Developed nearly 5,000 years ago in India, yoga was created as a comprehensive system to further develop the entire body, including spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects. The practice is best known for its breathing and posturing. Today, there are still some classes that focus on these traditional elements, encouraging a greater quality of life. However, many today consider yoga a low impact way to stay in shape. However, one yoga class, created by Laura Humpf, is addressing another issue entirely.
Humpf’s class, hosted at Rainer Beach Yoga is called “Undoing Whiteness.” That’s right. This yoga class isn’t just about getting in shape, being a little less stressed, and learning to slow down. This class serves to “unpack the harmful ways white supremacy is embedded in the body, mind and heart.” In addition to contemplating these issues surrounding “whiteness” the class also dissects the “pathology of whiteness.”
Humpf is a certified yoga instructor who has been teaching yoga classes since 2004. Her goal for her “Undoing Whiteness” yoga class was to “directly combat racism.” Apparently, she was inspired to do so by high-profile cases of black Americans being shot by police officers.
Humpf previously hosted a yoga class for women of color only that she says gave them a “safe environment” to practice yoga. This class eventually led to some complaints being filed with the state Attorney General’s office. This didn’t result in any official charges, because Humpf apparently didn’t “prevent” white women from taking the class, but simply “respectfully asked” them not to in order to create an all women of color class. One wonders if the new class “Undoing Whiteness” will also lead to some complaints on the opposite side when women of color are “respectfully asked” not to attend. Seems a problem waiting to happen.
In addition to getting in some stretching, exercise and a lecture, participants of Humpf’s “Undoing Whiteness” class are also encouraged to read “Witnessing Whiteness” and be prepared to discuss elements of the book during their yoga time.
It’s worth noting that Humpf is herself a white woman, so class attendees will be lectured on the inherent evils of their race from another white woman.
The class is reminiscent of another voluntary lecture white women can endure when they sign up for a “Race to Dinner.” This event was co-founded by Sairo Rao and Regina Jackson in 2018, and pairs white women up with non-white women who share a meal together. White women sit and “bear witness to the pain they have caused the black and brown women” throughout their time together. Oh, and they pay a few hundred dollars for the experience as well.
The group’s website explains that the company’s goal is not to make white women comfortable. It is to prove to every white woman that she is in fact a racist, even if she didn’t believe herself to be. For example, according to the “Race to Dinner” group, simply denouncing the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan are not enough.
“As a white person in America, you are an active participant in upholding white supremacy,” the group’s site reads. “Brown or black people are on the receiving end of white supremacy and white women are on the giving end.”
This means that even if a white woman doesn’t harbor any ill will towards those of another race, simply by being born white, she is still racist.
There really isn’t any other way to put it: this is just another form of racism. The saddest part about this is that there are people who are willing to fork up their own cash to have someone else tell them that they’re horrible people.