"Dye-Ing Culture: Color Run, White-Washing Holi Since 2012" by by Nadya Agrawal
The Color Run™ and other similar ideas like Run or Dye™ is a great and fun way to run with your friends, come together as a community, get showered in colored powder and not have to deal with all that annoying culture that would come if you went to a Holi celebration. There are no prayers for spring or messages of rejuvenation before these runs. You won’t have to drink chai or try Indian food afterwards. There is absolutely no way you’ll have to even think about the ancient traditions and culture this brand new craze is derived from. Come uncultured, leave uncultured, that’s the Color Run, promise.
Doubtless you’ve seen posters advertising for Color Runs™ in your neighborhood – they’re the ones sporting happy white college kids covered in color. You may have even paused for a second to appreciate the clear fun they’re all having as they enjoy a part of the desi culture. But honestly, the Color Run™ does absolutely nothing to give credit where it’s due. And to add insult to injury, they’ve trademarked out tradition.
According to the Color Run™ website, there are only two “simple rules”: 1) Wear white at the starting line and 2) Finish plastered in color. That would’ve been an original idea if Indians hadn’t been doing it for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
The race ends with something called a “Color Festival” (actually in quotes on the website as well). Sounds an awful lot like a digestible name for Holi. Sorta like how white people call Diwali the “Festival of Lights” even though this is a major over-simplification—I don’t think we just light a whole bunch of candles and call it a night. Nope, we tell stories from the Hindu Scripture, the Ramayana, share sweets and gifts, say prayers and welcome the New Year.
And at Holi, we don’t simply throw colors in each other’s faces—it’s a place to play with people you love and revel in the vibrancy of spring. One of our favorite and most colorful holidays is being, pun intended, white-washed. And it’s like we’ve been completely eradicated from this event as nowhere on the Color Run™ website is there mention of India, Holi, Krishna, or even spring. Apparently this is a completely organic creation of the Color Run™ head honchos. And they’re making loads of money from it.
There is a vague understanding that the Color Run™ pays out money to charities selected by their runners. I cannot find evidence on the website (or the Yelp reviews) as to where exactly the money raised from the runs and their store goes and I have no idea how much of every dollar donated goes back in the Color Run™ administrative workings. It seems even the runners, if the reviews are anything to go off of, don’t have a clear idea where their donations are going. So, our culture is being co-opted to turn a profit, but at least you can buy a pair of super cute shorts that say “Color This!” Hai Ram, if our Dadis saw this, they’d be threatening thuppards all around.
I can bemoan the misuse of Holi, the profiting off our culture and the further sexualization of it, but I think worst of all is that it doesn’t give us the chance to share Holi properly. Personally, I love it when I can bring my non-Desi friends to the annual campus Holi function. I can show them a part of my heart and an aspect of my identity as a strong Brown woman. The Color Run™ robs me of that chance because now everyone who participates gets a diluted (and completely wrong) version of desi culture. With this Holi knockoff, they lose the culture and the tradition, but they keep our colors.
Read about the Hindu roots of Holi
[This is from a screencap from my friend’s page that she shared on Facebook that was too small to read. These are the words of Letha Connor Frye.]
There are a lot of people who are new to the lifestyle or have discovered the life because of a certain series of books…..to them I say this:
knowledge on you right now.
Wanna know the BDSM mantra? Safe, sane, consensual.
So let me explain why this book was devoid of all three of these things.
Safe - In the first few chapters of the novel, Christian Grey tracks Ana’s cell phone to find her at a club. Takes her home when she’s drunk, changes her when she’s so intoxicated she doesn’t remember him doing so, and informs her [that] he will be keeping tabs on her for her own benefit. This is not the behaviour of a respectable Dominant. This is the behaviour of a power hungry, abusive asshole who really can’t take no for an answer.
Sane - One of the most important parts of BDSM is aftercare. Scenes can be extremely traumatizing and intense for the submissive. Aftercare is anything from petting to cuddling to holding to sweet talking, whatever degree of gentleness a [Submissive] would need to pull them out of “subspace”. How does Christian provide aftercare? He submits Ana to traumatizing first time spanking experience AND THEN FUCKING LEAVES. AND GETS MAD THAT SHE DIDN’T TELL HIM SHE WAS UPSET. He’s the one who should fucking know better! That, again, is not the act of a responsible Dominant. It’s the fact of a selfish abuser.
