Vegans of Color

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

morrissey calls chinese people “a subspecies” September 7, 2010

Filed under: vegan — xmabaitx @ 1:06 am
Tags: , , ,

Morrissey

Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.”

Morrissey has been called a racist before for lyrics in songs such as “Bengali in Platforms” and “Asian Rut,” and for the anti-immigration comments he made to NME music magazine in 2007. But he’s apparently standing by these comments, saying later in a statement:

“If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade – animals skinned alive – then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible.

(sigh) I confess that I LOVE the Smiths. I perform an acoustic cover of “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” for my partner and my dog in my living room on a regular basis. I, however, AM SO DONE WITH MORRISSEY.

I am furthermore exasperated by the constant conflation of the existence of animal cruelty within a given geographical region or national boundary with ETHNIC CULTURAL PRACTICE. I stay on the PETA e-mail listserve because I don’t mind getting some animal rights schwag every now and then, be it stickers or veg*n brochures (that are not idiotic), but I vomit in a mouth a tiny bit whenever I see a call-out for an action to be staged in front of, say, the South Korean Consulate in order to protest th lax enforcement of laws against the consumption of dog-meat in that country. My nausea only worsens as I imagine the phalanx of white, hipster, petite-bourgeois animal rights activists carrying around fake blood stained placards baring the colors or likeness of the South Korean flag. C’MON NOW! FOR SERIOUS?!

Look, I get that Morrrissey or any other white vegan/animal rights activist is not thrilled about certain practices regarding animal rights situations in certain parts of the world (I’m not either), but to demonize an
entire nationality or ethnic group or refer to an entire nationality or ethnic group pejoratively as a SUBSPECIES. Dude… completely unnecessary, completely uncalled for, SHUT THE F-RONT DOOR!

Probably my two biggest gripes about these near-sighted race politic expressions of animal rights are that:

1) they really perpetuate, particularly amongst people of color, the misnomer that veganism can only be narrowly defined as a white, middle-class subculture and that;

2) vegans of color are further marginalized within the discourse of animal rights whether or not we cry foul at the egregious white-supremacist twists on these representations of animal rights politics.

As with Morrissey as well as the rest of the white animal rights crowd, here’s a itsy-bitsy tip when attempting to articulate a discourse about animal rights: a little nuance goes a long way in figuring out where the root of the problem lies and where the solution can begin. The intersection of race and ethnicity between veganism is much more complex than you might make it out to be.

And oh yeah… Girlfriend in a coma? More like Morrissey’s racist brain in a coma. That joke isn’t funny anymore. It’s too close to home and it’s too near the bone.

Thanks to Angry Asian Man for the link and pic.

Here’s the original article from the Guardian.

 

Joint Statement by a Group of Abolitionist Vegan Feminists for International Women’s Day March 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 1:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Check it out here (& there’s also a video). A lot of issues bloggers here (& elsewhere) have raised about sexist AR campaigns are addressed in this statement, which begins:

As abolitionist vegans and feminists, we oppose the use of sexist tactics in the animal advocacy movement. Ethical animal rights veganism is part of the logical conclusion of opposition to the exploitation of all sentient beings — both human animals and non-human animals. Opposing speciesism is incompatible with engaging in sexism or any other form of discrimination, such as racism, heterosexism, classism, and other forms of oppression.

 

Pragmatic? January 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 2:56 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Newkirk published a defense of Peta in the Guardian on Thursday.

Her defense is of two different arguments used against Peta: 1) Their use of what Newkirk calls gradualism, and 2) Their offensive ads.

(more…)

 

Don’t Use Classism and Anti-Sex Worker Rhetoric to Protest Fur December 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Fur is for beautiful animals & scary hookers, claims an incredibly fucked-up post at the Vegan Shoe Lady. She cites a Guardian article where Ingrid Newkirk is quoted as saying, “Fur has lost all its cachet. It’s yesterday. I see prostitutes in Atlantic City wearing fur.”

The Vegan Shoe Lady then takes this idea & runs with it, suggesting that if we see a woman wearing fur in public, we should make loud comments like, “She’s probably a hooker. Tacky coat, lower-class manners – no one respectable presents themselves that way.”

Her other suggestion, should you see a person wearing fur standing outside holding coffee, is to drop change into their cup, implying that they look like a homeless person. She offers this caveat: “Please treat actual homeless people with respect – they are human beings, and many of them have untreated mental illnesses. More than 80% of young homeless people are forced to leave home, often due to abuse. True compassion extends to disadvantaged people, too, so be nice.”

