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 Post subject: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:02 pm 
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An interesting article that I wanted to put out there so you can read it below or click the link - http://www.thescavenger.net/animals/add ... 56119.html)

Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism

Focusing solely on one social justice campaign ignores the way multiple oppressions often intersect, and can result in certain groups of people feeling excluded or marginalised. Stephanie Lai discusses the intersectionality of racism and classism in animal rights activism and why we need to pay attention.

14 November 2010

Intersectionality in animal rights: the basics


I’m going to start with a bit of an introduction to intersectionality.

Intersectionality is about the confluence of ‘isms.’ From Wiki (not a great source, I know, but it’s a good definition), we get:

Intersectionality is a sociological theory suggesting that—and seeking to examine how—various socially and culturally constructed categories of discrimination interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels, contributing to systematic social inequality.

I know; that’s lots of big words. Think of it like this: at its most basic, intersectionality is about not being single-issue, and acknowledging that not everyone is the same.

Here are some examples to get you thinking. They are not necessarily animal rights related, but they are all real:

In 2009, Michelle Obama was serving food at a soup kitchen for homeless people, and a homeless man was spotted taking a photo of her using his mobile phone. There was a bit of a fuss over this, with statements to the effect of, if he had a mobile then clearly he doesn’t need to be homeless.

This ignores the fact that if he’s homeless, he can’t have a landline. How would a potential employer contact him, if not via mobile? Maybe it’s the only way he keeps in contact with loved ones.

Being poor here intersects with being homeless and what people think is a privilege and what people consider necessity.

After the 2004 tsunami, heaps of donations came in to aid organisations, and were sent up to the region. I know someone who was working for an aid agency at the time, and some of the sea-tainers included whole shipments of high-heeled shoes and jumpers – for South-East Asia following a tsunami.

Okay, I don’t have an actual occurrence for this next one, it’s a hypothetical:

You go vegan, and you replace all of the animal products in your wardrobe. As an aside, I’m glad that you are in a financial and life position to do that.

You replace your wool jumpers with cotton and acrylic jumpers from Target. That’s totally cool, I love the House of Target! But do you know where your jumpers have actually come from? Have they come from a sweatshop? Even if it’s Australian-made, that’s no guarantee, we have sweatshops here.

So you’ve swapped an agonised animal for an agonised person. Is the item from overseas? What was the environmental impact of bringing that jumper to Australia, or harvesting that cotton?

More on intersectionality

Intersectionality is not about ranking oppressions.

Giving you these examples, I am in no way saying that you should prioritise any one of those things over any of the others.

I’m not saying the environmental issues around cotton should trump the animal rights issues around wool. I’m saying intersectionality is about considering everything.

And it’s not an excuse to say: ‘I’m never going to get it right so why should I try.”

I want you to try.

The rest of this presentation will look at intersectionality within animal rights. While there are many intersections, including sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, sizeism, xenophobia, cultural appropriation or colonialism, to name just a few, I’m going to focus specifically on racism and classism.

Why are we looking at intersectionality in animal rights?

Historically, in Western animal rights activism, it’s been considered a very white, middle-class movement. There’s an assumption of a certain level of education, and of physical ability.

People who don’t fall in to this image have felt unwelcome or alienated from animal rights because of this. A failure to take into account intersections can also be very disempowering for the marginalised group/s.

Traditionally it has been ‘How do we get X minority group to come to us?’ which ignores the reality that often these groups are already part of animal rights activsm, or doing their own thing, and the mainstream just hasn’t noticed them.

Or the approaches taken have ignored the reality of what’s going on, and so have squandered an opportunity to get a certain group on board.

A lot of intersectionality issues have been ignored or dismissed by western animal rights activists because “We don’t have time for that” or “It’s not about the animals.” The term I use for that is ‘single issue vegan,’ and it’s not a nice term.

Being single issue is giving preference to a political party based on their animal rights promises and ignoring their history of environmental and racial issues, never mind their history of breaking promises.

Being single issue is buying the cheap cotton jumper from some shop, without considering its environmental impact and their abuse of labour and sweatshop laws.

Being single issue is choosing something vegan with no consideration for whether it’s heavily processed and packaged, and what that means.

The reason why I talk about intersectionality in animal rights is because I have often felt alienated from it.

I am bisexual and ethnically Chinese, and I grew up economically not that well-off (though I am now a middle-class hipster).

I come to animal rights from environmentalism.

