Vegans of Color

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

what do parahumans have to do with gender? December 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 3:32 am

Crossposted at Gender Agenda
Parahumans only vaguely exist at this point. They remain embryo’s grown, destroyed, and harvested for stem cells. Some how a scientist mixing human dna with animal dna is not the ethical conundrum that growing a 100% homo sapiens embryo for harvest is.

Have you heard of H.R. 5910? It was introduced by Christopher Smith (R) of NJ to the House on April 24, 2008. It never passed the House. It is also known as the Human-Animal Hybrid Prohibition Act of 2008. An identical bill was introduced into the Senate this year. Bobby Jindal has signed passed an act that prohibits the creation of such hybrids in the state of Louisiana with a 10, 000 dollar fine or 10 years in jail.



Intersectionality December 24, 2009

Imagine that your community has been devastated by an un/natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina. Imagine that where you live is at great risk for being devastated again. Imagine that you know wealthier, whiter parts of town are better protected from future disasters. Imagine that there are two toxic landfills near where you live, unfairly reopened without due process. Now imagine that you also are trying to farm vegetables and fruits on a plot of land in a city despite all of these things that stand in the way.

Right then, not everyone has to imagine that.


where’s the line? the body? December 23, 2009

What if special lines aren’t definite? If legally only humans get recognized as persons at what point do we decide who gets counted as human? It seems so self evident, but a lot of things seem self-evident at first. I don’t think that the body is a reliable site for placing beings into humanity or animality.



Don’t Use Classism and Anti-Sex Worker Rhetoric to Protest Fur

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:05 pm
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Fur is for beautiful animals & scary hookers, claims an incredibly fucked-up post at the Vegan Shoe Lady. She cites a Guardian article where Ingrid Newkirk is quoted as saying, “Fur has lost all its cachet. It’s yesterday. I see prostitutes in Atlantic City wearing fur.”

The Vegan Shoe Lady then takes this idea & runs with it, suggesting that if we see a woman wearing fur in public, we should make loud comments like, “She’s probably a hooker. Tacky coat, lower-class manners – no one respectable presents themselves that way.”

Her other suggestion, should you see a person wearing fur standing outside holding coffee, is to drop change into their cup, implying that they look like a homeless person. She offers this caveat: “Please treat actual homeless people with respect – they are human beings, and many of them have untreated mental illnesses. More than 80% of young homeless people are forced to leave home, often due to abuse. True compassion extends to disadvantaged people, too, so be nice.”

True compassion extends to disadvantaged people but apparently not sex workers. Or people at the lower end of the class system. Why should we play into the prejudices of certain segments of the fur-wearing population? The post points out that wealthy fur-wearers probably don’t care about environmental or animal rights issues, which I imagine is true. But I refuse to believe that perpetuating stereotypes, prejudice, & shame is the way forward either.


what if plants have secret lives? December 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Royce @ 6:30 pm
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There was a NYT article, online yesterday, in the paper today (I think), entitled: Sorry Vegans, Brussels Sprouts Want to Live Too. An intellectually lazy title and any parts about veganism are superfluous, because really this is an article about how plants respond to stimuli, and protect themselves from being eaten. You know, high school bio if your teacher could have bothered to make plants more interesting.



absolutely vegan, absolutely anthrocentric? December 21, 2009

This is my attempt to share some thoughts I’ve shared with my housemate and friend, R.

Ant & Aphids


Veganism is the refusal to consume animals, or their byproducts. It is a simplified definition, and veganism is far more complex than just one simple sentence. But when I, and most people, explain what veganism is we generally use some variation of that sentence. Veganism is usually seen as an absolute— you either are a vegan or you are not.

Anthrocentrism is the belief that humans are, and/or should be, the center (of the world, the cosmos, culture, society, etc). This definition is also simplified.

As an ethical vegan I refuse to consume animal products to diminish the number of animals that suffer and die. My focus is on ending the suffering of animals.

And perhaps you were expecting an “and” at the end of that sentence.

“…and to end their use by human beings,” I should say.

But I’ll return to use in a moment.



