Vegans of Color

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

Young Folks and Intersectionality August 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 6:53 pm
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Josh over at Vegan Metal Bike Dad Punk Blog has posted two posts detailing his frustrations with this “I Hate Kids” mentality that is pervasive in the vegan community. Some people have responded harshly (sort of an understatement) to his assertation that it is a form of bigotry, and people disagree (saying that is a personal preference). And some dislike his comparison of saying “I hate kids” is like saying “I hate people of color.” I personally think that it was a valid comparison– as much as one can compare such things, after all both bigotries have different histories.

What I found interesting was the way the arguments against giving a shit about ageism (or not acknowledging that they are ageist) are damn near identical to the arguments white vegans give about not caring about racism.

To me, being a vegan entails compassion and non-abuse towards animals. Not people, big or small, but animals. “Don’t have choices, don’t have conscience”, proliferated for use and gain animals. En masse.

People require, and receive, a completely different approach from me, on the basis of their personal merit.     –monia, leaving a comment @ ppk

Fuck worrying about other systems of oppression, lets worry about individuals. Despite the fact that this same person, and others, grouped all children together and cast judgement. People will fight for their right to hate children. Also, the thing that really put me on edge was how somehow these same sorts of folks will make connections between their veganism and their childlessness due to some idea of the world being overpopulated. See I know the overpopulation argument is steeped in racist, malthusian logic.

But even some of thew ones who were pro-children made an argument that I hear vegans use for other oppressed groups. The [insert group of people here] are animals too– so I care argument. Maybe I just don’t understand why some vegans have to spin it that way– instead of just caring because other people are beings with desires and interests who deserve respect.

What are your thoughts?


Limitations are in the Eye of the Beholder

Filed under: vegan — Kanika Ameerah @ 11:23 am

Not too long ago, I was discussing moving to Europe with a friend of mine when the subject of food came up.  I said (jokingly) that my one regret in life is that I wouldn’t get a chance to try out black pudding while I am in the UK.  In response, my friend said something to the effect of her needing to be “open minded” to trying new things and that veg*nism limits this.

Like the title of the post states, this comment irritated me to no end.  The old assumption that veganism = being restricted in some way, is a major thorn in my side.  It implies that the only way that one can have a worldly palate is if they ate meat.   

Admittedly, most eateries where I live (outside of NYC) are not vegetarian friendly, let alone vegan.  And the few menu options they have for veg*ns usually consist of a wilted green salad, greasy fries, or a soggy veggie burger.  Because of this, I’m usually left to using my imagination to create a halfway decent dish while eating out.  However, I really don’t see myself as “limited” or “closed-off” in any way.  While I really wish that more restaurants here in Westchester had more veg-friendly options on their menu, the opportunity of improvising my own meal is actually quite refreshing. 

During my omnivore days, it was easy for me to just order any chicken, seafood or beef dish on the menu…There was no real motivation for me to cook homemade meals or to even try out different cuisines since I had the convenience of living in a society that mostly ate as I did.  When I became vegetarian two years ago, I had no choice but to start cooking at home.  And with that, I began expanding my cooking creativity in ways as I never have before…Discoveries of new ingredients even perked up old favourites. As I slowly worked veganism into my diet, this even perked up things in the kitchen even more, even with the simple things.  Had I not looked for a suitable replacement for honey, I would not have found agave nectar, which adds awesome flavour to my tea…Soon, I’ll be buying an ice cream maker to make soy ice cream, and who knows what kind of frozen treats will come out of it. 

The irony of that comment is that I tend to have the most difficult time cooking for omnivore friends, as that they are not willing to try Indian food, hate mushrooms, soy, certain vegetables & spices is allergic to this/that, etc…You can go down the list of things that they won’t eat (except for the usual meat-and-potatoes).  So whenever I cook for my friends or family,  I just stick to mock meats.

However, because a vegan does not eat animal products, they are seen to be limited in what they eat.   How is that?   Perhaps, limitations are in the eye of the beholder…

Maybe one day the culinary school trained chefs and restauranteurs in my neck of the woods will come up with new and exciting dishes that will excite the palate of even the most hardcore carnivore…But in the meantime I am going to surf the internet for new recipes…Any suggestions? 🙂