All of these things intersect for me, because what it means is that I deviate from the “norm” within animal rights. In animal rights, and also within veganism, terms that are frequently used, as they are in many movements, are things like ‘normal,’ and ‘exotic,’ and I’m usually positioned outside of these terms.

This has always been really alienating for me, because things that I think of as normal or everyday are actually considered odd, especially within vegan circles.

BI just wanted to flag this, because this is what intersectionality is about in animal rights: it’s about making sure that we’re not excluding, ignoring or dismissing people. And it can be about harnessing potential.

I could go on for hours, but I won’t: On racism

Here’s an example of racism within animal rights:

You may recall the Morrissey thing a few months ago. If you missed it, Morrissey, of The Smiths, said:

“Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.”

Generalising a whole ethnicity of people like that is racism. It just is. And comments like this are remarkably common in animal rights.

Unpacking Morrissey’s comment, here’s what you get:

- The assumption that the practice of animal cruelty within a country or a geographic boundary means that everyone of that ethnicity or culture does it.

- The refusal to check out your own back yard. I’m not saying that you can’t see what other people are doing and say they can’t do it. I’m saying, have you seen what happens here? It’s disgusting.

- It gives white non-vegans something else to stand on. Someone I used to work with, who is the sort of person who would go to a puppy farm rally, whose dog and cat are members of the family and go on holiday with her, and who is an unrepentant meat eater, said to me once just after we met, and before she knew I was Chinese: “God, it’s so disgusting what hypocrites the Chinese are. They pretend they love animals by having the cute panda as their national animal, but then they go and eat horses!” Comments and attitudes like Morrissey’s perpetuate and support this attitude.

- Statements like this perpetuate the stereotype that animal rights is only for white people.

- It alienates us. Morrissey makes that comment, and I’m like, ‘How many other people in animal rights think that about my culture? Well, fork them, I’m not going to have anything to do with them.’

- It ignores the existing animal rights movement in China.

This is a really big obvious example of racism in animal rights, but sometimes it’s subtle too – a cultural cluelessness that still counts.

Racism in animal rights also makes it harder to connect with people, or make campaigns or arguments that fit with people.

Think of an ‘Easy ways to go vegan’ checklist, for example. What are some common things that might go on it?

‘Try substituting soymilk. Try out tofu. Eat veggie burgers instead of meat burgers.’

This advice is great, except it’s only relevant to a WASP audience. Do you know how hard it was for me to go vegan? It wasn’t. Before I went vegan, tofu and soy milk were already huge staples in my diet. I didn’t eat burgers and things that much, definitely not when I was a kid.

So this advice meant nothing to me, and I wondered what can vegans who are coming from different places to me have to offer me? And whether this is all they can offer.

When we in the animal rights movement assume a start from the same point – when we write our advice assuming that everyone is at the same place as us – we exclude and alienate people.

I don’t want to venture too much into vegan specifics since we’re talking about animal rights, but I’d like to briefly mention othering.

How many articles have you read in mainstream press about how vegan and vegetarian food takes a lot from exotic ethnic foods like, I don’t know, Indian or something?

If you say, for example, ethnic Indian food is naturally vegetarian, it ignores the conscious choice that people have made to be vegetarian. And using this sort of language in this way normalises othering.

This is more of an example of othering and is alienating. It assumes that it’s new for everyone, that the audience you’re writing for isn’t already in that group of people. It ignores that vegans are sometimes different from you.

Really super quickly: On classism

One of the things I really like about animal activism is the community ‘out and about’ elements. I love the rallies and protests, and things like going out to farm animal sanctuaries such as Edgar’s Mission.

And I love being able to back up my moral and ethical decision to do no harm to animals with the action of not doing any harm to animals. Daily this means being vegan, but I do it in other ways, too.

One of the things that out and about physical activism relies on, and even sometimes the activism of being vegan relies on, is a certain level of luxury.

I don’t mean boats and giant cars, though maybe you have that. I mean, you’re not a woman who works two jobs to make ends meet, so doesn’t have time to volunteer at the local sanctuary or to provide goodies for the vegan bake sale.

A lot of campaigns and discourse in animal activism relies on saying, ‘If you’re not doing this than you’re not good enough.’ One comment I heard recently was, ‘If you only go to the puppy rally then you’re not really trying.’

It doesn’t take into account that maybe some people only have time to go to one thing. They only have the money to go to one thing.

It gets like this with veganism too, sometimes. How can people eat that gross fast food? If we go back to the woman working two jobs to get by, maybe she doesn’t have time to cook. I went vegan when I was still living in Perth, and it was hard to get food that was vegan if it wasn’t specially prepared for me.

