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Dear white vegans,

Check your privileges and ethnocentrism when engaging POC about going vegan. Stop talking at us, it’s hostile. Also, cruelty-free extends to vegetables too; keep that same energy when mentioning (often racist) labour and human rights violations in the farming industry. And the destructive effects of intensive single crop farming on the environment. In addition, having taken an African studies course doesn’t make you are non-racist. Finally, saviourism is not the way.

Thx.

Spurred by a soul breaking encounter I had this morning. I’m really tired of vegans acting like POC are clueless. Many of us come from cultures where diet is informed by sensible engagement with the environment and the animals in our midst. We care about the same things. Our problem is with the capitalistic system and the way it fundamentally affects how we live and thus eat. Choice is a privilege in this system.

@Mwenyi i used to have to see a nutritionist (before a stomach surgery - part of the song and dance here to get what i needed done done)

she was the most white kale vegan you ever saw and didn't much care for the poc who wanted talking about figuring out new ways of cooking dark meat chicken, seafood, beans (read: way cheaper proteins more prevalent in POC kitchens)

she kept just shushing them and going "no. no. no. see, you're pansearing them in their own fats"

like. im not the rube there :/

@Mwenyi she wants them to abandon everything and shop kale and tofu at the Aldi and i'm like "what reality do you exist in"

but i knew, in truth. she was born of privilege and so ensconced in it she couldn't see it when we were telling her that we come from places of mexmex and soul food

@Mwenyi trying to get people to buy thirty dollars of organic veggies to make into a smoothie "that makes multiple servings!" (read: 2, maybe 3 if you really hate it) when they have sub 10 dollars for a family meal is like. impossibly divorced from reality

@sagebrush wow! 😮 this is simply irresponsible and even unethical! Nutritionists are meant to work within the parameters of their patients, not the other way round! The lack of socio-economic awareness is depressing. I hope they complained!

@Mwenyi i did but there really wasn't a body to complain to, just the similarly privileged doc;

stomach surgeries in the US are generally considered elective unless your BMI is over 35 and only medically necessary over 40 iirc.

which lead to me having to gain ten pounds at my heaviest to get my insurance to finally be required to help me

imho: i think that's the kind of systems we're in. capitalist ones that squeeze us like a vice grip in all our most sensitive areas when we dare have needs.

@Mwenyi my surgery was for my health, it was a big endeavor, but i constantly got invalidated along the path to getting it done, and even though i feel more in tune with my body now that i don't have an irascible stomach that's never full, i hated the process so much i couldn't really recommend it to people unless they already know they need that help.

@sagebrush I’m so sorry you went through this. The US medical system is so messed up, it’s wrong that you have to fight this much to be healthy. Are you better now? I hope you never have to experience this again 💔

@Mwenyi the good news i think is that i opted for the correct surgery for my needs, despite unexpected trauma after surgery

(they forgot to fully hook up my pain meds for the first night of recovery. i was up screaming and the nurse wouldn't doublecheck the rig. the next morning? the new nurse was like "huh this is funny! you got no pain meds" and i'm like "oh it's funny alright." my poor husband had to watch powerless by my side)

capitalist medicine is like a death cult that promises healing

@sagebrush wait a minute... so you were in pain for an entire night and the nurse didn’t care to do something about it?! What kind of inhumanity is this??! So sorry 💔

Honestly I’m starting to think that the whole of capitalism might be a death cult. I feel very conflicted about this because I can see how it lifted certain people, including in my own fam. But the cost is so high!

@Mwenyi i think the problem with getting lifted is that capitalism doesn't allow for Everyone to get similarly lifted;

with one or two people lifted, it actually divorces them in a way from true kinship with their fellow people - they "made it" and their friends didn't;

as a fan of hiphop this theme is so prevalent it gets relegated to "rapgame stardom" and to me it's so much more clearly a problem of elevating only individuals with stardom, rather than their whole environments!

