I thought that the McCarthy era of blacklisting people was over. Unfortunately, in the belly dance world, it is alive and well.
A dancer has created a list that is being widely circulated on the web. On it, she lists the names of dancers she views as racist, homophobic, culturally misappropriating, politically incorrect, sexist, inappropriate, etc. Each is listed, along with her alleged crime. She also lists dance troupes and dance events. I find this repulsive and wrong. Yet, many famous dancers have embraced it, and support it.
Has this dancer ever met and communicated with the dancers she accuses? Those I know, who are on the list, don’t know this person. The dancers I know are the most caring and open-minded people. What gives her the right to judge? For instance, she lists dancers as “Trump Supporter.” I am a Democrat, who detests Trump, but political affiliation has nothing to do with dance. Dancers are being called out with ridiculous comments. What she is doing is character assassination, defamation of character and libel.
The dance world has now become “Us versus Them.” I have been a student and instructor of belly dance for over thirty years, have traveled the world, and studied in Egypt, and have found more diversity in belly dance than in any other art form. Belly dance is a universal sisterhood. At least, I thought it was. I am now ashamed to be a belly dancer.
Does discrimination exist? Yes. My dance company had African-American members, and we were not hired for events because we weren't "authentic enough," "too black," or just passed over. We didn't name names and become accusatory. We persevered.
If this dancer feels discriminated against, or hurt, there are other means of addressing the issues. Accusing others is not appropriate. Instead of writing about the infractions, why isn’t she doing something about them?
My message to her is, “Be the Change.”