This is where the classism comes in to our movement, and the thing to take away from it is: sometimes there’s a reason why people can’t do things. Just because you can doesn’t mean that you get to disenfranchise her, or take away maybe the only decision she’s able to make.

A positive example of intersectionality taken into account in animal rights

I want to finish up with an example of something that I think was done well, and I want to point out how it could have gone poorly.

Every other article I’ve read about this was in fact written in a way that ignored intersectionality.

Following Hurricane Katrina, there were a number of pets that were abandoned. This was particularly horrible, as animals were left behind to drown or starve to death when their owners were floated off to safety.

Some of these articles looked at the culture of disposable pets, which is a perfectly valid reading, And many articles wrote about it in just this way. But looking at it this way ignores a lot of factors.

Author and animal rights activist Karen Dawn wrote a piece for the Washington Post in 2005 called ‘Best Friends Need Shelter, Too.’ In it, she talks about people who were ‘refusing to be evacuated simply because they [wouldn’t] “leave their pets.”’

She addresses the fact that shelter organisations such as the Red Cross have ‘no pets’ policies, and that this was primarily a problem for lower-income people who couldn’t afford to pay for their own evacuation.

She acknowledged that an animal rights issue (pets not being evacuated or effectively being discarded), had a direct correlation to another issue: the position of people of a lower class and lower incomes.

Here’s how she could have made the intersectionality even better: the article could have talked about the race issue. In New Orleans, many people of lower incomes are non-white. And there’s a correlation there.

Further reading: Go and educate yourself

I’d like to close out by recommending the following three websites as excellent starting points to read more about intersectionality as it pertains to animal rights activism:

Sistah Vegan – Breeze Harper

Vegans of Color

Animal rights and Anti-Oppression

The sites are about learning stuff. If you want to do stuff, that’s the first thing I recommend. Learn about it. And listen.

And, look, if someone, or a group – a marginalised group – comes up to you and says, “I saw your campaign / I read your petition / I heard what you have to say, this is why it hurt me,” don’t answer, “That wasn’t what I meant,” or, “That isn’t what I intended.”

Stephanie Lai is a professional hippy (working in environmental behaviour change and education), social justice blogger, and occasional science fiction writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Stephanie has a love of penguins, likes talking about the queer subtext in Gotham City, and vegan food, and her favourite colour is red.


You can find Stephanie reconciling her ethnicity and her veganism at Vegan About Town, talking about social justice issues at 天高皇企鹅远, and at her tumblr you can find an assortment of social justice and science fiction things.


This article is an edited version of Stephanie’s presentation at the 2010 Animal Activists Forum, organised by Animals Australia, 23-24 October at the Gold Coast, Queensland.


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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:46 pm 
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As an African American vegan, I found your post intriguing.
Quote:
You replace your wool jumpers with cotton and acrylic jumpers from Target. That’s totally cool, I love the House of Target! But do you know where your jumpers have actually come from? Have they come from a sweatshop? Even if it’s Australian-made, that’s no guarantee, we have sweatshops here.

That's in issue isn't it? Before my vegan days, I was very concerned with child labor and human exploitation. I realized that I had a closet full of clothes that were probably made by unfairly paid 14 year old girls. I was (am) also studying new monasticism
Quote:
The "Twelve Marks" of New Monasticism
The Twelve Marks of New Monasticism express the common thread of many new monastic communities.[9] These "marks" are:
Relocation to the "abandoned places of Empire" [at the margins of society]
Sharing economic resources with fellow community members and the needy among us
Hospitality to the stranger
Lament for racial divisions within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
Humble submission to Christ’s body, the Church
Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
Nurturing common life among members of an intentional community
Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous married couples and their children
Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
Care for the plot of God’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies
Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution within communities along the lines of Matthew 18
Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life


For me, New Monasticism lead to environmentalism, which lead to veganism.
Quote:
This is a really big obvious example of racism in animal rights, but sometimes it’s subtle too – a cultural cluelessness that still counts.

Racism in animal rights also makes it harder to connect with people, or make campaigns or arguments that fit with people.

Think of an ‘Easy ways to go vegan’ checklist, for example. What are some common things that might go on it?

‘Try substituting soymilk. Try out tofu. Eat veggie burgers instead of meat burgers.’

This advice is great, except it’s only relevant to a WASP audience. Do you know how hard it was for me to go vegan? It wasn’t. Before I went vegan, tofu and soy milk were already huge staples in my diet. I didn’t eat burgers and things that much, definitely not when I was a kid.

