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Caucasians becoming rastafari

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Messenger: Humble one Sent: 1/12/2015 2:03:44 PM

P.S Your response encompassed many topics. i do not have time to reply at the moment. I will come back to this tomorrow,

Best Wishes,


Messenger: Shasatabe Makonnen Sent: 1/12/2015 8:52:18 PM

Bless up for good reasoning


Messenger: Humble one Sent: 1/13/2015 1:19:05 PM

Dear Shiva Jiva,

Firstly, let me thank ShivaJiva for her kind words.

I have to admit that I am still learning a lot, and that my overstandings of things are not perfect; for example, and please note this;

It did not ocurr to me that you had been stripped of a surname. In this way, yes, I have the priviledge of a surname, and I feel that a surname is your right just as much as mine. I apologize for the immidiate reaction because when I heard white priviledge, I thought well, I did not choose to have these priviledges.


"if you overstand what Rastafari is than you acknowledge that it is for black people." - ShivaJiva

Do you not think that if a white person actively DOES NOT WANT more priviledge than a black person, and would fight to see these injusices to black people restored then he could not be called "Rasta". You said "for black people". Could it not be for a white person who also supports this cause?

Yes, I did not have the knowledge of white priviledge in the way that, for example, she does not have a surname and I do. I live and learn these things, and having heard this;


If these injustices exist, then I feel that they are very wrong.



My point is that I have learned new things, but I still feel that I have no choice of my heritage.

And, my question one to you is;

Acknowledging that there is injustices such as the lack of a surname, to give but one example, if a white person would actively fight to have those rights restored to an equal level of those that do, would you still, in your view, not call him rasta solely because of the white skin?


Messenger: Ark I Sent: 1/13/2015 1:58:04 PM

Acknowledging that there is injustices such as the lack of a surname, to give but one example, if a white person would actively fight to have those rights restored to an equal level of those that do, would you still, in your view, not call him rasta solely because of the white skin?

A person that is RasTafarI may perform a set of tasks or live a certain way, but performing this set of tasks and living this way doesn't make a person RasTafarI. Being RasTafarI is being RasTafarI, the actions don't make a person RasTafarI, being RasTafarI causes a person to perform the actions.

Messenger: Humble one Sent: 1/13/2015 2:02:29 PM

Ark I, I do not overstand. Can you please relate the theory you have stated to this example,

All the best,


Messenger: ShivaJiva Sent: 1/13/2015 4:20:03 PM

Humble one

Just to clear up any possible confusion, I'm a male. No worries though :)

To start, I want to reiterate that Rastafari is fundamentally a radical and revolutionary, sometime militant, liberation movement. To claim oneself amongst those ranks to I is no light claim. I don't know how to word this any differently so I apologize if this is blunt, but the concept of white privilege is not new at all. Most black people understand what white privilege is before they can write. I think it is extremely bold, to say the least, for a white man to claim himself a Ras when he himself has never even considered white privilege, which is among one of the most basic ways in which white supremacy expresses itself. Acknowledging white privilege in my eyes is not a radical is usually the basic fundamental baby step in which most conscious white people realize that racism still exists. To be a Ras is to be a revolutionary in the face of oppression and that is a serious task. It means educating oneself and often-times putting the I in harms way in order to assert your own rights. It is easy for a white man to claim to be a Ras but how many of them recognize the ways in which their colonized minds continue to downpress?

To elaborate, I grew up in an area of almost entirely white people. Many of my good friends are white, they are good people. This said, in my experience white people are so conditioned into a sort of subconscious and veiled white-supremacy that they do not realize the ways that they hurt people of color. They say they stand with black people and believe in equality but the moment that a person of color challenges their power in a serious way the white person gets defensive and sometimes hostile. Its easy to preach equality but it takes work and sacrifice to make happen. To be straight with you I think this is a perfect example. You state that you dont want the privileges you have, that you never asked to be white and if it were up to you everyone would be equal. Well, as a black person, I have come to concede that there are certain spaces I will never be allowed entry...certain things I will never be able to do because of my race. I have conceded the fact that almost every space I am in throughout my life will be overseen and dominated by white males. One of your privileges as a white person is that nowhere is off limits to you. Nothing that you want is completely and totally beyond your grasp. You can go anywhere on the planet with the exception of maybe North Korea, be a part of any club, go in any public building, and you will be treated with respect. Now here you have a large number of black people politely stating that Rastafari is a movement for black people, and yet white people insist that they are entitled to be Rastas because everyone is equal in the eyes of Jah and that they believe in equality and bla bla bla bla....If you genuinely believe that you shouldn't have more privilege than a person of color than why persist on inviting yourself into our space when we are not inviting you and we clearly cannot be in your spaces? Such behavior is asserting white supremacy. It's not something most white people do intentionally, I think it's a product of our culture, but the harsh reality is that every single white person I have ever met does this. They assert their own supremacy and disempower black people by subconsciously imposing themselves and their values onto black people and into our organizing spaces.