@sagebrush oh I completely agree. Indeed it makes individuals responsible for the uplifting of others, rather than the system. “Culture” makes it so the few who rise may seek to uplift their fellow people but it’s still not everyone and not very effective. I actually think that even in those cases, the way kinship functions is disrupted. It can be a good thing when it gives women more power but a terrible thing since capitalism pushes toxic and narcissistic world attitudes.

@Mwenyi this is so well put!

it makes me want to gravitate myself around poc women's voices, who have already had the point in their life where they decided they were done with anything and anyone who couldn't just be real with them, and instead starting caring for themselves like people should have been caring for each other but couldn't in the generations before!

it speaks to me too, relative to the million microaggressions that make up decades of emotional abuse and gaslighting, being Other

@sagebrush yes sis! There are so many layers to this, and there’s so much to unpack... my worry is that they’re not hearing us 😞

@Mwenyi yes! i feel this strongly too.

i'm a believer in what we're doing here! whether it's pv.s as a platform for talking about the things that people aren't listening enough about - and doing a lot of that listening in their stead, too, so we can understand ourselves better and speak our truths even more clearly tomorrow -

or more simply the act of writing our unvarnished truths in a place that nobody can take them away when we inevitably transgress, so Other we become Dangerous. 😨

@sagebrush
Holy moley! I hate that you had to endure this. 💔💔💔
@Mwenyi

@Mwenyi absolutely! always unless i specify not to in the post 💚

@Mwenyi
Thank you for saying this. 💚 I’ve had similar thoughts in my head for some time now.

@Mwenyi oh mate fundamentalist vegans are on par with religious fundamentalists i am so sorry

@Mwenyi “Haven’t you heard? Sometimes agriculture doesn’t work out well for the animals.” — a city lib, to me, who grew up in farm country...

@Mwenyi

aah, ok

well your comments are equally valid when dealing with ("persons of not-colour" I guess?), which I am :)

Eg:

Dear (all) vegans,

Check your privileges and ethnocentrism when engaging (anybody else) about going vegan ...

@Mwenyi

semi-related:
I am not vegan. I will never be vegan. I think we can find a good and proper balance that is helpful and not harmful to all creatures.
As you suggested, it is our economic system which is the real villain here, and there are many cultures out there that the rest of us could really learn from, if we could just drop our own bullshit.

@falgn0n personally, I’m not either. IMHO veganism is a radical response to industry excesses. Radicalism is often necessary to move the needle. So I respect the movement. However too many of them are losing the plot but I can see that it’s because the movement has been taken over by capitalist logic. It’s now a commercial niche, a trend & individual choice. So now instead of fighting the system, they’re going after individuals and of course we’ll see more blame on those who have little choice.

@Mwenyi

Agreed.

Capitalism capitalises, that is what it does. 😕
Then it consumes and assimilates all our best intentions.

@falgn0n @Mwenyi Some of the body-shaming I've seen coming from online vegans has really made my skin crawl. Thankfully the ones I've met in person aren't like that.

@xenophora there’s something about not seeing people face to face that makes some people lose their sense of humanity. It’s terrible @falgn0n

@Mwenyi @falgn0n

I admit that's one reason I use my real name in many forums. I know not every person wants or needs this, but it really has pushed me to be a lot less mean than I used to be. Which is not to say that every commenter in the world merits hugs and flowers. Only that I *personally* find it counterproductive to be wound up and angry at terrible statements all the time.

@xenophora that’s commendable. I wish this was a collective attitude, the internet would be much safer @falgn0n

@Mwenyi @falgn0n Sorry, but as a "white" vegan I don't think you're really being fair here. While your criticism might apply to liberal and "health" vegans (and I've had some awful experiences with them), actual radical vegans tend to be reasonable people.

I understand that not everyone will be able to go vegan for various reasons, including health and socioeconomic factors. This has nothing to do with "race", though, and using it to dismiss veganism is somewhat dishonest.

IMO, people should just strive to be as vegan as possible. Even if it takes you 10 years to transition, it's better than just keeping the default course. The fact that capitalism has commodified and monetized veganism does not retract from its value.

That being said, I admit that some (many?) vegans are completely clueless. But I've found that's usually confined to health/liberal veganism, due to not basing their choice on radical liberation for both humans and non-humans.