So this advice meant nothing to me, and I wondered what can vegans who are coming from different places to me have to offer me? And whether this is all they can offer.

When we in the animal rights movement assume a start from the same point – when we write our advice assuming that everyone is at the same place as us – we exclude and alienate people.

I don’t want to venture too much into vegan specifics since we’re talking about animal rights, but I’d like to briefly mention othering.

How many articles have you read in mainstream press about how vegan and vegetarian food takes a lot from exotic ethnic foods like, I don’t know, Indian or something?

If you say, for example, ethnic Indian food is naturally vegetarian, it ignores the conscious choice that people have made to be vegetarian. And using this sort of language in this way normalises othering.

This is more of an example of othering and is alienating. It assumes that it’s new for everyone, that the audience you’re writing for isn’t already in that group of people. It ignores that vegans are sometimes different from you.

Really super quickly: On classism

One of the things I really like about animal activism is the community ‘out and about’ elements. I love the rallies and protests, and things like going out to farm animal sanctuaries such as Edgar’s Mission.

And I love being able to back up my moral and ethical decision to do no harm to animals with the action of not doing any harm to animals. Daily this means being vegan, but I do it in other ways, too.

One of the things that out and about physical activism relies on, and even sometimes the activism of being vegan relies on, is a certain level of luxury.

I don’t mean boats and giant cars, though maybe you have that. I mean, you’re not a woman who works two jobs to make ends meet, so doesn’t have time to volunteer at the local sanctuary or to provide goodies for the vegan bake sale.

A lot of campaigns and discourse in animal activism relies on saying, ‘If you’re not doing this than you’re not good enough.’ One comment I heard recently was, ‘If you only go to the puppy rally then you’re not really trying.’

It doesn’t take into account that maybe some people only have time to go to one thing. They only have the money to go to one thing.

It gets like this with veganism too, sometimes. How can people eat that gross fast food? If we go back to the woman working two jobs to get by, maybe she doesn’t have time to cook. I went vegan when I was still living in Perth, and it was hard to get food that was vegan if it wasn’t specially prepared for me.

This is where the classism comes in to our movement, and the thing to take away from it is: sometimes there’s a reason why people can’t do things. Just because you can doesn’t mean that you get to disenfranchise her, or take away maybe the only decision she’s able to make.

Totally agree. Great stuff, SweetT.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:55 pm 
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I want to give Stephanie a high-five.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:15 am 
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Excellent!

Erika and I have talked about this A LOT on the Cosmopolitan Hour, but we're not as smart as Stephanie, so I'm glad she took the time to write this article. I really, really, really get angry when people refuse to understand that it's OPPRESSION that's the enemy, not other oppressed peoples. I hate that it's such an acceptable tactic, and that people are constantly hiding behind their good work in one area as an excuse to be racist, classist, homophobic, etc.

As Propagandhi said: "I've recognized one form of oppression, now I'll recognize the rest."

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:02 am 
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It is an interesting article and I'm not an AR type person so I really don't know the various issues she may be talking about.

In terms of transitioning to veganism, as someone who comes from Mexican heritage, there were 3 food staples growing up - Beans, rice and tortillas. Now these always weren't vegetarian or vegan but the switch to make them so is nothing. Sure cheese and meat were a part of it as well but less so than the big 3. I always thought people ate beans because I did but I've met many people who never eat beans, ever. I cannot comprehend.

And I guess I don't interact with vegans much which may be why but I think being vegan has let me become more aware of where other things in my life come from. Where do my shoes come from? where do my clothes come from? I didn't immediately replace the things I had and I still have some leather stuff and I have wool blankets. I even have a 100 year old wool blanket from my great grandmother. I'm not going to throw any of that out. My husband has leather work shoes that he bought before we got together so uhh they are fairly old but because he takes care of them, they don't need replacing. He asked me about buying vegan ones and I asked him how they were holding up and they are still good.

For me, it has been easy and a lot of positive changes but I recognize that isn't the same for everyone.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:34 am 
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jordanpattern wrote:
Oppression is oppression is oppression.


Nice article. I find a lot of this stuff running through my mind whenever I make a purchase--and when it doesn't, I feel guilty later. It can be a real challenge to buy anything that doesn't hurt people, animals, or the environment in some way!

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:45 pm 
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b.vicious wrote:
jordanpattern wrote:
Oppression is oppression is oppression.


