Vegans of Color

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

Update of Vegans by Race/Ethnicity Survey August 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 11:36 am

Weekly update of Vegans by Race/Ethnicity Survey:

618 responses thus far. This is only the first week of the survey. I am hoping to get several thousand responses.

I am also new at creating surveys, so if you have helpful advice, please let me know. I’m still not comfortable with how I even created categories for gender, race and ethnicities. I had to edit them numerous times, as I received emails from people who had advice on how to represent certain identities.

Vegans by Race/Ethnicity in USA As of Aug 31, 2009 10:34 AM EST

Vegans by Race/Ethnicity in USA As of Aug 31, 2009 10:34 AM EST

Remember, these numbers are really more about vegans who use certain internet sites in the USA. I initially posted my call for help on Facebook groups, Vegans of Color, Twitter, and about 10 major Yahoo Vegan groups. Hey, it’s a start. I’m only one researcher with no funds, so I’m doing the best I can!

Gender is listed below as well:

Vegans by Gender Identification in the USA (Aug 31, 2009 10:38 AM EST)

Vegans by Gender Identification in the USA (Aug 31, 2009 10:38 AM EST)

Below are how people identified in the comments field because their identification was not listed on the drop down menu.

Comment Summary<< Back to Summary

If your racial/ethnic identification was not listed, please type it below.
# Response Date Response Text
1 Aug 26, 2009 10:04 PM Irish-Filipina
2 Aug 26, 2009 10:07 PM Afro-Latina Black woman of Puerto Rican descent but for your stats, if i had to choose, i’d prefer black vs. latina.
3 Aug 26, 2009 10:14 PM I do not racially identify because I have absolutely no reason to. My DNA points to European ancestry, but I don’t have any attachments aside from DNA to my ethnic heritage. Therefore, I am simply a US citizen who inherited mutated skin genetics.
4 Aug 26, 2009 10:14 PM biracial
5 Aug 27, 2009 12:01 AM Questions like this are VERY uncomfortable for me to answer. If I had to pick one of these it would be "Latina", but I am very atypical in my Hispanic-ness. Culturally I was raised Hispanic (in the USA), but as an adult I really am not part of the Hispanic community at all and don’t relate to any other Hispanic-Americans, especially not in NYC. I also look Chinese-ish, and my mother is European descended and Puerto Rican-born. Unlike you, I just can’t really find any ethnicity to identify as.
6 Aug 27, 2009 12:02 AM Questions like this are VERY uncomfortable for me to answer. If I had to pick one of these it would be "Latina", but I am very atypical in my Hispanic-ness. Culturally I was raised Hispanic (in the USA), but as an adult I really am not part of the Hispanic community at all and don’t relate to any other Hispanic-Americans, especially not in NYC. I also look Chinese-ish, and my mother is European descended and Puerto Rican-born. Unlike you, I just can’t really find any ethnicity to identify as.
7 Aug 27, 2009 12:54 AM We are all a mix really! I’m ¼ Finnish which is not Celtic or Germanic or Slavic but Finno-Ugric….& I’m 1/32 Cherokee!
8 Aug 27, 2009 1:10 AM South Asian (East Indian) American
9 Aug 27, 2009 1:34 PM Indian
10 Aug 27, 2009 3:34 PM I identify as white, but I am about 1/8 native american
11 Aug 27, 2009 4:03 PM Azkenazi/ Eastern European Jew
12 Aug 27, 2009 4:44 PM south asian
13 Aug 27, 2009 6:28 PM white and latina
14 Aug 27, 2009 7:25 PM I am a biracial Korean/Caucasian, but because my mother is an adoptee I consider myself more acculturated to whiteness (e.g. I grew up being treated "white").
15 Aug 27, 2009 8:19 PM Middle Eastern and White European Descended
16 Aug 27, 2009 8:58 PM South Asian
17 Aug 27, 2009 9:03 PM Middle Eastern AND European
18 Aug 27, 2009 9:04 PM human race (the US census considers me white. I don’t identify with that though.)
19 Aug 27, 2009 9:44 PM plus about an 1/8th Cherokee
20 Aug 27, 2009 9:52 PM White and Middle Eastern
21 Aug 27, 2009 9:54 PM Ashkenazic Jewish
22 Aug 27, 2009 11:18 PM Chicano/a is how I self identify, though I accept Latino/a
23 Aug 27, 2009 11:42 PM Indian, South Asian
24 Aug 28, 2009 12:23 AM 3/4 white, 1/4 mexican
25 Aug 28, 2009 4:16 AM I am Irish and Potawatomi
26 Aug 28, 2009 1:08 PM Jewish
27 Aug 28, 2009 6:22 PM Mostly European and some Native American
28 Aug 28, 2009 7:05 PM Armenian
29 Aug 29, 2009 5:49 AM Chicana
30 Aug 29, 2009 10:07 AM portuguese
31 Aug 29, 2009 5:28 PM Born and raised in South Africa.Citizen of that country.
32 Aug 29, 2009 6:23 PM jewish
33 Aug 30, 2009 7:22 AM Jewish