Let me know if I misunderstood your point, though

@DysphoriaTremens I wonder why it’s so important for you to erase the racial aspect. Why is it so difficult to consider the voice of POC who tell you their experience? We know white privilege and white gaze when we see it because we live it all the time. Vegans are not immune from them; they live in this world too. Also don’t infer things I did not say, I’m not dismissing veganism anywhere. Do refer to replies by others and myself in the thread for further info and understanding. @falgn0n

@DysphoriaTremens my toots are very clear about which kind of vegans I’m referring to (enough that you were clued in), so your argument that not all vegans are like this is irrelevant. But I’ll say here that they are becoming the face of mainstream veganism. Look into why vegan POC are increasingly alienated and seeking to decolonize veganism by creating their own spaces away from the mainstream. My experience with this white vegan isn’t my first or an outlier. There’s a problem. @falgn0n

@Mwenyi it does seem that you're dismissing veganism when you repeated the usual anti-vegan talking points as if they made sense:

"the destructive effects of intensive single crop farming on the environment."

Is it best to keep doing exactly the same AND eating animals AND wasting resources needlessly? How is animal agriculture helping POC in any way?

As for vegetables not being cruelty-free... are people supposed to become breatharian? Are POC's vegetables and meat magically cruelty-free while living in capitalism? I really don't see how the fact that tomato farming or whatever is rife with labour abuse somehow makes vegans' points any less valid.

Furthermore, veganism not only addresses ethical concerns but it also addresses the dreadful ecological catastrophe and existential crisis we are looming towards. This is not a white people's problem! One could argue, in fact, that when our planet turns into a shithole, POC will be disproportionately affected by it.

1/3

@Mwenyi You can be a vegan POC and suffer from the same myopic mentality you are railing against. You can also be a non-POC vegan and be active in decolonizing veganism from the mainstream in some way. Veganism isn't confined to the USA and Europe, and it's not only for the affluent.

POC are also not the only ones suffering from the ills of heavily processed food and food deserts. Veganism can be liberating for everyone, and turning this into an "us vs them" just to pounce on liberal veganism is not accomplishing anything. There's more at stake here than dismissing hipster vegans because they're yuppies and white

And the best way to decolonize veganism is exactly to have POC contribute, don't you agree? Otherwise it'll have to be non-POC doing so, and then that'll be colonizing itself. It's self-defeating.

But if you don't want to hear it from me, then listen to vegan POC: docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/9c61e5_

2/3

@Mwenyi Basically, being a POC isn't an excuse. And yes, believe it or not, POC can be clueless, just like white people and every other human, exacty because we're human. We're fallible, we have blindspots.

Trying to bulletproof ourselves with identity and myths about how POC's diets (in the West!) and ancestral cultures are somehow more in tune with the environment to the point of not needing veganism is not productive for humanity. The same could be said about many if not all pre-capitalist cultures. And that is what I could gather from your comment that "Many of us come from cultures where diet is informed by sensible engagement with the environment and the animals in our midst".

And I'm not even touching how veganism intersects with feminism.

Once again let me know if I went off the rails

3/3

@DysphoriaTremens I don’t know why I gave you the benefit of the doubt, I sensed that you’d come back and derail the topic. I think maybe you misunderstand what I say, or maybe saw some key words then decided to take (personal?) offence. To me, you’re misconstruing what I’m saying to fuel your sense of offence. Or you’re trolling. Or fragility. I don’t know which it is but since I’m up early and I have time, I’ll expand my point, also for the benefit of those who need clarification 1/

@DysphoriaTremens I see you desperately want this conversation to be about veganism but it’s not. It’s about the way white vegans address POC about veganism. To emphasise, I subsequently said the toots were the result of an upsetting encounter I had with a white person, and I further told you it wasn’t a first time experience. Perhaps you need me to say this explicitly: this barely happens with the black and Asian vegans I know and encounter. That is why the toots aren’t about them. 2/

@DysphoriaTremens The white vegans I refer to believe veganism is and stops at “stop eating meat because of it’s cruel”. I have too much respect for the movement to see it reduced so. Serious and radical vegans fight cruelty at all levels. Animal cruelty, labour cruelty, environmental cruelty. In other words, your mainstream white vegan doesn’t engage with the various layers of veganism and it’s terrible when they come at POC with their ethnocentrism, racism and privilege too 3/

@DysphoriaTremens their racism and privilege are the reason they don’t engage with other layers of veganism, which you view as arguments against veganism. They’re not imho but that’s not the point of the conversation.

