Vegans of Color

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

Anti-Whaling Advocates and the Far Right July 12, 2009

In writing about the Makah whaling controversy in her book Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, Andrea Smith notes:


The Coalition for Human Dignity documents how animal and environmental rights groups, such as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) and the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, collaborated with far-right Republican legislator Jack Metcalf to oppose the Makah. Metcalf has openly spoken at the meetings of overtly racist and anti-Semitic organizations and has called for the abrogation of Indian treaty rights. These groups, instead of developing strategies to negotiate their differences with the Makah that respected Native sovereignty, advocated for the U.S. to abrogate its 1855 treaty with the Makah that guarantees their right to whale hunt. What these “environmentalists” did not consider is that if they had been successful in legitimizing the abrogation of one treaty, it would have the effect of delegitimizing all treaties. They would be destroying the efforts of Native peoples across the country who are opposing corporate control through the use of treaties. Many of the leaders of these organizations, such as Dave Forman, Farley Mowat, and Paul Watson of SSCS, are also promoting an anti-immigration platform in environmental groups such as the Sierra Club… Also collaborating with SSCS is Brigitte Bardot, ally of the leading neofascist political party in France, the National Front. She is also overtly anti-immigrant, particularly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim. In Le Figaro, she stated: “Now my country, France, my homeland, my land, is with the blessing of successive government again invaded by a foreign, especially Muslim, overpopulation to which we pay allegiance.” (emphasis mine)

I know a lot of vegans adore the SSCS; I wonder how many of them knew about their connections to right-wing bigots.

Before some commenters trot out the same racist, colonialist arguments that frequently pop up in such discussions, you might take a look at this post about dolphin slaughter or this one about Brigitte Bardot & save your time.

 

The Complex Issues Behind Obesity and Children of Color April 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Alicia @ 1:53 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Below is a recent article by the Associate Press. I think it is one of the rare articles that points out the unique set of problems that are facing children of color in the United States and how this is affecting their overall health. I thought this article to be especially important because, although we often discuss the disparities between Hispanic and African-American children and adults  versus our white counterpart in terms of obesity rates, rates of heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer, etc.  a group that is often overlooked is the Native American population which is highlighted in this article.

As a nutritionist and cultural anthropologist I am horrified at the growing number of obese and overweight children of all colors but especially that of “minority” children because it points to so much more than just poor food choices it points to the social and political barriers that are keeping our children from succeeding at the very basics of life – health.  I’m interested to hear/read your thoughts.

Study finds 1 in 5 obese among 4-year-olds
Apr 6, 2009  11:29 PM EST
CHICAGO – A striking new study says almost 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese, and the rate is alarmingly higher among American Indian children, with nearly a third of them obese. Researchers were surprised to see differences by race at so early an age.

Overall, more than half a million 4-year-olds are obese, the study suggests. Obesity is more common in Hispanic and black youngsters, too, but the disparity is most startling in American Indians, whose rate is almost double that of whites.

The lead author said that rate is worrisome among children so young, even in a population at higher risk for obesity because of other health problems and economic disadvantages.

“The magnitude of these differences was larger than we expected, and it is surprising to see differences by racial groups present so early in childhood,” said Sarah Anderson, an Ohio State University public health researcher. She conducted the research with Temple University’s Dr. Robert Whitaker.

Dr. Glenn Flores, a pediatrics and public health professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, said the research is an important contribution to studies documenting racial and ethnic disparities in children’s weight.

“The cumulative evidence is alarming because within just a few decades, America will become a ‘minority majority’ nation,” he said. Without interventions, the next generation “will be at very high risk” for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, joint diseases and other problems connected with obesity, said Flores, who was not involved in the new research.

The study is an analysis of nationally representative height and weight data on 8,550 preschoolers born in 2001. Children were measured in their homes and were part of a study conducted by the government’s National Center for Education Statistics. The results appear in Monday’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Almost 13 percent of Asian children were obese, along with 16 percent of whites, almost 21 percent of blacks, 22 percent of Hispanics, and 31 percent of American Indians.

Children were considered obese if their body-mass index, a height-weight ratio, was in the 95th percentile or higher based on government BMI growth charts. For 4-year-olds, that would be a BMI of about 18.

For example, a girl who is 4 1/2 years old, 40 inches tall and 42 pounds would have a BMI of about 18, weighing 4 pounds more than the government’s upper limit for that age, height and gender.

Some previous studies of young children did not distinguish between kids who were merely overweight versus obese, or they examined fewer racial groups.

The current study looked only at obesity and a specific age group. Anderson called it the first analysis of national obesity rates in preschool kids in the five ethnic or racial groups.

The researchers did not examine reasons for the disparities, but others offered several theories.

Flores cited higher rates of diabetes in American Indians, and also Hispanics, which scientists believe may be due to genetic differences.

Also, other factors that can increase obesity risks tend to be more common among minorities, including poverty, less educated parents, and diets high in fat and calories, Flores said.

Jessica Burger, a member of the Little River Ottawa tribe and health director of a tribal clinic in Manistee, Mich., said many children at her clinic are overweight or obese, including preschoolers.

Burger, a nurse, said one culprit is gestational diabetes, which occurs during a mother’s pregnancy. That increases children’s chances of becoming overweight and is almost twice as common in American Indian women, compared with whites.

She also blamed the federal commodity program for low-income people that many American Indian families receive. The offerings include lots of pastas, rice and other high-carbohydrate foods that contribute to what Burger said is often called a “commod bod.”

“When that’s the predominant dietary base in a household without access to fresh fruits and vegetables, that really creates a better chance of a person becoming obese,” she said.

Also, Burger noted that exercise is not a priority in many American Indian families struggling to make ends meet, with parents feeling stressed just to provide basic necessities.

To address the problem, her clinic has created activities for young Indian children, including summer camps and a winter break “outdoor day” that had kids braving 8-degree temperatures to play games including “snowsnake.” That’s a traditional American Indian contest in which players throw long, carved wooden “snakes” along a snow or ice trail to see whose lands the farthest.

The hope is that giving kids used to modern sedentary ways a taste of a more active traditional American Indian lifestyle will help them adopt healthier habits, she said.

By LINDSEY TANNER     AP Medical Writer

 

Two quick links before bed March 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 11:23 pm
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Feminist and Antiracist Arguments for Veg*nism is a round-up by pattrice jones of some interesting recent blog posts.

And over on Vegan FAQ, this great post addresses meat-eaters who bring up the line about how the Indians used the whole buffalo. Then the omnis claim that they are honoring Indians, & Indian traditions, when they eat meat. In short: um, no.

 

 
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