I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook the other day and was very delighted and sadly a little surprised to see this article about vegan women of color.
The reason I was surprised was because unfortunately you don’t see many mainstream vegan outlets daring to broach this topic. I have been doing a lot of reflecting and discussing about this topic lately, so I immediately dove in to see which angle would be taken.
Much of the article focuses on the work of scholar A. Breeze Harper of The Sistah Vegan Project and Lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project. I was already familiar with The Sistah Vegan Project, so it was nice to learn about another project that I had not yet heard of. As the article states, each lady has a different focus as it pertains to veganism, but they are of equal importance in my opinion. I applaud both ladies for stepping up and working tirelessly to shed light on the issue of women of color and veganism and pleased that VegNews opened up this topic on their website.
I will admit, however, I became a tad disheartened when I reached the end of the article and got to the comments section. I don’t always pay close attention to the comments section of articles I read all the time, but in this case I was very interested to see what type of reader feedback would be present.
I had my hopes high for a number of different responses from VegNews readers about this topic, but that was not the case. There wasn’t a lot of discussion and the responses seemed to be from only people of color. I feel that it was so great for this article to be featured and for women of color to be included in the vegan conversation in VegNews, but the piece ended up seemingly preaching to the choir.
I can only hope this is just the beginning of a discussion that will be ongoing in the vegan mainstream, but it I believe we have a long way to go. I can only hope more of our voices and experiences will be heard and seen in the pages of the magazine and that we won’t be the only ones to respond and offer opinion about this issue.
I encourage you to read the article and would love to hear your thoughts!
Well this is why spaces like these are necessary. White people do care and will lurk but hardly speak up. This is my experience with whites by in large in every facet of American and European life. They care but from afar and if you give them a charity, they’ll donate. But don’t ask them to engage because most whites don’t want to feel guilty about the topic of race. It’s life.
@Joni: It’s ironic that when discussing one group that has been unfairly stereotyped, a poster can make generalizations about another group without being conscious that she’s doing the same thing she’s just decried. All whites only care “from a distance”? Really? Painting any race with a broad brush creates the same sort of injustice.
One reason the comments were lacking might be a confusion as to why a decision as personal and individual as becoming a vegan has a racial component at all. I’m not saying it doesn’t or shouldn’t for some vegans, but I wonder if race has to factor into everything (I write this with the clear understanding that my own perceptions may be filtered through white privilege and I could be missing a lot). It never occurred to me that veganism was being portrayed as the domain of any particular group and I’ve always known vegetarians of every hue. At any rate, yay all vegans! And yay for articles like the one published in VegNews that bring issues like this to everyone’s attention.
@Jamie: Jamie, I didn’t paint all white people. At no point did I say ALL in my comment. It doesn’t surprise me though that you took this as an affront to you personally. I said MY EXPERIENCES not all black people’s experiences.
I know why you don’t understand why blacks may need to involve race in Veganism — you don’t have to think about your race ever unless someone brings it up to you. My color makes me suspicious and conspicuous, alerting everyone to my inherent inferiority in America and Europe. So yes, I have to claim and love my blackness and affirm its humanity, not as fad or an attempt to emulate the white face of veganism.
Pick up Sistah Vegan and you’ll see women who are more articulate than I and you’ll hopefully understand why VegNews and MOST white people miss opportunities to talk with us in cyberspace and real life