Rainier Beach Yoga in Seattle recently sent out an email inviting folks to a "Yoga For People Of Color" class, and specifically noted that white people shouldn't attend (video below).
According to MyNorthwest.com, the email describes the class as "lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer and trans-friendly/affirming," but adds, "white friends, allies and partners are respectfully asked not to attend."
The email also invites those who self-identify themselves as "African American/black/of the African Diaspora, Asian, South Asian, West Asian/Arab/Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, First Nations/Alaskan Native/Native American/Indigenous, Chicano/Latino, or Multiracial/Mixed-Race."
Teresa Wang, who co-founded of the class, told KIRO Radio host Dori Monson's show that the class is trying to appeal to those who "reflect who we are, reflect our thoughts, and, you know, our belief system, or like (unintelligible) what you look like."
Monson's show asked Wang what would happen if a white man came to the class, and she replied:
Well, it's a class for people of color, and so he would be coming to that class knowing that we're really clear about who we're asking to come to class, and so you know, I think that, you know, I'm not really sure because it hasn't happened to us. So I don't really know, but I just want to be clear that it is a class for yoga, it's like yoga for people of color.
Monson said on his show that he didn't mind a yoga class that didn't want "whitey," but added that if white people held a class that excluded people of color, they would be "vilified." He concluded by saying that both types of classes are "racist."
The Rainier Beach Yoga website states, "Yoga is for every body. Classes taught at Rainier Beach Yoga are geared towards all levels of experience, and you are encouraged to listen to what makes the most sense for your body and mind."