For as long as my skin is Black I will be a devoted anti-speciesist. August 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 7:38 pm

The title of this post is a reference to the recent post at Womanist Musing. The post details her feelings about the ways animals have been used by a white supremacist society to metaphorize people of color. From the Black apes to the Latino chihuahuas and everything else  in between. I know those feelings all to well. The post ended with a powerful few lines:

They may scream biology until the end of time but we remember when such comparisons were used to justify slavery, rape, and segregation.  For as long as my skin is Black I will be a devoted speciesist.  My dignity and humanity demand no less.

Her words are haunting and powerful for me. And She’s right. Those memories run deep.  People of color still get their babies snatched away, still are shot and hunted, and until (maybe) recently experimented on. People of color are treated like animals, are called animals, and are dehumanized all the time.

In the US (and the world) Blackness positions people at the bottom of a very real racial hierarchy. Solidarity between different people of color is sometimes hard as we all scramble to get ourselves away from the bottom. Some of us do this by distancing ourselves from the bottom, from Blackness. I have heard people of color who aren’t Black distance themselves by how different they are from Black people. Black people distance ourselves from each other through colorism and regionalism/xenophobia. I’ve heard American Black folks distance themselves from African Black folks through primitivist, xenophobic rants. And Black Africans distancing themselves because Black Americans are portrayed as violent and animalistic.

I can’t ask a cow about her feelings on her systematic and mechanical rape, separation from her child, and eventual slaughter. But to assume because of differences between us that she doesn’t care, or is incapable of care uses the same logic as white supremacy has used for people of color.

Koko, the famous gorilla, could sign 6,000 signs. She could create new words by combining signs. She scored between 70 and 95 on IQ tests. She makes me think of Red Peter. Red Peter is the only Kafka character to have really, truly touched me. A Report to An Academy resonates with my diasporic identity. To be snatched from home, shipped to somewhere else, and lose one’s connection to home, but to be able to speak back to the one who took you in their own tongue. Is it such a stretch to think that animals could not also be upset by being shipped in cages across oceans but be unable to tell us such in a language we can understand.

Red Peter was a link for me. He is literally a gorilla, metaphorically a diasporic person. He’s the missing link between Koko and animal and me a human. If I can empathize with a literary gorilla who tells the same story as Koko might tell, than I can also empathize with Koko, and by extension all animals.

In my soul I know it would be just as wrong for me to withdraw my solidarity to those who are seen as less than me, because of a species barrier. To construct the worth of a being by their humanness is an embrace of a world where white patriarchy is the standard. Humanness is so connected to  able-bodiedness, whiteness, maleness, cisness, straightness, because these were the people who got to decide who got to count, and when they got to count as human.

For me to use biology to explain why it isn’t ok to kill or cage me, but it is to kill or cage someone else is a replication of power dynamics. It is shitting on those lower than me on a hierarchy of power, so that I can keep my perch away from the bottom.

For me to refuse compassion to other beings, simply because I have been compared to them, is to center whiteness. I say “Fuck you!” to those white folks who think they have the authority to use my history to humanize animals. But when it is just me and the caged bird I know what’s up, I don’t need to compare. My histories let me empathize in a way I doubt those in the center ever could.

