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

17 Responses to “Update of Vegans by Race/Ethnicity Survey”

  1. johanna Says:

    Oh, the privilege of saying you are European/white but “choose not to” identify as anything!

    • Johanna, I don’t want to draw any conclusions yet, but I do find these types of responses quite interesting.

    • On a side note, there is a plethora of literature on these types of identification. It’s usually referred to as “colorblind” politics, or “colorblind whites.” I am curious to know if I’ll get USA people of color who are “colorblind.”

  2. I love charts and graphs! Awesome 🙂
    I hope you get more results. Your goal was 10,000 or something, right?

    • 10,000, but I may stop at a lower number because I have to pay SurveyMonkey a monthly fee and am only allowed 1000 answers per month. After 1000+ answers, I am charged per answer…

      • Erica Says:

        I find it really interesting how many people identified as Jewish. I am Jewish too, but that’s a religion, not an ethnicity? However, for me personally, growing up in a Jewish family, but not being religious myself, I view it more so as a culture than a religion. I guess I can see why someone would specify?

        Johanna, I was wondering if you could explain to me how being of European decent, yet choosing not to identify as being white is a privilege? Some times, personally, I feel very strange identifying as “white” because it’s such a weird word to identify with. (Just calling people colors instead of what they are. Like, I am not white. I am actually sort of light brown or tan even though I am of European decent.) I also think being white makes certain people uncomfortable, because people feel like it has a stigma to it, or that it is not something to be proud of. Personally, I accept that I am white as a racial label just b/c that’s the way things are, but I don’t feel like its much to be proud of or to identify with. I certainly cant speak for all white people, but I think that may be that’s the way some people feel? Ideally, I think people (of all racial backgrounds) would like to just feel a part of everyone, yet we are all forced to choose what category we fit into, which can feel uncomfortable. Would you mind answering my initial question? I just want to be able to understand where you (and others?) are coming from, and those are my initial thoughts?

        Also, I dont know if people usually have conversations like this in blogs, but i am attempting to try anyways. : )

        • I was intrigued by the identification of “jewish” as an ethnicity as well, as I thought this was religious identification. But I am learning many things from this survey!

          • Callie Says:

            The Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group.
            Many Jews are Jewish by birth, but do not practice Judaism.
            Others are converts to Judaism, but have no bloodline in the Jewish people.

      • johanna Says:

        Erica: there are so many many benefits that accrue to white people simply for being white. It’s a privilege to be able to imagine you can discard them just by saying so (even though you can’t, & lots of white people who say they don’t ID as white aren’t even cognizant of all the privilege they have). It’s a privilege to be able to conceive of thinking of yourself as w/o a race when so many POCs are never ever able to be seen that way. Not to mention that often when race isn’t given as a descriptor, people default to thinking of the person as white.

  3. What would be required to find vegans of color and recruit them to participate?

    What would be required to recruit persons of color and persuade them to adopt veganism, then surround them with loving encouragement and support in that ongoing personal life process?

    • Maynard, I am not sure what the 2nd part of the question has to do with the survey… Unless I am missing something here.

    • Erica Says:


      After making my initial post, I began to sift through this blog reading entries and comments by people of different backgrounds. I would just like to say that reading about everyones experiences and frustrations has been a very emotional experience for me. I have been aware of the idea of white privilege for quite some time, but It is only when I began studying Community Arts with a professor of chicano background that I began learning more about these issues directly (although I still feel like students in my class were dodgy and afraid to talk about this. Myself, I was just confused b/c my teacher kept saying the word “gentrification” over and over and I had to ask what it meant.) In my past schooling, these topics were neglected which I attribute that partially to my ignorance on these sensitive topics. I makes me very angry that they do not talk about these things in school. When I came across this blog, I was really excited to hear from vegan people of color, as I too see human oppression and animal oppression as deeply connected. After much reading, I feel as though I may have answered my own question,but I am concerned if my initial question hurt or frustrated anyone. Assuming it did, i apologize. I hope that this is an appropriate place to engage in discussion with you? I am just looking to connect with people of color on a common ground (veganism) and learn of how I can help combat racism and speciesism at the same time as this feels overwhelming and a lot to take on.

      This year was my freshmen year at college. My school does not have a lot of people of color there unfortunately. It is also not much of an activist campus and I feel it is very marginalized. There was a racist incident on my campus in which a white student wrote an offensive comment on a white board in a classroom. This created a huge problem at my school. The administration began holding “Diversity circles” in which everyone was invited. Another student and I really wanted to do something about this. We created a club on campus for people to talk about race and gender issues. We tried really hard to organize , but it was tough getting support. Usually, very few ppl, if any, would show up to meetings even though we put up posters all over campus. When we did get people to show up, they were mostly white. To be honest, I felt somewhat frustrated with this. I felt like we could only make progress if there was a diverse group represented. Then people just stopped showing up. I guess this is attributed to my lack of experience. After failing at this, I have felt very discouraged, but I think I may want to try again. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could get people to open up to feel compelled to talk about these things? If you saw a poster on campus, what do you think it should say to draw people in?I am personally frustrated by racism everyday where as I feel like most white people I know do not think about it. Even though I am white, I think about it constantly and wish that I could talk to people of color about this. Thank-you.

      • Erica Says:


        If you are wondering why I am posting this here, it stemmed from my initial interest in your survey and the thought provoking comments that others made. Sorry if my posts are somewhat offtopic, b/c I dont mean to distract from the great work you are doing! : )

  4. Erica, check out Damali Ayo’s I Can Fix It!, a guide that can help you begin to broaden your understanding. Also, check out the “resources” box in the top right corner of this blog.

  5. Hi, was wondering how to participate in the survey. I’m a multi-racial vegan.


  6. TTD Says:

    I’m quite surprised that South Asian was not included as an option in the survey. Surely given the prevalence of vegetarianism in Hindu culture, you would expect to see some vegans of South Asian origin? Or do South Asians simply “go under the radar” even among other people of colour?

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