These “Herbivores” May Still Eat Animals

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 2:52 pm
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It’s pretty easy to find examples of media in the West that tie meat-eating to manliness. Connected to this, NPR reports that in Japan, men who are taking on traditionally feminine traits are known as “herbivores.”

Described as “a quiet army of sweet young men with floppy hair and skinny jeans,” they may prefer “sewing, baking and crocheting clothes for [their] stuffed animals,” as does the protagonist of one TV show said to be popular among herbivores.

Though the story features a Sweets Club, for men who like desserts, nothing else about diet is mentioned. The mere idea of non-standard masculinity is enough to brand you as a wimpy leaf-eater, it seems — nothing in this story indicates that the men are, in fact, herbivoric in diet.

The story also demonstrates how manliness — or lack of — is tied to capitalism, economic productivity, & presumably providing for the family (& lustily creating one, of course): “But there are fears about the financial and social impact of herbivores. Their low levels of spending and lack of interest in sex invoke two of Japan’s biggest problems: its lackluster economy and declining birthrate.”

So if “herbivores” are men acting in un-manly ways, what about women acting in non-womanly ways? They’re carnivores: “economically empowered working Japanese women who know what they want.”

(Hat tip to Absolutely Fobulous for the link.)


Weight, race, & veganism – possibly triggering December 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 2:24 pm
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I am (half-) Asian American. I’m also thin. And short. When people find out I am vegan, I feel like often their responses (explicitly & not-so) fall into two main categories: (more…)


Some thoughts about companion animals December 13, 2009

I know adopting homeless animals is a contentious issue for some vegans; Vincent Guihan recently pondered this eloquently: Caring for other animals: does the personal adoption of other animals harm the movement?

For the Pits wrote about a man killed by a pack of dogs in Australia. The post talks about the racism & classism often evident when people think about attitudes towards companion animals among POCs/the poor/indigenous people/etc.

I re-read Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America this weekend. I was as moved, infuriated, & shocked as I was the first time around. For those of you who haven’t read the book, another reason why PETA sucks is their hypocritical behavior regarding animal rescue (Nathan has two posts about this).

(& really, PETA apologists, don’t waste your time commenting. Any such comments are prone to deletion &/or mockery.)


Gender policing has no place in AR/vegan movements December 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:34 pm
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A couple of weeks ago I read this post by Nathan Winograd, about why single-issue thinking is not appropriate for animal rescue advocates. Nathan Twittered about this New York Times article about teens who dress in gender nonconformative ways at school. He then received comments stating that he shouldn’t write about such things, as “it dilutes the support [he] receive[s] for the No Kill message.”

I have huge respect for Nathan; I think his book, Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America, is incredibly important (& unlike many in the animal rescue movement, he puts his money where his mouth is & is vegan). And people listen to him — so I am hoping his eloquent words will get more people to think:

I believe in No Kill. But I also believe in animal rights, human rights, gay rights, gender equality, and racial equality….

I believe that you must embrace compassion wherever and however it presents itself. That is who I am. And that is what I will promote publicly and privately. Compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion. For animals, for cross dressing kids, for that fly that President Obama should have left alone rather than killed. It is the unending drumbeat I will play until my time on this Earth is finished.

I know we can do better; that we can construct our communities in a way that is truly kind, fair, and compassionate to everyone—regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or species; that we can bring to our society the fullest expression of our common pledge to promote the general welfare for ourselves and our posterity, and I do not doubt that ultimately that pledge will be interpreted in ways which we—trapped in our own time—cannot even begin to imagine. History reveals this to be the case…. the arc of history not only bends toward greater compassion, but for greater compassion to a wider circle of groups; indeed, to include the planet itself. From that perspective, the No Kill movement is an extension of all that historical progress that has come before it, and will be an extension—and a part—of those movements yet to come that will push the envelope even further. Taking the long view, the issues are the same. I am not “off topic.”

On a related note, there is a very important series on Vegan Ideal about transphobia & cisgender privilege in our movements (part one, part two, & part three). I highly recommend these posts; please read them, because these issues are often handled in really problematic & oppressive ways.