I’ve reached a different conclusion from Womanist Musings: a history of my people being kidnapped, enslaved, caged, experimented on, hunted, sacrificed, killed, and displayed has left a bad taste in my mouth, and empathy in my heart.

For as long as my skin is Black I will be a devoted anti-speciesist.


WOMEN’S STUDIES POSTDOC: Feminist Studies and Human Animal Studies and the Question of Species August 28, 2009

Filed under: vegan — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 10:44 am

What a great opportunity at Duke University.
WOMEN’S STUDIES POSTDOC: Feminist Studies and Human Animal Studies and the Question of Species

The Duke University Program in Women’s Studies invites applications for two postdoctoral fellows in Interdisciplinary Feminist Studies with a research focus in Human Animal Studies and the Question of Species. We seek candidates with interdisciplinary experience in Women’s Studies. We welcome empirical, textual, and theoretical specialization from a diverse array of academic fields, political and cultural contexts, and historical periods. Postdoctoral fellows will participate in a faculty-graduate seminar on these themes and are expected to be in residence for the academic year. Fellows will teach one course related to their scholarship. The fellowship includes a stipend, health insurance, and office space. Applicants should have the PhD in hand by May 2010. Applications (including all letters of recommendations) must be received by November 17, 2009. Send C.V., 5-page project proposal, writing sample (25 pages), 1-page course proposal (undergraduate), and 3 letters of recommendation to: Ranjana Khanna, Director, Women’s Studies, Box 90760, 210 East Duke Building, Durham NC, 27708. Our program information is available at Duke University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.


USA Survey on Vegans and Race/Ethnic Identity August 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 2:44 pm

If you are vegan and living in the USA, please answer my research survey on Vegans and Race/Ethnicity:

Information about the survey:


If you are vegan and live in the USA, please help me with my research!

I am a PhD student in Critical Food Geographies at UC Davis. I am also the author of the upcoming book Sistah Vegan: Black female vegans on food, identity, health, and society. You can find my works at and

I am trying to map the racial/ethnic identifications of vegans in the USA. This research will eventually be part of a book I am working on. The survey is 5 questions long and will literally take 1 minute. I appreciate your time.

You can email me at breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com if you have questions.


Some words for Western animal rights activists to take to heart

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

I recently read Abolition Democracy: Prisons, Democracy, and Empire, which is a brief collection of interviews Eduardo Mendieta conducted with Angela Y. Davis. Here’s a snippet. Mendieta has asked, “…what do U.S. and Western feminists have to say to Islamic and Middle Eastern women?”

[Davis:] … What do women in those areas of the world that suffer most under Bush’s policy of global war have to say to western feminists? It seems to me that those of us here in the U.S. who are interested in a transnational feminists project would better serve the cause of freedom by asking questions rather than making proposals. So I would want to know how feminist and working class activists in countries such as Iraq might envision the most productive role for us. In the meantime, we must continue to strengthen the anti-war movement.

[Mendieta:] You’re calling into question the paternalistic assumption in my question, that feminists in the West, and the U.S., have to school Islamic women about how to proceed. They can do that work themselves.

[Davis:] Exactly. We have not yet moved beyond the assumption that the most advanced feminists in the world — whether they are white or people of color — reside in the U.S. or in Europe. This is a form of racism that forecloses the possibility of solidarity.

Something for animal rights activists to keep in mind! Though I suppose the same readers of this blog who find such courses of action — listening to people in other countries and from other cultures instead of just swooping in as the great colonialist savior — unthinkable when bloggers here suggest them will offer up the same tired protests to Davis’ words.


Vegans by Race and Ethnicity in the USA? August 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dr. Amie "Breeze" Harper @ 7:35 pm

I know 0.5% of the USA population are vegans. Of that percentage, how many are white? I’m writing a book chapter and need to know this and can’t find the information anywhere!

For some strange reason, The Vegan Research Panel has gender and age, but no mention of race and ethnicity.


