Vegans of Color

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

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.