I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call “race traitors” lately, or people who have found homes outside of the (social) locations deemed fit according to their race. One of my homes, with out a doubt, is within socially conscious vegan communities that understand animal rights issues to be related to other oppressions. However, within these spaces, there always seem to be people who don’t quite “get it,” and will inevitably offer some unwarrented racist and/or classist statement about people who inevitably “get what they deserved” in any given situation, ignoring the historical legacies or present realities of their material, emotional, and psychological lives.
One of the most traumatic experiences I had during a conversation on a generally conscious, anti-oppression internet community about police violence after the Oscar Grant shooting in January in Oakland. In response to the situation, a white vegan contributed very little to the conversation, announcing: “Apparently, he was a butcher” and suggested that his shooting was “karma”.
Whereas I have found the concept of rejecting expectations of racial social scripts to be useful, I realize that it requires emotionally expecting certain spaces to be “safe spaces,” without necessarily making them as such in a public way. With this, dear readers (and fellow VoC bloggers!) I ask you these two questions:
What experiences of rejection (as a person of color/against people of color) have you experiences/witnessed in (mainstream white) vegan communities?
How have you dealt with this (on an interpesonal level?)
How have you used these experiences to alter the way that you operate within these spaces to make them “safer” for all those who participate?
What sage words of wisdom can you share/