UBCIC calls for closing of sports fishery August 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 11:03 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(Vancouver, BC/Coast Salish Territory) Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) stated “In order to provide a fighting chance for returning sockeye, it is imperative that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans shut down the Chinook sports fishery on the Fraser River. Every effort, including the complete shut-down of the sports fishery, should be made to limit the possibility of incidental by-catch or the practice of snagging or ‘flossing’ of sockeye. It’s still a grim, grim picture for the Fraser sockeye.”

Presently, anglers of the sports fishery are able to catch and keep four (4) Chinook salmon per day for the period of July 16, 2009 to August 31, 2009.

“With hundreds of anglers plying the Lower Fraser, seven days a week, DFO is hard-pressed to closely monitor and verify their catch,” said Grand Chief Phillip. “Every sockeye salmon that survives the myriad of challenges represents our ability to sustain our precious cultural legacy for our grandchildren.”

The Pacific Salmon Commission has revised and lowered their projections for sockeye salmon returns of the Fraser River. The Commission had originally forecasted a return of 10.6 million sockeye but is now reporting that many of the runs are far less than anticipated. Biologists are warning that the temperature of the Fraser River is rising which greatly increases the mortality rates of salmon.

Grand Chief Phillip concluded “With the river warming rapidly coupled with the much lowered projections, the conservation of sockeye should be of paramount concern to all involved. DFO must act immediately. Any delay shall only serve to endanger and jeopardize the fishing stocks of the future.”



i’m not going to make a price is right pun August 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 11:34 am
Tags: , , , ,

Before I begin, perhaps I’ll just state (as I have over and over again) that I’m for the abolition of all cages and all exploitation.

I saw a headline today that caught my eye: Bob Barker asks Cherokee chief to end NC bear pits.

“Fantastic.” I was glad someone was actually asking Native people instead of telling them.

Then I actually read the piece.

Oh, well. One could always hope.

Seems Barker and PETA are teaming up to force the closure of these bear pits and ship the bears to Cali where they can live in a sanctuary.

So how did Bob find out about these bear pits in the Smokie foothills? As he says in his CNN blog his good friends Bill and Beverly Young.

Beverly saw a sign that said, “Come Feed the Bears,” so they stopped at a roadside zoo. She described what she saw as “sickening.” There were six to seven bears in concrete cubicles. Their fur was hanging off, they were begging for food, and an employee was tossing one bear cub around by the scruff of his neck. Beverly said she had an uncomfortable confrontation with the person who was mishandling the cub and was asked to leave.

I agree that sounds sickening and something should be done (if this is the case). I wonder what Beverly Young, Bob’s good friend, had to say herself:

“We treat terrorists in Guantanamo better than these bears are treated, and these bears didn’t do anything to us. We invaded their land.”

Um. What?

But maybe Beverly and Bob are right. We’d all rather be at Club Guantanomo where the treatment is so much better. The statement also says that the bears have done nothing while all of those who were and are held in Guantanomo are completely guilty. You know, guilty of being brown. But at least we didn’t invade their land!

So who does Bob call. His “friends” at PETA. I’m starting to wonder about Bob’s friends. Maybe he’s not the best judge of character. But you know what they say: birds of a feather.

So PETA and Bob show up in North Carolina, detailing the horrible atrocities these bears face. Turns out he ain’t asking for shit.

“Things are going to change on the Cherokee Reservation, I promise,” Barker, a longtime animal rights advocate, said at the conference. “This is going to be a blight on tourism. Americans love animals, and all they have to know is that animals are being abused.”

Fantastic! We’ll boycott an entire nation, because we know that those folks love sticking bears in holes. Except… these menageries are privately owned. How about aiming the boycott a little. Besides, Barker was told by representatives from the Eastern Band that the zoos pass legally, both the feds and the Eastern Band have inspected them. So as far as zoos go, they pass the minimum that Bob is apparently ok with most of the time.

But we shouldn’t worry. Bob isn’t racist. He can’t be. Bob, and the AP, are quick to point out that Bob is part Native American himself.

