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6814: Re: Talking about Vodou (fwd)

From: Laura L Mcphee <llmcphee@iupui.edu>

It has been my understanding that Vodou is an extremely personal,
family, and/or regional based praectice -- with no formal
creed or "standard" practices.  Because of the variances
in practice, it becomes difficu t to articulate articulate absolutes
and when people try -- the result is oversimplified

I realize that many people on this list are familiar 
enough with this aspect of the religion not to make
sweeping generalizations, or use the experience of
one initiate or practitioner to characterize thousands
of other Vodouisants.  But I also know that there
are novices, students, and quiet listenters who often
use this list as a source of understanding Haiti,
Haitian culture, and Haitian-American culture.  It
seems irresponsible at best for one or two people,
particularly Americans whose experience/practice
of Vodou is significantly different than those
whose families have shaped the particulars of their
practice for centuries, to make blanket statements
or speak of "percentages" as if a conclusive
practice exists.

It would seem to me that the attitude in Vodou 
towards homosexuality would mirror society's
attitiude -- particularly because Vodou becomes
a repository for experience, history, and politics --
and that attitude would be different according
to the environment where Vodou is practiced.
If certain manbos and ougans in the US are more
tolerant of homosexuality it refelcts US 
society -- if those in Haiti are less tolerant,
it mirrors Haitian society or a particular region's
social practices.

Bottom line: be skeptical towards anyone who claims
to be an expert on Vodou or speak on behalf of
all the religion's practictioners! Especially
Americans speaking for Haitians.