Racism relies on dehumanising POC, so labour cruelty which disproportionately affects them doesn’t register with said white vegans. Privilege is preaching that disproportionally economically disadvantaged POC should consume vegan their way: organically and expensively. 4/

In the replies, @sagebrush provided a good example of this. A white vegan nutritionist forcing their brand of veganism on their patients. First by discarding their economic realities, also by pushing a diet that doesn’t work with their cultural experience of food. The later is ethnocentrism in action. Manifested in a wider way it becomes culinary & cultural imperialism. Which is why I suggested you look up why POC started a movement to decolonize veganism. 3/

@DysphoriaTremens I also stated that said white vegans assume POC are clueless when many are culturally vegan or their eating habits are rooted in sensible understanding of the environment and animals. Industrial, cruel and intense farming is not something they invented and in many cases it’s not their cultural world view. But capitalism changed that. This is why I said the underlying problem is capitalism because it changed everyone’s habits and perception of food, including that of POC. 4/

@DysphoriaTremens knowing this information + things outlined earlier, the way you address POC matters. Otherwise you impress on them that their lives matter less than animal welfare. It doesn’t help when said white vegans use analogies or even campaigns employing historical imagery depicting the suffering of POC to advance arguments. There’s already a widespread perception among POC that white ppl care more about animals than humans. Vegans make it worse and sometimes confirm said perception 5/

@DysphoriaTremens I’m not here to dismiss veganism. If I did, all of my toots would have been insults without saying why that is the negative approach. You can see that my encounter didn’t give me a good impression. I have respect for the movement and activism because I know it is not what these people display. Not every POC knows and thus might swiftly dismiss veganism outright. If you are a vegan serious about the cause, you should have an issue with these white vegans. Not me. 6/

@DysphoriaTremens In one of the replies I explicitly say that veganism is (especially now) a radical and necessary movement in reaction to the excesses of the food industry - capitalism gone too far. I’m explicitly telling you that thanks to vegan activism, the industry is being forced to change and it’s good. I don’t know why you think I’m dismissive of veganism. Is the root of your issue the fact that I later said I’m not a vegan myself? Anyway once again veganism isn’t what I’m addressing 7/

@falgn0n

When a person of color highlights an issue with power dynamics that have a racial dimension, coming along to say "this would be better without the racial dimension" is not a good look.

@falgn0n
"Proactively discriminating against ourselves" sounds like a nonsense thing you just made up in order to justify being an ass just now

@SallyStrange @falgn0n right after that post some white person comes in people "not of color" what?

What?

@piponfishing
Yeah, um, who doesn't know what "POC" stands for, especially in the context of addressing "white vegans" & how they talk to POC. That level of ignorance has to be at least partially self-inflicted.
@falgn0n

@SallyStrange
Listen I'm with you on holding someone to be accountable on race and racism, but "who doesn't know" and "who can't infer from context" statements are ableist-- they require abilities and knowledge not everyone has or has access to.
@piponfishing @falgn0n

@loptr_punk
I'll keep that in mind, thanks. I guess a more direct statement would have been something like "it's highly inappropriate to continue on acting like an expert when you've just finished demonstrating ignorance of a basic key term in this discussion". My bad for getting convoluted & slipping into ableism.
@piponfishing @falgn0n

@SallyStrange @falgn0n

It's like there's a meeting of comrades in wheelchairs discussing how to make the building more accessible despite the ableism they're dealing with.

In come a parkour enthusiast "not of the wheel" telling them that "all people" struggle to get around and ableism isn't the right focus!

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