Being part Native American myself and having grown up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, I appreciated their interest in Indian culture. –Bob Barker

Barker, who is part American Indian and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. -AP

We all know some blood quantum gives everybody free pass on being racist. So obviously Chief Hicks is over reacting:

“I’m appalled by his behavior and him accusing the Cherokee of being barbaric,” Chief Mitchell Hicks tells the Asheville Citizen-Times.

I couldn’t find where Bob said this, but there is no reason to believe he didn’t after two days of discussion. Especially when he gives choice quotes such as:

“We feel it’s a problem for the city of Asheville having this Third World spectacle happening right at its doorstep.”

Because everyone in the Global South commits animal abuse. But we don’t. If we want to talk Third World spectacles that people accept happening right next door.

PETA claims this campaign is just getting rolling, and I can already see what sort of mystical-fetishization campaigns those folks are gonna come up with. Or came up with already:

Although no promises were made at yesterday’s meeting, PETA won’t rest until the black bears are retired to sanctuaries. After all, according to Cherokee legend, black bears are the keepers of dreams. No doubt all of these imprisoned bears are dreaming of their own freedom.

Yep. I’m going to predict some spirit-animal-totem-Great-Father amalgamation mumbo-jumbo. Whatever it ends up being the PETAphiles are gonna love it.

I’m just going to hope that Bob and PETA respect some tribal sovereignty (and that Bob gets his white-privileged ass back to Cali).

“We’ll have ongoing conversations” with these businesses, Hicks said. “There may be opportunities for us to help them expand, but we’re not going to close the door and not be open to ideas.”Hicks said it was offensive for Barker and PETA to threaten a tourism boycott.

“It’s best for Bob Barker to stay in California and let us do what we know how to do here,” he said.


EDIT: I’m adding a link from cherokeebydesign that has an interview with the owners of one of the zoos.


gimme some of that identity politick August 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 10:24 pm
Tags: ,

Something a commenter said a while back stuck in my mind. I’m not gonna go look for the exact comment, because it was a while back, and the specific of it don’t matter that much for what I want to talk about. The gist of it was about how VoC must secretly be run by Republicans (the most liberal-bougie insult I can personally think of) and how this person didn’t want us to speak for them.

I don’t want to speak for anyone (and truthfully if they cared, they could have asked to be a blogger here as well). I don’t think I, VoC, or anyone else, could be the Authoritative voice for people of color who are vegans. I’d also question anyone who could believe that vegans, people of color, or vegans of color (and every other identity) is a monolith that could be spoken for by one person or group.

So if one is rejecting essentialism, what’s the point of identity? When I can’t speak for Black folks, men, or any of the other identity groups I share commonalities with, then whats the point of joining under the banner of ‘vegans of color’ (or people of color, Black people, etc– you get the idea). I’d argue that the number of issues VoC has brought up over the past few years could make part of it obvious.

The only commonality that all vegans share is the abstention from animal products. The only commonality that all vegans of color share is abstaining from animals while also bearing the weight of systemic racism. We all bear it in different ways, but that allows us to give a multitude of viewpoints that can’t be seen from the center.

Because we must explicitly speak in multitudes (while the amorphous One speaks in unison) there is no vegan of color viewpoint. Only viewpoints. Viewpoints that often get overlooked/stomped on/overshadowed by the One.

So when I speak please don’t think I (and I’d assume most of the bloggers here as well) speak for you (seems to me thats the white patriarch in your head talking). I speak only as a Black, queer/questioning, able-bodied, working-class rooted, college-educated, cisman/questioning Southern vegan in North america with horizontal politics named Royce. I’m only one in a multitude.


G-Force, war, and capital

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

G-Force is Disney’s latest misanthropomorphic movie about secret agent guinea pigs who are not only bipedal, but rational, English-speaking companion animals, bearing arms in protection of the nation just like the rest of us American mammals.

That is how Los starts out the latest post over at hudsonvalleyvegan.

The post covers a lot of topics, but a quick rundown:

  1. G-force will cause a lot of guinea pigs to be abandoned.
  2. The movie depends on misanthropomorphism (creating fictional similarities and ignoring real ones).
  3. Animal usage and war have been connected for a long time.

I found it a fantastic read, and it seemed to focus on a lot of things I had been thinking about lately.