Ill make a connection that you might resonate a bit more with. I've seen in a few other threads that you are interested in psychedelic plants. (I want to briefly note that because of this I do not doubt your sincerity in the slightest...) I'm guessing that you are familiar with ayahuasca? Well, ayahuasca has been a part of indigenous Latin American culture for several thousand years, and right now is the only entheogen still used traditionally by indigenous peoples. It has gained extreme popularity amongst white westerners. So much so that something that is fundamental to Latin American culture and spirituality has now become a bad word of sorts. Ayahuasca is now commonly associated with new-age western tourists and rich white people. Tourists will fly from other continents and pay thousands for the ayahuasca experience, and in the process they will destabilize the local economies and contribute to deforestation for tourist industries and the unsustainable harvesting of the plants needed for the ayahuasca brew. Westerners will establish their own retreats smack dab in the middle of the Amazon, clearing acres of land and forcing the nearby indigenous residents to move. They proceed to take massive quantities of these plants from the nearby region and invite tourists worldwide to come participate in the healing ceremony, all for profit. Additionally, westerners can order these plants online and have them shipped to their doorsteps, so what we are seeing is again massive overconsumption of sacred plants which is leading to deforestation, destabilized economies, and degraded ecosystems. Now the intention of these white people is sincere and honest. They are looking for healing, connection to the Earth and to the Most High--but because of their position as white people, because of their privilege, because they are asserting their dominance in the act of assuming entitlement to another culture's sacred practices, they are destroying the local tradition. Ayahuasca survived the Spanish conquistadors, but it may not survive Western appropriation.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I don't think white people are entitled to appropriate Rastafari. Plain and simple, it was created by black people for black people.

Now to answer your question.

Acknowledging that there is injustices such as the lack of a surname, to give but one example, if a white person would actively fight to have those rights restored to an equal level of those that do, would you still, in your view, not call him rasta solely because of the white skin?

I have no right to say who is or isn't a Ras. In my humble opinion, I think it is totally reasonable for white people to be allies to the Rastafari cause. I would encourage it. Again though, I think it is important to acknowledge that to do so means educating yourself about what the structures of white supremacy look like in the modern world. Learn about colonialism, learn about minimum sentencing laws, drug laws, birth control laws, capitalism, imperialism...again its not all about wearing the red yellow and green, saying HAIL SELASSIE, smoking chalice, and feeling good about yourself. It's harder than that. One has to go the extra mile, and that is something that many white people do not want to do. But if you are up to it, then yes I do think you can be an ally. And being a good ally means recognizing that as a white person there are certain spaces which you are not automatically entitled to. Thats what challenging white supremacy looks like.

Im not sure I can really go any further with this without just repeating myself. I hope none of this comes of harsh or insensitive, but we live in a harsh and insensitive world and thus the social truths of our time often reflect this. Please don't take it personally; as I have said a few times now, you seem like someone I would call a friend if I knew you in person. I have nothing against you as an individual. I know that you had no more of a say in your heritage than I did; but we all carry with us what we have been conditioned to believe by our culture, and unfortunately white people have been raised to believe they are superior. Even the most sincere among us will carry what is buried in our subconscious to the spaces in which we occupy. For black people it is paramount to have these spaces where we can be together, as African peoples, and not have to worry about a white person "accidentally" disempowering us. You might not do it on purpose but you do it, and black people don't like it. I don't see what is wrong about us wanting to be able to organize without white people imposing on us?

