Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Young Folks and Intersectionality August 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 6:53 pm
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Josh over at Vegan Metal Bike Dad Punk Blog has posted two posts detailing his frustrations with this “I Hate Kids” mentality that is pervasive in the vegan community. Some people have responded harshly (sort of an understatement) to his assertation that it is a form of bigotry, and people disagree (saying that is a personal preference). And some dislike his comparison of saying “I hate kids” is like saying “I hate people of color.” I personally think that it was a valid comparison– as much as one can compare such things, after all both bigotries have different histories.

What I found interesting was the way the arguments against giving a shit about ageism (or not acknowledging that they are ageist) are damn near identical to the arguments white vegans give about not caring about racism.

To me, being a vegan entails compassion and non-abuse towards animals. Not people, big or small, but animals. “Don’t have choices, don’t have conscience”, proliferated for use and gain animals. En masse.

People require, and receive, a completely different approach from me, on the basis of their personal merit.     –monia, leaving a comment @ ppk

Fuck worrying about other systems of oppression, lets worry about individuals. Despite the fact that this same person, and others, grouped all children together and cast judgement. People will fight for their right to hate children. Also, the thing that really put me on edge was how somehow these same sorts of folks will make connections between their veganism and their childlessness due to some idea of the world being overpopulated. See I know the overpopulation argument is steeped in racist, malthusian logic.

But even some of thew ones who were pro-children made an argument that I hear vegans use for other oppressed groups. The [insert group of people here] are animals too– so I care argument. Maybe I just don’t understand why some vegans have to spin it that way– instead of just caring because other people are beings with desires and interests who deserve respect.

What are your thoughts?

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32 Responses to “Young Folks and Intersectionality”

  1. Kanika A. Hodges Says:

    Since my current gig is healthcare, I come across a lot of children in the office. The quiet well-behaved ones are a treat and a rarity. But most of the time, I get ones that yell at the top of their lungs, run around the office and tear up magazines, all while the parents sit their like zombies. It annoys me that I have to be the one to tell the kids to sit down/be quiet/stop destroying the room when I am not the parent…

    It’s pretty much the same way when I ride the bus, which is why I ended up buying an mp3 player last year.

    Years ago, I adored children and wanted a ton of my own. Now…Not so much (if at all). With that said, I don’t hate children…Just would rather not have any of my own right now.

    Josh’s comparison of hating children with hating people of colour is completely apples and oranges. Western society has always revered and protected the child while systematically oppressing and demonizing people of color.

    However, I believe there’s something to the overpopulation theory. Everywhere I look, pristine forestry and vegetation is torn down (driving away wildlife) to build new housing. It makes my heart heavy sometimes…

  2. Royce Drake Says:

    I feel that Josh’s comparison is as valid as pointing out the similarities between sexism and racism. I don’t know if Western society has always revered children, but not all of it does anymore. But Western society has a history of revering and protecting white women– which doesn’t mean that white women don’t face sexism. So I feel that children do face ageism.

    Also I feel that I hear similar stories to yours, but replace healthcare with social work, and children with people of color, but the ways of talking about them are the same. And replace having children with socializing with folks of color.

  3. Sara Says:

    Yes, being vegan should be part of a larger ethic of ending oppression, period. I remember very clearly being a child, and how people would take out their frustrations on you because they could (because as a child you are weaker), and you couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

    The deal with the children in the above commenter’s post is all about the parents, and not about the children. But yes, even with decent parents, sometimes children are louder than adults. So what. They’re learning how to deal with life, and are a part of society. Adults need to learn patience. Just because children can be annoying doesn’t mean their existence isn’t valid.

    And overpopulation doesn’t mean we can’t value the children that are already here.

