Vegans of Color

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

umbrella activists April 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noemi M @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

so say you’re going to a work related conference, dealing with human and sex trafficking. And say that there is an award ceremony at big city zoo being planned. Do you politely decline the awards ceremony or do you voice your concern over having such an event at a place of animal cruelty and how you are opposed to animals living in captivity. Is it too much to ask for a leap of consciousness with human rights activists? I would also like to say that I am first a human rights activists, an immigrant rights activist, a domestic violence survivor activist, an alternative media maker, a radical* parent, living a nonviolent life. But when one mentions all these in addition to believing in animal rights, people think I’m off the rocker. Why is it also hard to conceive the notion of hierarchical privilege and violence that comes with eating an animal to activists already working on violence against men, women and children?

-I changed the title of this post from “musings on activists” to “umbrella activists”

*If radical means to you equal rights, human rights, mujer centered, non gendered parenting, alternative media promoter, domestic violence survivor and activist-then I guess you can say I’m a “radical” parent.


4 Responses to “umbrella activists”

  1. Neva Says:

    It’s a lot like highway driving–everyone going slower than you are is out of touch and everyone going faster is a maniac.

    People like to feel they’ve reached the top of the enlightment mountain, so whatever their issue is they feel their progress in it represents the absolute limit. Therefore if you’re trying to move ahead of them, make connections to other issues, or make other significant changes in keeping with your beliefs, then you’re the maniac tearing up the highway.

    Of course there are also issues that are easy to understand–most people oppose child trafficking, even if they aren’t really doing anything about it. So while it’s very hard to fight a problem like that, most of us understand on some basic level why people oppose it. People who eat meat are so taught from an early age to not think of animals, they’re even shown that being compared to an “animal” is a terrible insult. Even though we’re all human animals. It’s a harder issue to get, and harder still because it asks us to make some fundamental changes in our lives. Of course anti-racism and anti-sexism asks a great deal of us too–but then again, hopefully most of us (hmmm) can understand why it’s important to make those changes.

    Of course I think if you only concentrated on feminism as an issue, you’d see the same thing–there’s a middle ground and if you try to push ahead of that and make more changes in your own existence and ask more of others you’ll be viewed as “crazy.”

  2. vegansofcolor Says:

    Noemi, to me you’re totally radical… I mean both in the definition you meant & in the valley-girl-slang sense of “radical”=”awesome”. 🙂

    How big is the conference? Do you feel like, if you said anything officially, there’s a chance that you’d be paid attention to? If not, maybe just telling your boss or whoever that you’re not going to the ceremony (& why)? (so they don’t think you’re slacking off or whatever… blah…)

    I think sometimes people get to a… I don’t know, a caring stopping point? Like, “I already care about/feel guilty about/do work on/etc. all these issues, & now you tell me that I have to care about animals too? I only have so much energy/time/heart/blah blah.” I think I see that a lot when trying to bring race issues into other areas, but definitely not limited to that.

    But also there’s that blindness, like Neva mentioned — we’re conditioned to see the human/animal divide. Or not to see it, I guess.

  3. plus, i think zoos are funny in this way: the people organizing the event are probably thinking, “everyone loves animals!” which, well, yeah, pretty much. and so then they think, “what fun, we’ll have the event at the zoo!” because it has warm fuzzy connotations to them. they might actually think they’re sort of catering to the animal-friendly crowd (in a misguided way), you know? having said all of that, i share your frustration with activists who are sensitive to many social issues and yet haven’t seemed to make that connection to animals. i’m sorry you’re stuck in this awkward position!

  4. […] rights, are against the border wall; are veg*ns. Yes I do agree, like a friend once told me when I was complaining about an awards ceremony to look at gorillas at a zoo that was part of a human traff… everyone does not see the connections like I do.  But  I will not continue to inflect pain and […]

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