Buddha heads and respect

I don’t much like the term cultural appropriation” because I see it mostly used in frivolous contexts. Instead I think the word respect sums up everything that’s needed.

I noticed this on sale at Action (a low-end general store in the Netherlands):

Look, how zen!Look, how zen!

Using Buddhist imagery for decorations is incredibly common, yet it’s disrespectful towards those who would consider this a sacred image.

Companies with Pride logos sell those sorts of things. I know very woke people with these sorts of zen” decorations.

Since Asian Buddhists aren’t likely to behead people who use their religious symbols to market trinkets, nor are Asian Buddhists in the West likely to organize into identity politics, these sorts of trinkets will never make the woke” verboten list.

And I think this demonstrates why the movement is a failure. Right now being woke boils down to a list of things to say that will mark you as educated, a tech worker, etc., things to say so you don’t get fired at work, things to say so you won’t get canceled.

Instead, I’d rather foster a genuine respect for others. If someone genuinely thinks that a Buddha head potted plant is a respectful representation, so be it. That’s his or her choice. But I’m guessing in most cases the answer is simply oh, I never thought about it.” And I’d rather open a discussion instead of condemning someone, calling people racist, or making any demands.

The thing about fostering respect, is that it can take different forms in different contexts. Whereas I feel that woke”, as it’s manifested today, is a blasé monoculture that allows real harm to hide behind a nice facade.