  4. joshivore Says:

    hi kanika,

    in all of the discussion going on about my post there has been a lot of examples given of children behaving badly and i’m not sure why. is it to…justify statements like “i hate children?” some folks, like yourself, have pointed out that despite this behavior you’ve witnessed, you don’t hate children, but i’m not sure i understand what pointing out bad behavior in kids we’ve all witnessed has to do with anything. the behavior isn’t representative of children, nor of parenting so it casts a shadow over the group we are calling children before you get to your point. which is odd.

    if it was a discussion of race i am fairly certain me pointing out the bad experiences i’ve had with specific people of color before i stated “but i don’t hate black people” would be ill received?

    regarding the comparison, western society has a clear (and living) history of demonizing people of color for sure, as you said. i don’t think, because my issue is in a very small community and not systematic, it isn’t parallel and relevant. if it’s only a little bit of oppression in a small community, that doesn’t make it not bigotry, it just makes it a smaller instance effecting a smaller group.

  5. Kanika A. Hodges Says:

    Gah- I realised I made a grammar error…It should be sit there like zombies :\

    Royce – I see what you mean but @ the same time I don’t. With sexism, there is that history of systematic oppression against white women there that I really don’t see against children. I agree there are people who don’t really like children @ all and don’t want anything to do with them, but I don’t think there’s that urge to “keep them down” as there is with other groups that have that history of oppression. So that’s why I have an uneasy time whenever I hear someone compare their struggles to that of my ancestors when the two are not alike at all…

    Some of my patients are Dept. of Social Services employees as well as fellow healthcare workers…I don’t get the “I don’t want to deal with POCs” bit because most of my patients are POCs themselves, but I do hear how frustrating it can be to deal with difficult people on a daily basis and I hear remarks that can be construed as classist. I believe that after we tend to affiliate a certain group negatively if that’s what we see most of the time…

    Sara- Yes, my main beef is with the parents because they do not teach their kids how to behave in public. However, it’s not really a “so what” thing here…It’s a constant issue that not only disrupts the other patients in the waiting room, but my ability to work as well…I also believe that if a parent does not teach their child how to behave properly now while they’re young, they’re not going to know how to behave properly as an adult.

  6. Kanika A. Hodges Says:

    @ Josh-

    in all of the discussion going on about my post there has been a lot of examples given of children behaving badly and i’m not sure why. is it to…justify statements like “i hate children?” some folks, like yourself, have pointed out that despite this behavior you’ve witnessed, you don’t hate children, but i’m not sure i understand what pointing out bad behavior in kids we’ve all witnessed has to do with anything. the behavior isn’t representative of children, nor of parenting so it casts a shadow over the group we are calling children before you get to your point. which is odd.

    Royce asked me for my thoughts, so I was giving them out :)

    Anyway, my point is that I don’t think that saying “I hate children” is literal in many cases. If you’ve heard some of the things that some of my friends say about their kids, you’d think they’d hate their kids to death. That’s not really the case as they love them to the ends of the Earth…

    Some of us get really frustrated by children, don’t have the energy or would rather hide under a rock than to have to deal with them…Expressing frustration doesn’t mean that you harbor hatred or wish harm…

    if it was a discussion of race i am fairly certain me pointing out the bad experiences i’ve had with specific people of color before i stated “but i don’t hate black people” would be ill received?

    Maybe…Or maybe not. Depends on where the discussion is being held, I would think.

    if it’s only a little bit of oppression in a small community, that doesn’t make it not bigotry, it just makes it a smaller instance effecting a smaller group.

    That’s where the apples and oranges is for me…racism has much deeper, darker (and even global) roots than the empty rhetoric of rabid childfree vegans…

  7. joshivore Says:

    hey kanika,

    thank you for your thoughts. i don’t always have the patience for kids, sometimes my own. and i agree, most of the time i don’t think people mean it when they say they hate kids. though i have come across plenty of vegan people who seem to have it in for children and i’m sick of it. (not you.) so yeah, most folks don’t mean it but plenty will defend their ignorant statements to the death and all i can think is how much this hurts the movement and why won’t these people acknowledge their bigotry.

    i appreciate your thoughts on the apples and oranges thing. i believe in the west you are probably right (though i think children are under attack like few others by marketers, doctors, big pharma, and others) though globally speaking, children are so oppressed it breaks my heart to consider with trafficking, soldiering, diamond getting, and so forth.

    i guess my comparing racism with ageism is more on a theoretical level than something that can be quantified by physical acts or legal or social inequities. it seems like “hating” any group is coming from the same place and if people are willing to “hate” children, they are not too far away, intellectually, from “hating” other groups.

