Vegans of Color

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

Explaining Racism to White Veg*ns & Speciesism to Non-Veg*n POCs July 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:54 pm
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I’m seeking links to useful resources of two types, basically the two main intersections from which this blog was born: firstly, resources on racism geared towards getting white people to recognize their own privilege, which could be used by white vegans; & secondly, resources on speciesism/veg*nism that speak to people of color, meaning that they come at speciesism from a racialized perspective. It’d be great to have a compilation of resources available on this blog.

For the former, I’ve found useful Peggy McIntosh’s essay “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. In my experience & the experience of many, many others, sometimes white people just won’t listen to what people of color (POCs) have to say about racism — because we’re biased or have an agenda or something, har har — & in those cases, sometimes I’ve had good results with McIntosh. My other favorite recommendation is “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations about Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum, a woman of color. It is an amazing book, & highly recommended.

Of course there are dozens of blogs & websites that folks could look at (the myriad posts for International Blog Against Racism Week, for starters, not to mention the blogroll of this site), but occasionally it is helpful to be able to recommend one article or book as a place to begin.

For the veganism/AR thing, I must say that I’ve never read anything about why I should be a vegan or why I should be in favor of AR that spoke to me as a POC. Quite the opposite, in fact; a lot of writing on veganism I’ve found alienating when it comes to issues of race (some of these instances are written up on this blog). The closest I’ve come is a conversation with a Chicana friend several years ago, where she noted that in some countries, the indigenous, pre-colonial culture was much, much more plant-based, & it was only when the white colonialists came in that this began to change. I know that some POCs have been moved by the comparisons to the enslavement of African Americans; I also know that many POCs have been alienated from vegan issues by such comparisons.

So. Thoughts? I am particularly interested in hearing from POCs on what has worked for them on both counts, although hearing from white folks on specific pieces that woke them up to racism would be useful. But I especially don’t want this to turn into a bunch of comments from white vegans on what “should” persuade POCs to become vegan. On the other hand, well, that would be a timely demonstration of white privilege, wouldn’t it?