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.
(what is "POC" ?)
@falgn0n person/people of colour
well your comments are equally valid when dealing with ("persons of not-colour" I guess?), which I am :)
Dear (all) vegans,
Check your privileges and ethnocentrism when engaging (anybody else) about going vegan ...
@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.
Capitalism capitalises, that is what it does. 😕
Then it consumes and assimilates all our best intentions.
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.
@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.
@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: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/9c61e5_1c6c2759fd4a4b51993acb897ecd5f5e.pdf
@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
@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/
@DysphoriaTremens None of what I’m saying makes sense if you don’t know/understand or seek to find out what are:
- racism as a social construct
- its structural and inherent power dynamics
- white privilege
- the way global history and racism intertwined and it’s consequences
- the concept of whiteness
- the white gaze
- white saviourism
- capitalism as tool of racism
In the replies I gave links & books to aid in the comprehension of some of these themes, as starting points of research 8/
@DysphoriaTremens I suspect you are not familiar with many of these themes and concepts because you’re assuming that I don’t know that there are white people working on decolonizing veganism, or that the same issues affecting POC affect other white and disadvantaged white people too. But again I wasn’t making a point about veganism as a movement or practice. I was making one about the way white vegans addressed POC, and why the way it’s rooted in racism is a problem. 9/
@DysphoriaTremens At the core the subject matter here is whiteness. You are free agree or not. I’m not here to obligate anybody. But I sense that we have a different understanding of racism and anti-racism. Mine is intersectional.
I reiterate: look into the work of POC to understand the mechanism of racism because it’s the core of POC’s activism on veganism + more. If all you perceive is divisive identity politics, question whether you think you can be an effective ally or not. 10/
@DysphoriaTremens I realise I did not address the environmental cruelty part earlier. I will come back to it later because I have to go
@Mwenyi Thank you for that, I appreciate it.
I'm sorry for having misconstrued your point. While your delivery might not have been the best (I mean, you started with "dear white vegans"...), truth is that I did take offence at what I perceived to be a lazy dismissal of something I believe to be a Big Fucking Deal with a broad stroke of anti-racist rhetoric.
I'm sure you'd agree that it's not cool to use liberation theories against each other for No Good Reason or to protect our personal illusions, and that's what I felt was happening (regardless of being wrong or misguided). You not being a vegan only cemented that perspective, since I've seen many variations of the appeal to ancestry or identity or whatever in order to shoot veganism (which again is a Big Fucking Deal) down.
And as I already pointed out, I see this is an Urgent Problem for Humanity and it is mighty annoying to see it painted as a specific group's issue. It's not, because we're all sailing in the same space rock, and we all contribute to its demise. Even today I have improvements to make in my habits. 1/6
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