True compassion extends to disadvantaged people but apparently not sex workers. Or people at the lower end of the class system. Why should we play into the prejudices of certain segments of the fur-wearing population? The post points out that wealthy fur-wearers probably don’t care about environmental or animal rights issues, which I imagine is true. But I refuse to believe that perpetuating stereotypes, prejudice, & shame is the way forward either.

 

Some thoughts about companion animals December 13, 2009

I know adopting homeless animals is a contentious issue for some vegans; Vincent Guihan recently pondered this eloquently: Caring for other animals: does the personal adoption of other animals harm the movement?

For the Pits wrote about a man killed by a pack of dogs in Australia. The post talks about the racism & classism often evident when people think about attitudes towards companion animals among POCs/the poor/indigenous people/etc.

I re-read Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America this weekend. I was as moved, infuriated, & shocked as I was the first time around. For those of you who haven’t read the book, another reason why PETA sucks is their hypocritical behavior regarding animal rescue (Nathan has two posts about this).

(& really, PETA apologists, don’t waste your time commenting. Any such comments are prone to deletion &/or mockery.)

 

Raising the environmental footprint of veganism… November 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 4:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Fake Plastic Fish reports that PETA is promoting plastic wishbones for Thanksgiving.

Ugh. The company says they are recyclable, but like most plastic items that are technically recyclable, I am sure most communities in the US won’t have the facilities to take these, even if people were to actively seek to recycle them.

It’s not like I don’t partake in plastic-wrapped cookies & things (which I hate — most of our garbage can is full of plastic wrappers, I think). Though I do make an effort to avoid things like individual plastic cups of pudding or yogurt (I can make the former, & could make the latter too, I suppose — at least with yogurt I try to buy the massive containers, which can at least be re-used for food storage or for planters etc. so at least a teensy bit better, I suppose).

It does bum me out, though — a lot of go-vegan rhetoric* is focused on showing that we can have the same heavily packed, heavily processed food as omnivores: fake beef jerky, individually wrapped! Packages of marshmallows! Microwaveable dinners in plastic trays!

There’s something to be said for convenience, of course — & like I said above, I certainly end up buying things wrapped in plastic. I just wish it wasn’t so inevitable sometimes. (& really, while no one “needs” individual servings of vegan yogurt, definitely no one needs a freaking plastic wishbone!)

Yeah, yeah, I know the average environmental footprint of a vegan will be much smaller than an omnivore. That doesn’t make me feel much better about knowing that plastic I use today will outlive me many times over. It’s disgusting.

(I don’t know what’s up with my posting flurry either, btw!)

* In the US/UK, at least, which is where my experience is from. Thank you to commenter Soj for reminding me that of course, this is not a universal experience.

 

A bunch of links & a query… November 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 2:50 pm
Tags: ,

I’m really bummed I haven’t been able to post more here in the past few months — more about that later, maybe, but for now, a few links:

First of all, check out the blogroll (on the right hand side of the blog — click over if you’re reading via RSS feeds!). I keep stumbling on new awesome vegan blogs but also even more excitingly, more blogs by vegans of color!

Secondly, a link I’ve had open in a browser tab for literally months: Self-Delusion and the Lie of Lifestyle Activism. This argues that the impact of individual changes such as building a compost pile or recycling are generally not enough to make a difference (& in the case of the widespread habit of recycling, can be counterproductive because of the emphasis on recycling as opposed to reducing waste). This is partly because, the post argues, modeling a behavior is not generally enough to get other people to adopt it. I read the full post months ago & didn’t wade through the plethora of comments, but I’m sure being vegan would be something that the author would put under that category as well. I don’t agree with everything — though there are some good points made there — but I think as vegans & vegan activists there is a lot to think about regardless.

Thirdly, I saw the other day that Battlestar Galactica‘s Grace Park is now shilling for PETA. Sigh.

Right, now my query. This is generally not an easy time of year for me, between the darkening of the days (& the declining temperature) & the holidays. I’m doing a lot of work just to keep myself on any kind of even keel, but one thing that often gets put on hold is, well, doing activist things or even feeling excited or inspired by the issues. It’s not as if I’m contemplating stopping being vegan — that is most definitely NOT the case — more just that I haven’t had the energy or inspiration to go trawling through all the vegan blogs & campaigns & stuff that I used to do.

What do you do when you find yourself in kind of a rut? I know for burnout taking a break is a good idea, but it’s not that I’m burnt out (well: not in terms of veganism, although I did have a huge disillusioning infuriating situation earlier this year [related to other issues] that has made me really pissed off with certain aspects of the activist crowd where I live). I’m just kind of… maintaining at the moment. I want to be inspired & invigorated again (note: shock tactics won’t do the trick, so no one suggest I watch Earthlings, please). Suggestions?

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 303 other followers