I think it's about respect, as Aurelian says. I do think there is a difference between taking inspiration from a cultural practice, seeing a spell done a certain way or hearing a technique, and (having done the research on that technique) weaving it into our own Practice. However, if someone wishes to fully practice a Craft that is not from their culture, then I think they need to immerse themselves in it, do the research, speak to people who were born into that practice where possible and take their guidance, as Aurelian says learn the language if you need to, actually do the work. They need to be aware of their own place in the world and realise they may not be widely accepted because of, not just historical events, but current racism.
I live in England and with the Brexit decision, the racism is hugely obvious. I constantly hear slurs against 'immigrants', and am constantly exposed to the lack of understanding that is abound about any other race or heritage but White-British. People have no idea that everyone from Britain was originally an immigrant if we go far enough back, they have no idea about the history of the language and how it's odd complexity stems from that mingling of races. I don't think it is any wonder that many Witches feel protective of their own culture, neither that they feel hostile to people who still fail to offer true equality today. We often hear that spiritual paths should be open to all and should not be kept to race - but, personally, I think this is only true if one truly commits to it.
There is a big problem with white privilege and feeling this 'right' to practice whatever we want to, on whatever scale we want to, without actually thinking about it with empathy, understanding, knowledge and context. This links to Aurelian's comment about language - if you want to be part of a tradition, learn the language; there are so many traditions with important songs in their language. There is also a problem with Witches not examining their desires hard enough - do they want this connection because it feels 'other', because it's new and exciting? What is it that appeals to them? The way the practice is carried out? Does it simply feel more real to them because Witchcraft is more present and practiced in that culture without such a break in its history (or at least the history people knew about)? Is it to do with admiring a person they've seen practice it? Is it the particular Gods/Saints/Spirits worked with appealing or calling, and if its appeal then what is it about them that appeals? Is it a rejection of their own culture and a further movement away from a religion they grew up with (often Christianity) because those things have hurt them? All these questions and more need to be asked (in my opinion) before thinking about working fully in another practice.
Essentially, I - as a White English woman - have no right to complain about a group of Witches or Shamans who want only those of their culture included. My culture still ostracises them and until that changes (and I have helped bring about that change rather than sitting back and letting others do it) then I have no right to infringe. In fact, it is important that those cultures do have those safe spaces to practice their own religion or Craft. There will also almost always be someone willing to teach you a practice, but you may have to move country, travel long distances, learn languages - if you're not willing to do these things then I don't think you have the right to complain you're not included.
I'm not saying someone cannot be called to practice another Culture's Craft, work with their Gods or practice their religion, but I do think we need to really do the work if we want this. Similarly, I think we should be actively working to lessen racism and the ostracism of other skin colours, cultures, races etc. if we want to include ourselves in this. Some of these deep, powerful and meaningful practices were used in revolution against slavery and oppression - like Haitian Vodou - so of course it is offensive to have people making them so much less than they are.
Edited to update: Bear with me, this may seem unrelated at first, but I think it's an important illustration of racism today and white privilege.
In my area parents and children have a fun thing going on where they paint a picture on a stone and hide these stones in the area (around part of a London borough), then children look out for them while going about their day etc and then rehide them for someone else to find. They have a Facebook group and - as my son adores the whole thing - I am a member. To give an example of the level of racism here right now, I got up the morning after the above post and found someone had posted a stone with a picture of Golliwogs* on it. I contacted a group leader immediately and the matter was well dealt with by them, however I found out that before I joined a few weeks ago, this issue had already come up with the same and similar pictures. The group actually split because a large quantity of members felt Golliwogs and other racist pictures were not only acceptable for themselves and their children, but that by disallowing these images, it breached their rights to 'have fun'. It made me so emotional, angry and ashamed that people would do this - yes, I am aware of it already, but this was like an extra punch in the face about the racism of this country and the area I live in. I am full of disgust for it all.
So, until these awful issues are dealt with, and people stop White Priviledge, I don't think a white person has the right to complain about not being allowed to 'join in' with a cultural practice that they weren't born into and often don't understand. I don't think they have the right to moan about any acceptance issues relating to themselves being accepted by other cultures. Some of the people in the Painted Stones group felt it 'ruined their fun' or was 'unfair', without considering the continued ostracising of other races and cultures, of families participating in that group, without considering how they were teaching their children racism was funny and 'their right'. The same applies to some Witches - they do not have the right to faff about with practices without consideration of those who have been and are being ostracised, be it for colour or race. They need to be using the utmost respect of other races and cultures and analysing the bejeesus out of their own white priviledge before deciding to take those steps.
Sorry, if this is garbled, this situation with the stones has shocked me - in a children's group and that many saw no issue, truly horrific.
Edited by BlackbirdSong, 16 September 2018 - 02:02 PM.