Nice article. I find a lot of this stuff running through my mind whenever I make a purchase--and when it doesn't, I feel guilty later. It can be a real challenge to buy anything that doesn't hurt people, animals, or the environment in some way!


Yeah, that's very true. I don't think it's possible to completely opt out of harming anyone/anything at all times, unless, possibly, you are very rich. We do the best we can, but I think it's important to be aware, not just in our spending, but in our actions and words.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:42 pm 
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I don't have anything to add, but that was a great article.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:05 pm 
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jordanpattern wrote:
b.vicious wrote:
jordanpattern wrote:
Oppression is oppression is oppression.


Nice article. I find a lot of this stuff running through my mind whenever I make a purchase--and when it doesn't, I feel guilty later. It can be a real challenge to buy anything that doesn't hurt people, animals, or the environment in some way!


Yeah, that's very true. I don't think it's possible to completely opt out of harming anyone/anything at all times, unless, possibly, you are very rich. We do the best we can, but I think it's important to be aware, not just in our spending, but in our actions and words.



but, if you are very rich, chances are you got so rich because you or your family were exploiting people/animals/the environment, or benefiting from others doing so.


this is a great article, and i have read a lot of the vegans of color and the sistah vegan websites (and the sistah vegan book) but was not familiar with the animal rights and anti-oppression blog, so i'm looking forward to giving that a read, as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:00 pm 
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Good article. I was nodding along until this: "This advice is great, except it’s only relevant to a WASP audience. Do you know how hard it was for me to go vegan? It wasn’t. Before I went vegan, tofu and soy milk were already huge staples in my diet. I didn’t eat burgers and things that much, definitely not when I was a kid."

Why single out "WASPs" and use a sort of derogatory word at the same time? I hope that sentence get revised.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:13 am 
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There need to be more articles like this. I arrived at veganism by way of feminism. I see how race and environmentalism and class and all that other stuff ties into veganism. As Jordan mentioned, people need to be aware that the common enemy is oppression, plain and simple.

I have really been hoping that as veganism expands and gains currency in the world, the issue of intersectionality becomes a more prominent part of the dialogue in our community. I've been vegan for almost 11 years and I am ready for some next-level discourse in the vegan events I attend.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:18 am 
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So is this idea of intersectionality something that is accepted as the conventional wisdom / discussed more in certain activist domains than others? It seems to be discussed here quite a bit (and seems fairly accepted) but I don't really get around...

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:26 pm 
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in my experience, yes, intersectionality is more commonly understood/accepted/talked about in some circles than others. i think for any area of anti-oppression work, there are some people who only have a narrow understanding of what that work encompasses while there are others who focus on how multiple forms of oppression interact. i feel like there is much less talk, generally, within vegan and animal rights communities about how those things relate to institutions of classism and racism, than there is talk about racism and classism through a feminist lense, for example. (of course this is just based on the people i talk to, events i attend, and books and blogs i read.)

which is unfortunate because most vegans i know DO care about human rights issues and care about other anti-oppression work, but there just isn't a lot of discourse about how those things relate to veganism and AR. there are definitely resources out there, but it's not part of the culture of AR, i guess? like, thinking about the last two events i attended, veganmania in chicago and the northwest animal rights conference over the summer in portland, i only remember one talk that specifically addressed issues of race and class, as well as food ethics that extend beyond veganism.

i think for some people it might be an awareness issue, or maybe some people just don't care about prioritizing non-AR work, but a whole lot of other vegans and animal advocates are aware of the concept of intersectionality, they just don't keep a discourse going about other forms of oppression and their relationship to veganism. and i think that is how vegans get a bad reputation for only caring about animals and not caring about people, as well as being elitist and all being white and affluent, to the detriment of AR and other liberationist movements, even though in my experience those assumptions are not true.


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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:53 pm 
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I had no idea Morrissey said that. That is such an insensitive statement.


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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 7:46 pm 
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starrynight87 wrote:
I had no idea Morrissey said that. That is such an insensitive statement.

Let's be clear--it's not insensitive, it's racist and xenophobic.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:34 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
starrynight87 wrote:
I had no idea Morrissey said that. That is such an insensitive statement.

Let's be clear--it's not insensitive, it's racist and xenophobic.


And it's not the first time he's made such a statement. Not by a longshot.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:10 pm 
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j-dub wrote:
starrynight87 wrote:
I had no idea Morrissey said that. That is such an insensitive statement.

Let's be clear--it's not insensitive, it's racist and xenophobic.

He's been making statements like that since at least the mid-90's so it's hardly news.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:59 pm 
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Erika Soyf*cker wrote:
. I arrived at veganism by way of feminism.


