Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief
I know I have probably talked about it before, but the terms white and black magic have pretty racist connotations.
For the most part, white magic is considered pure, good, the ‘love and light’ kind of deal. Wicca, general witchcraft, and new-age spiritualism are considered white magic.
As for black magic, it is the flip side of the coin to white magic. Curses, hexes, anything having to do with the ‘darker’ side of magic.
So where does racism fall into play?
Besides the obvious white is good, black is bad, the words are also weaponized against certain brands of practitioners. For example, Vodou and Brujeria are considered darker shades of magic, but really they are just different shades from the Euro-centric.
Vodou, Brujeria, and the like have long been demonized due to their different practices. I am not pretending to be an expert, but from the little I know, their practices are not very similar to the European traditions.
It is not hard to villainize closed practices. With their shroud of mystery, and the minorities that practice, it is easy enough to make their traditions something they are not. The use of sacrifice, blood rituals, et cetera can seem dark from an outsider’s perspective, but we only have part of the story.
Like with Judaism, a closed practice, people are afraid of what they do not understand. Jews are frequently the scapegoat for whatever is going wrong in the lives of the majority. Even in modern day, antisemitism is prevalent. In New York, towards the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of the outbreaks were blamed on Jews with little to no evidence, and this is not something new to our century.
The same thing happens with other practitioners. I was listening to a podcast the other day where the man on the podcast talked about Brujeria, despite not being a part of the practice or knowing much more than some scant research. He went on to describe some of their “inhumane” rituals, and talked about how Brujx practice a sort of ‘black’ magic.
But what does he know? He is not privy to their practice. He was not brought in and taught the reasons behind everything they do. He is one man, doing research for a spooky podcast, and he falls into the same trap that most everyone does who is not a part of the practice.
The terms white and black magic are antiquated. White magic, good magic associated with Euro-centric ideas of witchcraft, is just another way to persecute minorities, or ‘black magic’ practitioners. Maybe it is best to leave old ideas in the past, and respect our fellow practitioners and their cultures.