Vegans of Color

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

“veganism is just another white privilege” December 1, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noemi M @ 4:23 pm
Tags: ,

Discussion on veganism and white and class privilege on livejournal.


18 Responses to ““veganism is just another white privilege””

  1. vegansofcolor Says:

    I couldn’t even make it through that whole discussion. Both the “last time I checked, people of all skin colors can buy whatever they want @ the grocery store!” & the “people who think that race affects everything are stupid losers!” camps make my head hurt. Once again, LJ w/the complexity for the win!

  2. vegansofcolor Says:

    Back w/a more coherent thought — I think that, while lots of POCs eat a plant-based diet throughout the world & often that’s cheaper, blah blah blah what people always say, that’s not always possible. Like that whole thing about how, in poor (usually POC) neighborhoods in the US there are fewer supermarkets (thus fewer places to buy produce) & more fast food restaurants. I think, unfortunately, having access to good, healthy, affordable produce really can smack of privilege (white/class) sometimes. I don’t think it HAS to be that way, of course. But in practice right now it seems to happen sometimes.

    Also I feel like a lot of the time when people say that being vegan can be much cheaper, they’re assuming cooking from scratch, which is always cheaper (& generally healthier). But the less privilege you have, I think probably the less likely that you’ll have the time to cook from scratch, right? People working multiple jobs to make ends meet can hardly be faulted if they’d rather grab something from McDonald’s dollar menu rather than get home & cook.

    That said, I don’t think being vegan in itself is a white privileged thing to do — but I think sometimes in how it plays out in this country, in who has access to food & stuff, of course the -isms come into play, like they do w/everything else.

  3. dsiggy Says:

    yo, I’m a vegan of color interested in participating in this blog… email me @ dsigwalt a.t. macalester d.o.t edu

  4. vegansofcolor Says:

    I e-mailed you a few days ago–let me know if you didn’t get it, & also what your WordPress user name is (or what e-mail address I should send the WordPress invite to). Thanks!

  5. kevin Says:

    i’m a vegan of color and learned about this site from sistah vegan–sign me up please!!

  6. vegansofcolor Says:

    Kevin — awesome. E-mailing you now. Thanks!

  7. Gary Says:

    First-time caller here 😉

    In some ways does the meat industry exploit POC? For instance, the profusion of fat-laden fast food restaurants – and advertising – in poor neighborhoods is probably contributing to sky-high rates of diabetes and other debilitating diseases. But the corporations selling and advertising this unhealthy fare, with their whitish upper management ranks, rake in the money. Then the pharmaceutical companies and hospitals get their take once the disease sets in.

    Regarding affordability of vegan cuisine…it would be more affordable whether home-cooked or store-bought if the government subsidies weren’t so skewed toward meat and dairy. I was glad to see that the WIC program is – finally – making a shift in the right direction toward fruits, vegetables, and legumes and away from dairy.

  8. vegansofcolor Says:

    Gary — thank you for your comment, which is spot-on, & demonstrates how race & class are so intertwined.

    The farmer’s markets here in NYC now take food stamps, which is a good thing. And I remember reading in Colorlines magazine several months ago about programs to bring fresh produce into stores in low-income areas — some of the ideas included working w/liquor store owners (who may often sell various other things too) to sell produce.

    There’s still a long way to go, though. Sigh.

    Oh — & your comment also reminded me of how, when those folks were going to sue McDonald’s for causing obesity, lots of detractors complained that people needed to take responsibility for their own actions & what they eat, blah blah. But that argument almost always failed to look @ how the deck is stacked against folks, in terms of what’s available & what is promoted as being healthy (&/or good/delicious).

  9. Gary Says:

    Re: parental responsibility. The fact that parents have responsibilities does not excuse corporations for their irresponsibility.

    Also, a thought…A counter to the charge that veganism is a white privilege is that there are vegan and animal rights groups worldwide – in Korea, in the Mideast, in India, in African countries, and many more places. Not all explicitly advocate veganism, but I suspect that is because they are first trying to raise basic awareness and work on specific immediate problems in their respective regions. Regardless, when looked at globally, the makeup of animal advocates and ethical vegans becomes far less white.

  10. Royce Says:

    “Okay, but even if it IS class priveledge, isn’t it important for those people in society who have the upper hand to act as an example and change the system for the better until the point where (extremely idealistically) everyone else can eat a healthier, more ethical diet, or in the case of world hunger, there is more food available, period?”

    That comment reeks of a white savior mentality.

  11. Royce Says:

    Hey, I’m a vegan of color, and interested in contributing to this blog.

  12. vegansofcolor Says:

    Gary — another good point re: the international picture. The context in the US is different wrt race & class, of course, so it’s still important to look @, if there aren’t lots of POCs involved in veganism/AR issues here, why not? But, yeah. It’s always good to remember that there’s a world outside the US!

    Royce — I agree w/your comment re: the savior mentality!! And I will email you about joining this blog. Sorry this took a few days — I was out of town.

  13. Hortencia Says:

    I didn’t read the whole post, just reading the title nauseated (sp?) me. I became a vegan, ten years ago, in Monterrey, México where I was a student. There I met a bunch of vegans, mostly students (poor) and working young folk (struggling)… so I disagree with that line. When I worked as a community organizer with the immigrant community in my area and I talked to them about my veganism and explained my diet, most would say that in their pueblo they were vegan too because they couldn’t afford meat. so there you have it. BTW, I was suprised to see my blog listed on your website. gracias.

  14. vegansofcolor Says:

    Hortencia — thanks for your comment & sharing your experience in Mexico! I wish more folks would remember that, while eating vegan is sometimes more of a financial luxury in the US (mostly I think if you buy a lot of vegan convenience foods), in other parts of the world it’s totally the opposite.

    Noemi mentioned that you were a vegan of color & suggested adding you to the blogroll. 🙂

  15. Sokari Says:

    Hi Johanna – I thought you might be interested in this comment left on BL in response to your blog. I haven’t responded yet – it’s so tiring but I had initially refused to publish it because he used abusive language. He removed the curses and posted it again. Interesting this is the second “I am a victimised white man” who has commented on my blog in the past week:)

  16. vegansofcolor Says:

    Sokari — thanks for posting that link. Sigh. & sorry to indirectly be the cause of such abusiveness in your blog!!

  17. […] @ 6:18 pm Tags: africa, media, russia, white privilege In the comments of Noemi’s post here about veganism & white privilege, reader Hortencia mentioned her experiences in Mexico, […]

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