I will sharpen my axe on your skulls, WordPress.

How irritated am I that one of the “Freshly Pressed” posts greeting me every time I log in here is a young American missionary lady wringing her hands over the oppression of the Dalit caste in India and insisting that we all join her in praying for Indian folks to see the light of the Lord? So irritated.

Not that caste conflict isn’t a serious issue, but it’s fucking infuriating to see some dunce reduce it to “those people need some Jesus!” (As if religiously-sanctioned social inequality has never existed in Christian countries. I guess that whole “Spanish Inquisition” thing was just a mass hallucination of some sort, huh? Not to mention missionary Christianity’s role in various bloody colonial interventions.) Also annoying: the painting of Dalits as a faceless mass of victims, rather than people with lives and initiative of their own who have, yes, challenged the caste system on occasion.

While I am not a believer in absolute cultural relativism, I think we could all take a hint from writers like Indian feminist Uma Narayan, who stresses the important of researching and historicizing cultural traditions like the caste system before blathering away about them (her specific example in her book is sati [widow immolation], but I think a lot of the same things apply). Is it practiced the same in every area of India? Does it affect Indians who are not Hindu (yes! They do exist!) in the same way? Do the people enforcing it have motives other than religion? (Upper-caste people are also generally quite wealthy – is the idea of wealthy people holding onto their goods at the expense of others really such an alien idea?) What about the historical debate/contestations of this idea? These are some questions that are worth thinking about. But then again, why do that when you can reduce the whole thing to needing a piping-hot Jesus injection?


~ by Smellen on June 25, 2010.

One Response to “I will sharpen my axe on your skulls, WordPress.”

  1. I noticed this too. What a load of bollocks. It’s not even just the once – they’ve put up several of her posts. I normally avoid having to look at the ‘Freshly Pressed’ page by skipping straight to wordpress.com/login.

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