Vegans of Color

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

“When you have children….” June 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — dany @ 10:11 pm
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A couple of days ago, while drinking cosmos during happy hour before going out to see the Sex and the City Movie, my friend asked me if I “would send my children to [alma mater] Macalester.”

I responded by telling her that if yes, some how I managed to procure a child under my guardianship who was of appropriate age to consider a college education, I could afford to send them to an elite liberal arts college, and they were interested in going to Mac, I would be supportive of them if they chose the school.

Like many, I’m sure, I frequently get asked if I would be interested in raising my children vegan. Like many, I’m sure, I’ve been asked why I would be unwilling to “just let them choose whether or not they eat meat” (ironically, ignoring the fact that meat-eating is in itself an ideology)

This question (problematically) assumes that:

1) That I intend on being a mother (because I’m a woman)

[note: this also assumes heterosexuality and participation in a patriarchial society that places value on women based on their reproductive abilities… similarly to our non-human friends]

2) I will be the sole person to decide my childrens’ diet (because… I’m a woman of color?)

3) Carnism, like whiteness, is rendered invisible and therefore “normal” (because, just as we live in a white supremacist world, we live in a specieist one)

I can’t help but wonder if men get similar questions upon informing others of their veganism.

I just had to drop in here, and ask you all: what are the implications of veganism on women of color who are already too frequently deemed unfit mothers?


Brigitte Bardot: Not My Ally

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 10:09 pm
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Until a few minutes ago, I only had the foggiest idea of who Brigitte Bardot was, or why I should care.

She’s just been fined for anti-Muslim remarks she made in France. She’d written on her website that Muslims were “destroying our country by imposing their ways.” Bardot, described by the BBC as a “prominent animal rights campaigner,” is said to be, in this instance (she’s been fined several times before for anti-Muslim statements), incensed about “the slaughter of animals for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.”

Two comments here: one, how about all the animal slaughter that non-Muslims living in France support every day with their diets? By focusing so heavily on Muslims, Bardot is showing what her real problem is: she’s an anti-Muslim bigot. And two, way to add to the reputation of animal rights activists as heads-up-their-asses folks who are oblivious to any other form of oppression or injustice but that visited on nonhuman animals by humans. (Intersectionality… it’s a pretty popular concept on this blog lately. Wonder why?)


Understanding Intersectionality & Food: How to Get It Wrong

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:55 pm
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My recent post about Breeze Harper’s anthology on race & class in sustainability/ethical consumption movements is being discussed at Alas, A Blog, & by someone blogging at the Atlantic. The latter post is particularly textbook. It’s short, so I’ll quote it in its entirety:

I genuinely don’t understand this. I’m pretty comfortable with the concept of privilege, but I fail to see how my choices in foodstuffs contribute to it. I’d order the book to find out, except that it sounds very, very silly.

Yeah, because race & class issues are “very, very silly.” To some folks more than others; more often those who don’t have to deal with them personally, I’ve found.

I’m also bemused that supposedly Erik Marcus commented to say, “The book might sound a good deal less silly if only every sentence at the website you’ve linked to wasn’t so poorly written.” I’m assuming it’s a troll hoping to stir up some vegan infighting, although who knows? Maybe Erik Marcus really has nothing better to do than critique our writing styles.

Several comments on both posts seem to be expressing some disbelief that food & diet could be in any way tied to class or race. They also seem to focus mostly on consumption (ie. what access do certain groups have to fresh, local food?). But as posts on this blog have demonstrated over & over again, there’s much more to the story than that. Like any movement, veg*nism, animal rights, & sustainability movements are affected by the biases of the societies they spring from. And that plays out in who is encouraged to join, what tactics & rhetoric get used, etc. Focusing solely on food security/access — which is very important, don’t get me wrong — ignores so much. It’s a little bewildering to see all these people stubbornly refusing to see this, but then I guess that’s what privilege is all about, huh?