I arrived at veganism via AirSocialism. : P

This is a fantastic article and I want more I feel like/hope like the world will look back on itself someday and see the many different rights movements as they become more inclusive and eventually embrace each other as the world changes to be a more wonderful place...

But that might be my pipe dream of the day.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:59 pm 
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WOW. What an awesome article--to be honest, within the vegan movement (which I am fairly new to), I continue to hear stories about a lot of privileged vegans who blatantly refuse to acknowledge that veganism is *just not possible* for some folk depending on many isms, and I expected to find that here. As a black female vegetarian, I'm often intimidated by that sort of thinking, and some of the criticisms are enough to make me want to quit. But then again it's the Post PUNK Kitchen we're talking about, everyone here is anti-oppression, right? And everyone should be looking forward, as I am, to learning new things. I'm SO OVER THE MOON that this has been posted. And as someone else mentioned earlier in the thread, it is basically impossible to avoid some degree of oppression with everything that we consume--from clothing to tap water to livesaving prescription medication to frankensoy.

I too recommend Sistah Vegan Blog--I'd been following it all summer, and she posts great videos about her experiences as a black female vegan. She speaks about intersectionality and colonialism, and how the food choices of many black americans have helped to perpetuate colonialism. I also plan on reading her book as soon as I get the money to order it :)

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 1:45 am 
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dandirtyapes wrote:
So is this idea of intersectionality something that is accepted as the conventional wisdom / discussed more in certain activist domains than others? It seems to be discussed here quite a bit (and seems fairly accepted) but I don't really get around...


If you haven't read it, An Unnatural Order by Jim Mason is essential reading for some perspective on how different forms of oppression are related. He doesn't address intersectionality specifically, but his ideas are a good basis from which to avoid marginalization. Unfortunately, this is not an angle often taken by vegans, but I think we'd be wise to give it more consideration.

Good article-- I like a lot of things about it and it brought up some good points in ways that painted effective pictures. Yay for painting brain pictures!!


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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:01 pm 
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Thanks for your comments, everyone! I am the author of the piece, and I'm really glad that it's getting such a wide dissemination and lots of great discussion. The point of the talk really was to start the discussion on intersectionality in Australian AR, but I'm really excited that the discussion is widening out to other forums.

I did want to mention that because it was a talk to an Australian audience, about Australian AR, I know English is considered the one language and all that but the context is a little different. Isa above singled out my use of the acronym WASP and hoped that the sentence would be getting revised. In Australia, WASP is considered a descriptive term, with no emotional or otherwise loading - are the derogatory connotations USA specific? I am concious, then, of it not being universally used as a descriptive word, but as the talk was to an Australian audience the sentence won't be revised. One of the problems with AR in Australia is that no one talks about the Australian issues, it's always 'in the USA' or 'in the UK,' so I think it's really important to learn about impacts overseas, but whilst keeping Australian issues central.


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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:18 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 5:16 pm 
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stephiepenguin wrote:
Thanks for your comments, everyone! I am the author of the piece, and I'm really glad that it's getting such a wide dissemination and lots of great discussion. The point of the talk really was to start the discussion on intersectionality in Australian AR, but I'm really excited that the discussion is widening out to other forums.

I did want to mention that because it was a talk to an Australian audience, about Australian AR, I know English is considered the one language and all that but the context is a little different. Isa above singled out my use of the acronym WASP and hoped that the sentence would be getting revised. In Australia, WASP is considered a descriptive term, with no emotional or otherwise loading - are the derogatory connotations USA specific? I am concious, then, of it not being universally used as a descriptive word, but as the talk was to an Australian audience the sentence won't be revised. One of the problems with AR in Australia is that no one talks about the Australian issues, it's always 'in the USA' or 'in the UK,' so I think it's really important to learn about impacts overseas, but whilst keeping Australian issues central.

Hey Stephie! Yes, WASP is a derogatory way to describe white anglo saxon protestants, and your sentence seems to conflate white anglo saxon protestants with all white people, too. Aren't there other types of white people in Australia?

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:09 am 
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Seems like an appropriate enough place to ask this question: is there a thread in the forums for vegans of colour? Where we can just discuss our daily lived experiences as vegans or vegetarians in a safe space? Or any kind of cultural or oppression specific vegan threads.

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 Post subject: Re: Addressing racism and classism in animal rights activism
PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:23 am 
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Threads are created by those that create them. So you could create a thread to discuss race issues and being a vegan.

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