Consensual - Did I mention he undressed her when she was belligerently drunk? Tracked her phone to locate her? He also buys her a new car despite her saying no countless times. Now, consent is important for any kind of sexual activity at all. Consent means informed, consent means enthusiastic. Informed, enthusiastic consent. This is crucial in a BDSM setting. Scenes can be extremely intense, especially for the [Submissive]. What is Christian’s form of obtaining consent? Handing Ana a fucking contract highlighting all the things he wants to do [to] her asshole and asking her to sign it. She was a virgin (Don’t even get me fucking started) who had never before been exposed to BDSM. Entering in that kind of relationship takes a gargantuan amount of trust and knowledge so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Not reading a list of kinks on a piece of paper and signing your rights to say no away. Christian didn’t offer her resources; he didn’t over her information. He gave her an ultimatum. That is not the sort of consent a responsible Dom/me would seek from their Submissive.
Fuck. This. Book. It’s written in a shitty way [and] it’s a terrible example of a BDSM relationship (ask anybody already involved in the lifestyle and watch them go blue in the face just thinking about it), which is already faced with enough prejudice and misunderstanding and it romanticizes and glorifies abuse.
Your friendly RL non-fictional Pervert.
Me. [Letha Connor Frye]
—To Ms. Frye, I completely and wholeheartedly agree.—
While I am 100% here for people calling out 50 Shades, I have a question I’ve long wondered about the BDSM mantra…isn’t the use of “sane” ableist and can feel pretty exclusionary?
Those who have a problem with use of “sane” have adopted RACK as their new mantra. It stands for Risk Aware Consenting Kink. It acknowledges that not all kink is “safe” because really, hitting your partner is inherently not safe. But it does advocate practicing such kinks with a mindful nod towards common rules of safer play. It also eliminates the “sane” criteria because a large portion of kinksters do suffer from mental issues (ranging from anxiety to depression to more). The basic concept of ssc is still there but it isn’t sugar coated so nicely.
Thank you to you and the others who helpfully discussed my question on this post! (Unlike some folks who called me names or made fun of me for asking.) I was asking a question in good faith—as an outsider to the community w/ what I thought was a legitimate question. Your info is helpful!
On Wednesdays we wear pink! Mean Lolitas, our lolita parody of Mean Girls, is now live.
Ahahaha so today I’m freaking out about my debt, and how useless my degree is, and being stuck at Starbucks, and how much I’ve fucked up my life already despite being handed fucking everything.
We at Hiveworks are proud to announce our latest collaborative comic, premiering early 2015!
What is Umbra Rising?
Umbra Rising is a comic about an isolated city in the middle of a dangerous world filled with monsters. During the day, the city is perfectly safe. At…
DEFINITELY reading this :O
I really need to start making stuff again. I feel like I haven’t made anything in years. The last thing that stayed with me is my one complete but poorly drawn chapter of my comic, and that was well over a year ago and was the only thing I produced in France. Everything else has been shitty work made for assignments, only produced to meet minimum criteria.
I need to just start drawings comics, just keep making stuff and setting and meeting deadlines. The main thing stopping me is the awful crushing feeling of wanting to just give up art in general which has been happening more and more frequently. I’m also now working full time, but late shift work, so I don’t have a regular schedule and I end up wasting all my free time because of it. I work so much better with a set schedule. But I’m also just making excuses.
i find my cosmic insignificance reassuring
the stars don’t fucking care who i am or what i do
i owe the universe nothing
i exist on my own terms
#when existentialism becomes comforting rather than horrifying
I love singing “Credens Justitiam” cause it sounds like I’m singing something beautiful in latin but I’m just an anime nerd singing a transformation song.
But really though, that song is beautiful. The Madoka soundtrack is my favourite anime soundtrack thus far.
Working with dots cause I love dots as much as I love lined. I will upload these soon!
Funeral carridge - imperial court of Vienna/Austria shown at Wagenburg Schönbrunn Palace
Would get a licence if I could ride around in this thing.