Vegans of Color

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

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.