Doing the same old workout day after day can get stale, so it's no surprise gyms and yoga studios often try to mix things up and throw special, themed events to get clients more engaged. Recently, Santa Barbara's Power of Your Om Yoga Studio decided the best way they could do that was by holding a "Ghetto Fabulous" yoga class. To participate, students were encouraged to wear cornrows, snapback caps, and heavy lip liner. For inspiration, they linked to a "How to Be Ghetto Fabulous" article from WikiHow. Yes, REALLY. But wait, participants could also walk in and be provided with "various costumes" -- for instance, there was a "do-rag giveaway," attendees said -- and "guaranteed belly laughs." Wooooooow.
Thank goodness some people who caught wind of this crazy, downright tone-deaf event were flabbergasted and took to the studio's Facebook page to express their outrage.
One commenter noted, "The main reason this problem is even arising is because we have white people teaching an art form that originated in the Middle East/India. Like Miley Cyrus twerking, and minstrelsy (yes, you better believe it) they think that doing something 'ghetto fabulous' which is mocking and horribly racist, is supposed to be fun." No kidding!
In her own defense, yoga studio owner Adrienne Hengels issued a response:
Thank you all for the eye-opening discussion and I do apologize for offending anyone - those of you that commented, emailed, and anyone else for that matter. The class happened and we are doing other themed classes in the future that may include various types of music/genres and we have made note to focus on the music versus singling out any group of human beings that has the potential to offend others as that was not the intention. I can see how it could be offensive and we do apologize for offending you or anyone.
Well, at least it's an apology, but it still doesn't sound like she's learned from her mistake. She sounds terribly ignorant, totally out to lunch, and like she doesn't seem to realize how she crossed the line into total racistsville, arguing that she'll still be "doing themed classes" that "include various types of music/genres." Could she be more vague?! I shudder at the thought of what's next ... "JAP-themed" yoga, where you are supposed to come wearing your designer bling and post-nose job tape? "Guido Day," where you come wearing way too much hair gel, your best wifebeater, and a ridiculous spray tan?! Horrible.
We can only hope that the backlash continues and forces Hengels & Co. to get a clue ... or lose enough business that they get the wake-up call they deserve.
What do you think about this yoga class -- and the owner's response?
Image via GoToVan/Flickr