I am a male and I consider myself a feminist in many regards. I am appalled by the systems of patriarchy which have subjugated women through history. But I also recognize that I am indeed a male and though I work to dismantle patriarchy, I also carry it with me subconsciously. Therefore I take it upon myself to be as respectful as possible spaces where women come together, never will I impose unless they are openly inviting males or asking for their opinions. When I am told by a woman that my speech or behavior is demeaning or unwelcome, even if I do not overstand why, I acknowledge that because of my social position as a male my patterns of asserting male dominance often go unnoticed to me. So I take a woman's word for it... she would be the one to know, not me. I work to change my behavior accordingly, and if I still struggle to overstand than I continue to educate myself. Interpersonal and psychological change is a process. Question, educate, decondition, repeat. It is a cycle. In the words of George Jackson, "Consciousness grows in spirals".

Bless Up

Let me also provide you a few links that you might find interesting. We are all familiar (I am hoping) with the disproportional arrests and sentencing for possession/distribution of cannabis of black people even though black and white people are known to use the herb equally. We are all familiar with how persecuted the Rastas are for their smoking of ganja, and they often face violence for their beliefs.

Well look what happens when a white self-proclaimed Ras gets busted with herb:


A black Ras would never have such luck.

Messenger: GARVEYS AFRICA Sent: 1/13/2015 4:46:36 PM

With the teachings of Mosiah Garvey in mind how do ones feel about the idea and need for black owned business in this time? Now imagine a white man who claims to be aligned with the African liberation movement but argues against black business because he wants his share in the business too! Now apply that analogy to religion, spirituality, livity or however you want to classify Rastafari..... Shiva Makes a good point about sometimes a conscious move for white people is to step back, and allow for that black space to happen, recognising the need for SELF when it comes to our rediscovery from.....white oppression.

Africa for Africans at home and abroad does not just speak about repatriation! This message means so much more including that of African affairs, and is very relevant to this topic.

I have heard many white people who 'follow' RasTafari 'religiously' but wouldn't call them self Rastafari.....

White people have 'intervened' with black culture to the point of almost unrecognisability for far too long! Few white people who claim rasta are without any experiences of western society. Black people have to fight for what is indiginous to them all over the planet. Rastafari is a part of that fight if not the fight itself.

ShivaJiva....... I don't know if you caught this but please watch 'cross examination of a Rastafari' on YouTube. It's from the 90s and the RASTAMAN answered these same very questions brilliantly. And very relevant, it may add a little to your overstanding also. I would repost but not at the computer...


Messenger: ShivaJiva Sent: 1/13/2015 4:57:16 PM

Aye thanks, I'll definitely check it out tonight! I've been looking for good media on the subject of Rastafari.

Good connection to Garvey. If the I is unfamiliar with how they downpress, look to the past for examples as they reverberate through history in different mediums.

I could see a white person believing what a Ras believes and following the spiritual practices, and in that respect I don't see any issues. But to believe what a Ras believes and to call oneself a Ras are two very different things.

Messenger: Ark I Sent: 1/13/2015 5:04:49 PM

Humble One,

It is not a theory. What I am saying is that you could copy everything that RasTafarI people do, and still not be RasTafarI. RasTafarI is a kind of people, not a compilation of actions. So the answer to the question, "If I do A, B and C, does that make me RasTafarI?", is no. The answer to the question, "If I am RasTafarI, will I do A, B and C?", is yes.

Messenger: RAS NATE Sent: 1/13/2015 6:05:50 PM

This is very true Ark I.
This is one of the things that makes RasTafarI not a religion.In religion ones just have to do certain things and pray that much etc. and ones get 'membership'.
However RasTaFarI is different.Even the locks,herb,music etc. are only externalizations of the main thing wich is the internal recognition and confirmation of RastaFarI truth wich ones can't force to appear or disappear but those who are Rasta simply have it in them.

But it's also true that when ones are learning about RasTafarI and are attracted to RasTafarI,but have not completely realized they are RasTafarI yet,doing certain things and not doing others will help them to come closer to JAH and therefore they will see they are Rasta sooner.
So doing A,B and C and living a certain way will not make a person who is not Rasta become Rasta,but it will help a person who has not realized he is Rasta yet see who he truly is sooner.

Praises be to JAH
Selassie I

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Haile Selassie I