  8. Megan Says:

    I think when people say “humans are animals too” they mean that people are also “beings with desires and interests who deserve respect.” :) At least that’s what I mean when I say it. I’ve encountered many vegans are say they’re vegan but forget about our own species, and it’s usually in response to that.

  9. Noemi Says:

    I have alot to say on this topic, but not alot of time. I’ve written about parenting/children in communities before here:
    http://www.hermanaresist.com/wp/?p=244

    Don’t see why kids being @ clinics would be anything but cranky.

    empty rhetoric of rabid childfree vegans
    its alot more than empty rhetoric, if you ask me.

  10. Royce Drake Says:

    I feel like the oppression olympics have started appearing. There seems to be this rating of oppressions with racism, sexism, (sometimes) heterosexism, and (sometimes) classism at the top; while speciesim, ageism, ableism, sizeism, and the rest of the -isms at the bottom. Just because something isn’t identical in the way it manifests, doesn’t mean it isn’t oppressive.

    I haven’t really studied the oppression of children in the West, but I feel like there have been centuries of attempts to limit and control children in ways that limit their development as decent human beings.

    But just like phrases, like “treated like an animal”, shows how speciesism is tied to other oppressions the phrase “being talked to like a child” equally (to me) points out how ageism is related to other systems of oppression.

  11. Kanika A. Hodges Says:

    @ Josh

    I feel you… The mistreatment and abuse of any sentient being hurts my heart as well. Which is why I involve myself in various movements…

    And I agree with you, hate has a way of transcending.

    I confess though, I don’t really come across many vegan child haters IRL (or vegans period)…But the few I have met have children or are close to their child relatives (such as nieces/nephews/cousins)..So perhaps this was never an issue for me.

    I do peruse some vegan online communities though, and I don’t know if it’s internet talk or what, but some of the folks there seem to hate just about everything, which really disturbs me.

    @ Noemi

    I can understand why a child would be cranky coming to the doctor’s, especially when they’re getting stuck w/needles…That’s perfectly normal (@ age 30 I still shudder when I drop by the dentist’s). And admittedly, most of the children who come to the office are really good and their parents are mindful of their behaviour…For me to say that this is a rarity is probably an understatement…

    However, there is that handful of children who misbehave to the point where it disrupts the other patients, myself and the doctor and sometimes office property is destroyed (w/o repercussions from their parents). Since I am the only employee @ this small private practice with a ton of work on my desk, this can frustrate and burn me out…

  12. Ico Says:

    Royce, re: western society protecting/revering white women — as a biracial woman who has largely been treated as white, I find this statement really problematic and naive. White women have had the “privilege” of being regarded as inferior beings of lesser intelligence, essentially the chattel of our husbands and fathers and brothers throughout all those centuries of “protection.” It really rubs me the wrong way to see this. REVERENCE? Women could not control any facet of their own lives and you consider this reverence? The pedestal of beauty had a price, and it is that a woman’s worth was measured solely by that standard (and by her degree of submissiveness to her husband/father). Today women are STILL frequently measured only by that same standard.

    Myself, I grew up knowing and believing boys to be the better sex, and that girls were weak and incompetent and silly — essentially there to be boobalicious for men. It had a terrible impact on my psyche. I was a very confused adolescent for a long time. Because I figured I was as good as any boy — but that made me the *exception* to other girls. It has taken me years to get over that. And I still struggle with the fury, the frustration, the absolute hate I feel everytime I see myself reflected in the misogyny of our world and know I am worth less. Or worthless. Depending on who is doing the deciding.

