Vegans of Color

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

Some words for Western animal rights activists to take to heart August 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

I recently read Abolition Democracy: Prisons, Democracy, and Empire, which is a brief collection of interviews Eduardo Mendieta conducted with Angela Y. Davis. Here’s a snippet. Mendieta has asked, “…what do U.S. and Western feminists have to say to Islamic and Middle Eastern women?”

[Davis:] … What do women in those areas of the world that suffer most under Bush’s policy of global war have to say to western feminists? It seems to me that those of us here in the U.S. who are interested in a transnational feminists project would better serve the cause of freedom by asking questions rather than making proposals. So I would want to know how feminist and working class activists in countries such as Iraq might envision the most productive role for us. In the meantime, we must continue to strengthen the anti-war movement.

[Mendieta:] You’re calling into question the paternalistic assumption in my question, that feminists in the West, and the U.S., have to school Islamic women about how to proceed. They can do that work themselves.

[Davis:] Exactly. We have not yet moved beyond the assumption that the most advanced feminists in the world — whether they are white or people of color — reside in the U.S. or in Europe. This is a form of racism that forecloses the possibility of solidarity.

Something for animal rights activists to keep in mind! Though I suppose the same readers of this blog who find such courses of action — listening to people in other countries and from other cultures instead of just swooping in as the great colonialist savior — unthinkable when bloggers here suggest them will offer up the same tired protests to Davis’ words.

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5 Responses to “Some words for Western animal rights activists to take to heart”

  1. This just brought a tear to my eye.. it’s so beautiful..

  2. Ida Says:

    I recently read this book as well and I think what you quoted is such a profound statement. I read so many things in this book that I think nonhuman animal activists who seek abolition should take to heart. Actually, the DuBoisian concept of “abolition democracy” is similar to my own ideal of veganism — that is, a host of shifts towards non-exploitative institutions are need to fully achieved abolition. I also highly recommend Are Prisons Obsolete?

    • negative dialectics Says:

      Problem is: The animal rights movement is – other then the feminist movement – extremly small and in some countries in this world there literally is no animal rights movement at all (if you define ar as the opposite to welfarism), so there might be noone to ask at all :(

  3. [...] response takes off from an answer Angela Davis gave in an interview, excerpted here by Johanna from Vegans of Color: It seems to me that those of us here in the U.S. who are interested in a transnational feminists [...]


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