Vegans of Color

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

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.


17 Responses to “Vegans by Race and Ethnicity in the USA?”

  1. jim perlman Says:

    I think think about 60% of vegans are white.

  2. adam Says:

    There’s this VRG’s 1996 Harris Interactive poll given to 1000 people across the country. The results are counterintuitive, possibly from the small sample size, but they account for race. If you have the data set, you could calculate a number for different racial groups.

  3. Alicia Says:

    Maybe you could create a survey, like on surveymokey or a similar survey. And do your own unscientific poll asking a variety of questions including race, gender, etc. and put it on the larger vegan forum’s and blogs.

  4. So far I received 56 responses. My favorite commentary from one of the survey respondents is the following:

    “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.”

    I’ll leave that to interpretation.

    • Another interesting response :

      “I don’t get what a survey like this helps? What difference does it make what ethnicity someone is to vegan or anything else. I am used to not filling it in on forms, because I believe it to be prejudice. If you can give me a good reason, however, I do not mind.”

      I am assuming the person didn’t go to my research website to see the nature of my work… oh wait, I forgot, research on race and ethnicity is RACIST!

      This is how I got the idea for my Masters thesis that I ended up getting the Dean’s award for at my university a few years ago. Several white vegans who don’t identify as “White”, were annoyed that I was looking at race and ethnicity for the Sistah Vegan project. Instead of becoming infuriated, I decided to do a discursive analysis of the entire conversation that took place on the site VeganPub, turned it to thesis work and earned an A and an award.

      Ever notice how no one gets pissed off at gender, age, or occupational questions in relation to veganism. Anyway, I think what will be even more interesting about this poll/survey are the responses I’m getting from people who are ANNOYED that I would even DARE to enter this territory….

  5. Anonymous2 Says:

    I think one issue that people might have is in the description of the post: “Of that percentage, how many are white?”. The question is not “What is the ethnicity breakdowns of all vegans?” but singling out a specific race. New readers or readers not familiar with your work might take offense.

    I do have a question though. Does it really matter what the exact # is from a statistical standpoint? IE how different will your research conclusions change if the number was 67% as opposed to 75% etc.?

    Statistically, my guess is that one might be able to derive the ethnic breakdown based on the ethnic breakdown of the country and other groups.

    • Dear Anonymous2,

      I offend everyone, regardless of what I do or attempt to do when I engage in critical race theory research. I can only do my best, but I know whatever I write or however I try to put together a survey or question that has to do with race and ethnicity, someone will become offended. It’s just the territory I am in. I also offend certain people if I chose NOT to look at race and ethnicity.

      I am a cultural geographer interested in ethnicity and food ways. Geography means I must be mindful of place/space. I would like to use GIS to actually map my results. I’m interested in comparing the data to other factors around food, access, health, etc. I already know that there are food deserts, people living in areas that want to be vegan but are finding it difficult, etc. There are also many other ways I could use the data, but this is just a start. There is demographic data on hundreds of things, so I’m just adding more to that database and am hoping it is useful for people engaged in GIS.

      I’m also hoping that if people aren’t interested in my work, they will click on my name is then be directed to my two urls that show my research. But, if they don’t know this, they can go to and

      And yes, I do need to know how many vegans are white because I’m researching why and how it has come to be that so many people I talk to who are not vegans, assume it is only a lifestyle that white people engage in.

      I am not here to argue, yell, or have an emotional breakdown because people don’t agree with what I do; everyone is welcomed to agree to disagree 🙂 . Like I said, I can only do my best and see what comes out of it. Spending hours trying to explain why I have chosen to pose certain questions versus not posing others would probably not be too productive for my work. I simply ask that people go to my URLs, see what I do, read some literature on the subject so they are better informed on my perspective on food, critical race theory, and geography.


    • johanna Says:

      Why do you assume Breeze would care if they were offended? (That’s a rhetorical question & I don’t actually plan to read any comment you may make in response.)

      • Anonymous2 Says:

        Johanna, I’m not assuming Breeze should care at all..nor did I say she should. I’m merely pointing out one of many possible reasons why people could be uncomfortable with the original post and request for information.

        BTW, the informal poll is a great idea, yet It would be great if it can be done in conjunction with bigger blogs and groups as it could be the results might be skewed as the respondents might be primarily readers of VOC. ( Skewed from a statistical point in a possible assumption that more POC read a VOC blog than non POC readers. ). Personally, I think a breakdown by race would be interesting to see.

  6. emfole Says:

    Very interesting and extremely usefully project, Breeze. Thank you for taking this on! I took your survey and would like to know you you’d like people to post it on their facebook pages etc?

    • Anonymous2,

      Rest assured, I have posted my survey to a lot of Vegan websites and listervs. VOCs is just one of them, so my data shouldn’t be too skewed.

      Emfole, please do spread the word in FB and on Twitter 🙂


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