    Sex discrimination is rampant. We have to face harassment everyday, and we can’t walk the streets alone at night without worry of being raped and then being blamed for it (for being dressed the wrong way, being out at the wrong time, etc). And so much more — I could go on and on.

    So please don’t refer to white women as protected. This “protection” you speak of — I would love to rip it to pieces for all it’s done. Call us privileged, yes. White privilege is powerful and absolutely wrong. Whiteness defines beauty. It defines “goodness.” It defines a lot of things it shouldn’t, and to be sure white women are beneficiaries of that. We must take responsibility for our white privilege and for the part we play in the system of racism, aware that whether we will or no, our skin makes us benefit.

    But to me, seeing your statement as it is written makes me angry because the flip side of that protection coin is everything in life that has ever made me feel inferior. It is a “reverence” that has harmed, limited, and destroyed us. And it eats away inside me.

  13. Royce Drake Says:

    I’m sorry my comment came across that way. When I said that I was thinking of those things, but I took it as given that the oppressive aspects of reverence and protection that accompany the pedestal that you mentioned were known– I was not trying to dismiss any of it, and I apologize that it came off as me dismissing that sexism.

    What I was trying to do was point out that children were revered and protected, but treated as simple lessers who were not accepted as autonomist beings.

    I appreciate your comment because I have a habit of making comments like that one. Things I say in real life out loud carry a tone that tells what I mean, and people I talk to usually take for granted several steps of my argument that I leave out because they are often self-evident to the people I’m having a conversation with. And because I approach blogs more like a conversation, than like papers I forget the tone I hear in my head doesn’t show up in print.

    Again my apologies.

  14. Ico Says:

    No worries. I probably overreacted because I’m very sensitive to the downsides of that pedestal. Like I said, I feel it needling inside me and it makes me quick to flare up at times.

    Thanks for your reply. :)

  15. Royce Drake Says:

    I don’t think you overreacted at all. It was completely valid, and I’ve learned to work on my laziness in explaining things in writing.

  16. johanna Says:

    This is a really interesting topic & discussion — this is something that’s come up a lot in some of the circles I move in over the past year or so, & as a childfree person it’s given me a lot to think about. (I wish the term “childfree” hadn’t been taken over by the people who refer to mothers as “moos” & children as “crotch-droppings,” which I think is APPALLING, because it’s otherwise a useful term & more accurate than saying “childless.”)

    I agree that children have been, & are, oppressed in many ways. But I can understand why folks get anxious when the “___ oppression is like ____ other oppression” thing comes up… systems of oppression DO have many commonalities, & I think in a lot of cases valid comparisons can be made. But there’s such a history of ignorant do-gooders trying to do simple substitution — hey, this tactic works against sexism, so let’s transplant it to racism in a completely identical manner w/o looking into context or issues of appropriation or anything else like that — & yeah… it gets ugly.

    Re: overpopulation — I think the issue is probably less the number of people on this earth & more how they live (ie. American-style eating of resources?). All those housing developments popping up (at least in the US) aren’t because there aren’t places to live, but because people think they MUST have their own house w/their own huge lawn & yard (& they don’t want any nasty mixed-use commercial or office space around, thus necessitating driving even to get a pound of sugar… sorry, urban planning nerd rant!).

  17. johanna Says:

    (Augh, I hate the stupid auto-emoticons. I didn’t mean to put a cutesy wink at the end of my first paragraph.)

  18. Meep Says:

    Maybe I’m thinking of things differently but when I talk to people that don’t want kids it seems to be out of a self-serving worldview, because it would “cramp their style”, so to speak. Good parenting (as far as I can tell) takes a lot of selflessness.

  19. johanna Says:

    But isn’t it better to know that you don’t want a lifestyle that involves kids, rather than bowing to societal pressure (of which there is plenty) & having them because you’re “supposed to”?

    I am not happy w/the implication that childfree people are selfish.

