who are the minority. White people have no place where they can come together and experience collective pride? Are you kidding? In the United States, white people are the majority - those of us who are white enjoy a privilege that our neighbors and family members who are Not White will never experience.

Silvia, you ever get thrown out of a restaurant for being white? Ever get stopped by a police officer because white folks don't belong in rich neighborhoods? I mean, seriously, I'm as white as they get, and I'm well aware of the fact that I'll never encounter any of the prejudices or bigotry that my non-white friends will.

Also, it's one thing to have a tradition that's inclusive (and many traditions are) versus one that is exclusive. There's a big difference between "inclusive of group A" and "exclusive of group B." Certainly, any group should be able to say "We celebrate XYZ," but that's not the same as saying "None of those other people are allowed to celebrate XYZ like we do." I have extended family members of a variety of ethnic backgrounds and skin colors - and they're all welcome to celebrate in the circle with me any time they like.

Furthermore, I'm sorry, Silvia, that you feel I personally have somehow stripped you of your right to hang out in a religion full of Just White People and Nobody Else. And who's going to be in charge of "reserving" Wicca for white folks? The Wiccan Race Police? Is someone going to throw my friend Kazoo and her family out of ritual for Paganing While Brown?

The good news, Silvia, is you can rest assured that there are plenty of places on the Internet, and in real life, where you can find like-minded people for support and validation. However, this ain't the place.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Edited on 6/27/12: Folks, I'm closing the comments on this thread. While I'm pleased to see so many people who agree that no one gets to dictate other people's beliefs, a lot of these comments are turning into personal attacks on the original poster, rather than discussion of the issue at hand. Thanks to all of you who participated in the conversation.

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