Dr. Maria Velazquez received her doctorate from University of Maryland, College-Park. Her dissertation, “Reclaiming Black Beledi,” focuses on belly dance and its use as embodied political rhetoric post-9/11. She received her MA in Gender/Cultural Studies from Simmons College, and is a Member-at-Large for National Women’s Studies Association.
“Reblog If You Feel Me: Race and Digital Wellness”
In 2014, XOJane published “There Are No Black People in My Yoga Class and I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable with It.” Written by a white woman, this “It Happened to Me” article struck a peculiar, racist, and voyeuristic note as the author speculated about the emotional wellbeing of an overweight black woman she observed in her yoga class. In this project, yoga is used to explore digital activism, race, and online community. After all, the erasure the XOJane piece demonstrated is two-fold.