  20. There is a history of children being oppressed and abused in all societies. This is why we have child labor laws in some countries and this is why children now work in sweatshops in many others. Some people will do things to a child they would never do to an adult simply because they can. The child is smaller, weaker, and maybe can’t even talk or walk yet. Sounds very similar to how animals are treated. We do it because we can.

    However, that argument is a little different from the childfree movement. I haven’t had a chance to read Josh’s post yet. But some of the language that Johanna brought up, such as moos and crotch dropping, frankly just smacks of hipsterism. Just saying whatever to shock and offend.

    It’s funny, all of us who have myriad feelings and thoughts regarding children were all children at one point. Unlike other hate groups where the object of your derision may seem completely different from you, at some point, we all have to go through childhood. That point is interesting to me. I wonder how people’s own experiences as children influence what they say about this group when they become adults.

    For example, I’ll admit to saying I can’t stand teenagers. And well, I wasn’t the happiest teenager. I think I’m actually jealous of the loud, obnoxious brazen ones who get on my last nerves. I was timid and weird at that age and didn’t want to be.

  21. BTW, I reread my comment and realized I may have muddied the waters in my second paragraph by conflating people who choose not be parents with people who say inflammatory stuff like “crotch doppings.” Please know that that wasn’t my intention.

  22. joshivore Says:

    joselle: i find it equally interesting that people will say terrible things about a group of which they were once a member (children) that they wouldn’t dare say about a group they can never be a part (different race.) maybe this digs at some deeper self loathing? i don’t know. i think people oppress those they can. children can’t fight back, neither can animals. both get abused and destroyed by those who can dominate them.

    johanna: i’ve heard people who choose to have kids (even one, like me and my partner) called selfish because we’re taking up resources, and i’ve heard those who choose to be childfree called selfish because they want to remain their own. i’ve also had childfree friends tell me they don’t want children because they are selfish. (i don’t think they are at all, they just want to maintain the level of freedom and autonomy they have, which child having certainly takes away some of. or all of. heh.)

    i don’t see how being childfree could be considered selfish, nor do i see how having kids can be considered selfish.

    being alive and choosing to remain so would have to be considered selfish by the second rationale, if use of resources was the key to that argument.

  23. Sofia Says:

    I was really glad someone brought up child labor laws and stuff: solid evidence of child oppression.

    Kanika:
    A child can only ‘be brought up’ so much. Children can only be molded so much. I’m willing to bet my life you are not exactly as your parents wished to have raised you. My point is, it’s a little bit of a sweeping generalization to say that if a parent doesn’t teach their kid to behave “properly”, they won’t behave well as adults. I am just one example of how that little statement can be oh so incorrect. It is true, sometimes, fleetingly.
    Parents that sit like zombies while their children ‘disrupt’ may be at peace with the condition known as childhood. They could be silently chastising themselves for thinking that their child would stay un-bored at such a boring, adult place. Children are simply different than adults. The only way the child oppression=racial opression arguement can be dispelled for me is to acknowledge that a typically-developed child eventually grows into an adult, often autonomous and therefore can be held accountable for its actions. A person of color can never outgrow their color or opression. That’s a major difference to me, but not enough to ignore that children are opressed (maybe we should say blamed) for being children.
    I think it is effectively blaming children for being children to use examples of ‘bad’ behavior.

  24. [...] to say. Let’s just say I’m doing all my talking and reading on other blogs like here and here, just a couple of my favorite blogs. This post about an ICE raid in Mississippi is worth [...]

  25. [...] thinking about children lately. Thanks both to Josh’s post at his blog, and my post over at VOC. I realize now that my hopes for the direction of the discussion got sidetrakked by Josh’s [...]

