Vegans of Color

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

gimme some of that identity politick August 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 10:24 pm
Tags: ,

Something a commenter said a while back stuck in my mind. I’m not gonna go look for the exact comment, because it was a while back, and the specific of it don’t matter that much for what I want to talk about. The gist of it was about how VoC must secretly be run by Republicans (the most liberal-bougie insult I can personally think of) and how this person didn’t want us to speak for them.

I don’t want to speak for anyone (and truthfully if they cared, they could have asked to be a blogger here as well). I don’t think I, VoC, or anyone else, could be the Authoritative voice for people of color who are vegans. I’d also question anyone who could believe that vegans, people of color, or vegans of color (and every other identity) is a monolith that could be spoken for by one person or group.

So if one is rejecting essentialism, what’s the point of identity? When I can’t speak for Black folks, men, or any of the other identity groups I share commonalities with, then whats the point of joining under the banner of ‘vegans of color’ (or people of color, Black people, etc– you get the idea). I’d argue that the number of issues VoC has brought up over the past few years could make part of it obvious.

The only commonality that all vegans share is the abstention from animal products. The only commonality that all vegans of color share is abstaining from animals while also bearing the weight of systemic racism. We all bear it in different ways, but that allows us to give a multitude of viewpoints that can’t be seen from the center.

Because we must explicitly speak in multitudes (while the amorphous One speaks in unison) there is no vegan of color viewpoint. Only viewpoints. Viewpoints that often get overlooked/stomped on/overshadowed by the One.

So when I speak please don’t think I (and I’d assume most of the bloggers here as well) speak for you (seems to me thats the white patriarch in your head talking). I speak only as a Black, queer/questioning, able-bodied, working-class rooted, college-educated, cisman/questioning Southern vegan in North america with horizontal politics named Royce. I’m only one in a multitude.

About these ads
 

8 Responses to “gimme some of that identity politick”

  1. Matt Says:

    It’s evidence of this systematic racism that this post even needs to be written. Also is rather depressing thinking about how simply and conclusively the majority of people come to make decisions. ‘I knew this one vegan and he was frail therefore veganism is unhealthy’ or ‘I knew this black kid in high school and he hated white people therefore……’ you get the point. It shows how much any minority group (racially, ethnically, or by chosen paths, subcultures,etc) is really up against.
    Sorry to sound negative! I love this blog and am thankful for what is posted here. Keep at it!

    • Anonymous2 Says:

      Matt, How does systematic racism work here as opposed to generalization based on association? The thing is that every blog contributor ( not commentors ) is being lumped together under the banner of VoC…so if the blog is controversial outside readers will get an impression that this is what VOC’s are about..because of the name of the blog. And if there are major contributors, some people will assume that that person is the current voice of the blog. Thats the ‘birds of a feather’ concept and that is the risk of being a contributor to a blog with various viewpoints…being associated with other people/groups that one does not want to be necessarily associated with or being perceived as an authority of a subject as opposed to just one voice of many. Ironically, it was this very point which was brought up before….people being associated with other groups just because of where they went, who was at same conference, who else supports a politician or viewpoint etc.

  2. Elaine Vigneault Says:

    “The only commonality that all vegans share is the abstention from animal products.”

    Thanks for saying that. I often phrase it by saying that veganism is more about habit/ action than about belief. I like how you’ve said it :)

  3. Elaine Vigneault Says:

    PS – anyone going to weigh in on the racial implications on this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081003126.html

    ?

  4. Sara Says:

    Royce-

    Thanks for this post! Reading the following quote was a bright point in my morning

    “The only commonality that all vegans share is the abstention from animal products. The only commonality that all vegans of color share is abstaining from animals while also bearing the weight of systemic racism. We all bear it in different ways, but that allows us to give a multitude of viewpoints that can’t be seen from the center.”

    Sincerely,

    A mixed race Filipina, queer, able-bodied, working-class originated, college-educated, Bay Area vegan in North America. Another ‘one’ in the multitude

  5. Adrianne Says:

    I’d love to write for this blog sometime. Please email me when you get a chance. Talk to you soon :)

    • johanna Says:

      This is very interesting, as you link to a PETA site & seem to have a PETA e-mail address.

      I don’t know if you noticed, but most if not all the bloggers here can’t stand PETA. Can I ask why you are interested in blogging here specifically?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 306 other followers