Mata Hari. You have probably heard of her before, but do you know her story? She was an exotic dancer of Dutch descent, who was accused later in life of being a spy for Germany by the French. Hari was executed by a firing squad, and she never should have been. You see, it was later found that Hari was, in fact, not a spy. Two things she was which made her an easy target? Sexual and female.
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Journalist to construction boss, 1890s: "Is an Italian a white man?"
Construction boss:"No sir, an Italian is a Dago."
(taken from Louise DeSalvo's, "Color: White/Complexion: Dark")
In 2002, NYC DJ Chuck Nice, a black man, said: "Italians are niggaz with short memories" (Guglielmo & Salerno 1). The Italian American claim of "whiteness" has been a contentious issue in the United States, going far back before DJ Nice's comment. It began back in Europe with sayings like, "Europe ends at Naples. Calabria, Sicily, and all the rest belong to Africa."
As many of you know, I have been doing Power Yoga Teacher Training for the past 2.5 months. It has been an amazing experience, and just recently finished. I completed the training through a corporation, and while I love this particular place and its many amazing teachers, it has been difficult negotiating my feelings of "corporate" yoga with my desire to keep the traditional, unmaterialistic viewpoint that is yoga's foundation. First, I should say that, yes, I understand yoga has become a big business in the Western world. There are thousands of yoga studios all around the U.S. teaching many different styles of the ancient discipline. I understand that yoga has become more than a "fad." My problem is a personal one... do I want to further my yogic development by teaching rich, white women who have easy access to it, or do I want to bring yoga to those who can't easily access it--those who would never take a class, or be able to take a class, had it not been offered to them in a more inclusive way?
I am constantly questioned about my ethnic and racial identity. Apparently, I do not resemble "America."