  26. Kanika A. Hodges Says:

    Sofia:

    I was well aware of child oppression and labor laws (as is everyone else here I assume), and had that been discussed in the original blog entry (or even in latter replies), I would not have voiced such a strong objection to the hatred/oppression comparison…However, I strongly disagreed with the notion that anti-child sentiment in the vegan community is similar to racism, for some of the same reasons you stated, and that was the subject matter that stuck to me the most…

    In response to your reply:

    - I don’t think any child is exactly like the way their parents raised them…

    - Perhaps I did make a sweeping generalisation, but it mainly came from witnessing way too many misbehaving children grow up into misbehaving adults…And IMO, some habits aren’t learned overnight…

    Also- If a parent is at peace with their child’s behaviour, they also have to be mindful that not everyone else may see things the same way as they do (especially, as I said eariler, when they are destroying property) …Even if they took their child out of the room for a few minutes to get all that energy out, its better than doing nothing @ all…

    It seems that there’s really no mutual understanding when it comes to this particular issue, so it’s probably best for me to bow out of this post and agree to disagree…

    Royce:

    My apologies to you or hijacking your post with off-topic subjects…

  27. Gary Says:

    I think one can love children and respect people’s choices on whether to have children, while still legitimately having concerns about the impact an ever-growing human population may have on the worlds’ resources and non-humans.

  28. Samia Says:

    I second Gary’s sentiment. I am worried about overpopulation because we only have so many resources on this planet of ours. I see it as a symptom of widespread female reproductive powerlessness; there are countries where governments still don’t recognize rape if it is commited upon a wife by a husband. So many women still have no say in what happens to their bodies once they become pregnant. I am also very concerned about the amount of resources the United States eats up every year and what our current administration has done to set back environmental science. I am apprehensive about bringing more children into a world that is so unbalanced that people are starving in times of plenty due to a complete lack of buying power. And who will care for the orphans our wars have created?

    We live in a culture that looks down on celebrities for taking in children of colour as a tacky show of altruism, but maybe more of us should consider adoption. Having more biological children is not necessarily the pro-child position. Equating the two creates a false dichotomy, in my opinion.

    There are several gigantic, messy issues that underlie the overpopulation debate. Sincere concern about feeding and clothing the beautiful, special children who need our help *now* not the same as proposing mandatory sterilization of non-white females or being anti-immigration. It’s sad that the population issue seems tainted with this racist brush.

  29. slithers Says:

    I will admit that I didn’t read every post above, but I read some and skimmed all the rest and didn’t see any mention of this:

    Why is it OK to say “I love children”, but not OK to say “I hate children”? In a theoretical sense, if you want to compare it to racism, it’s the same situation as someone saying “I hate white people” as opposed to “I love white people”. One seems more positive, but both are categorical over-generalizations of a diverse population group, and the more “positive” one implies a lesser like for other groups (and therefore it is also racist/ageist).

    A more rational and respectful approach would be to judge children on their individual merits (i.e., like some, dislike others).

    As vegans, we have a responsibility to respect various life forms including children. We have to respect their right to continued existence, but we do not have to like them. As rational beings, we must not judge all members of a population group to be exactly the same and therefore categorical statements like “I love group x” or “I hate group y” should be entirely avoided.

    That said, children are a special class of beings. They are not the same as any racial group or sex, gender, orientation, etc. They are immature humans and as such, they have certain shared characteristics, especially in terms of how they expend energy, and how they physically and mentally interact with others – they are learning (in large part by trial and error). So for some adults to prefer not to experience those types of interactions in certain contexts to me is not a big deal. Of course saying, “I hate children” is a hurtful over-generalization, but “I’m having an adult party, please don’t bring children” should be acceptable and is not seriously oppressing any children. Being mean to children or parents as a matter of course (before any opportunity for interaction) is just plain old bigotry.

    Back to my first point, it is patently untrue that children are an uncelebrated part of USA culture – they certainly are. While they may be less warmly received in certain subcultures, most anyone can attest to the immense social pressure that exists for every person to procreate (it is expected that everyone will have one or more children of their own) and marketing, while not good for the children, clearly demonstrates a child/family-focus in mainstream culture. It is completely unfair to compare child-disliking with racial oppression. It might be a fair comparison to compare child-disliking with oppressor-group hatred (i.e., people who are racist against the power-dominant group, which in USA is whites), but children are not oppressed by a systemic cultural default.

    Overpopulation is beside the point. Whether you believe it or not, the children that exist clearly have a right to continued existence. Also, I clearly remember feeling oppressed as a child, not by exclusion from adult activities, but by condescending adults (most of whom claimed to “love” children) who talked to me like I was a baby even when I was 10. Oops, “like I was a baby” – was that ageist?

    ~sie who slithers (and likes some-but-not-all children)

  30. Royce Drake Says:

    slithers–

    I don’t really care what the most rational way of saying something is. I was conveying my love of children– which does not mean that there is a generalization of a group of people– I dislike some children, and like others, but love all of them.

    love of x does not equal less love of y.

    I never claimed that children were uncelebrated– but lots of folks are celebrated but still oppressed.

    Its only unfair to compare the oppression of children with the oppression of folks of color as it is that it is unfair to compare the oppression of folks of color and the oppression of women. They aren’t identical, but share some similarities. I’d also challenge the idea that children do not face systemic oppression of their own sort.

  31. slithers Says:

    Whoops, sorry, Royce. I read your original post earlier, but not the Metal Bike Punk posts. I took a look at the first one now and it seems like a quite reasonable post. In reconsidering the idea of the second post, I’d admit that hating kids is, in some senses, similar to hating all members of an ethnicity.

    As for your comment, If you’re talking about universal love (separate from any concept of like), then you definitely have a point. My main point was that veganism requires respect for life (for all animals, including human children), but does not require liking all individual children, nor even liking interaction with children in general (although acceptance of children within the movement should be a given).

    I can’t speak to other cultures as I don’t have enough knowledge, but in the USA, the celebration of children is of a completely different order than the “celebration” of oppressed non-white ethnic groups or of women or homosexuals. No organized movement [in 21st century] is trying to take away rights from children or fighting against any movement to gain rights for children (as they most certainly are for the other groups mentioned).

    I completely agree that children are oppressed in some ways (even legally) and that we owe some compassion to them as beings and I agree that the vegan movement should be more open to vegan kids. However, I still contend that they’re a special class (unlike any racial group), not least because it is a temporary state of being.

  32. Karen Says:

    Hi, I just found this blog from the profiled blogs of the week on Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen. I’ve been reading the older posts and am so impressed with the thoughtful content– and that goes for the comments as well as the original posts put up. I wanted to add something to this older discussion about children and oppression, because one of the other commenter’s remarks gave me an insight.

    [Joshivore said: "i find it equally interesting that people will say terrible things about a group of which they were once a member (children) that they wouldn’t dare say about a group they can never be a part (different race.) maybe this digs at some deeper self loathing?"]

    I actually think it is a kind of self-loathing. I remember being a kid and having a teacher tell my 6th grade class that we had no legal rights until age 18 so we shut up about being treated unfairly. Now, he was “joking,” but there was of course an eerie truth about that comment.

    I remember harboring a lot conflicted emotions as a child: a lot fear, anxiety, and sadness. I would never want to relive my childhood. I also would never want to be a parent and inflict an awful childhood on some other human being. I don’t hate children at all, but in many ways I hated the experience of being a child. I wanted to escape; I wanted to be free, but there was no where to go. I just had to wait until I got older.

    I wonder if the people who profess to hate children are really responding with anger to some aspect of their own childhood experience. I wonder if they view the entire concept of parenthood as tainted because of how it was embodied by their own parents.

    I know it is fundamentally important to me that my thoughts, beliefs, and ideas are respected by other people in my life. To me, childhood was a time of no respect, no control, and no deep connection with others. I try to distance myself from that experience. I could see how my emotions could lead me to hate children for what I perceive as their weaknesses– for what I perceive as my own weakness when I was a child.


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