Veganism seeks to end oppression. Full-stop.
Being vegan means you reject the injustice and inhumane treatment directed at animals. So ask yourself: do you reject the same injustice and inhumane treatment directed at people of color?
If you do not, you have some serious reflection to do.
Following the death of George Floyd, just one of many victims of police violence, protests have become widespread throughout the United States. Though some have claimed this is a race war, it’s not: it’s a war against racists. You’re either against racism or you’re not. Pretty simple. As such, vegan organizations, publications, etc. have been criticized for not speaking out against the injustices people of color are facing. This criticism is fair – after all, how can you even begin to address the cruelty directed at animals when you will not address the cruelty directed at human beings?
Look at Anonymous for the Voiceless. AV “is an animal rights organization that specializes in educating the public on animal torture and abuse and fostering highly effective activism groups worldwide.” That’s great. That’s what vegans want. But consider AV’s defense of not taking a stand with Black Lives Matters and other’s protesting against the racial injustice in America. The group posted a video on Instagram where they stated, “Intersectionality has no place in the animal rights movement.”
With over 240,000 followers on Instagram, Anonymous for the Voiceless has a platform that could be used to promote and uplift Black voices as they fight against racial injustice. But instead, they accuse those who support intersectionality in the vegan movement of “all lives matter”-ing the animals.
Nobody said the animals can’t have a movement of their own. They do have a movement of their own. But racism is real – even within veganism – and that needs to be addressed. If you’re not actively taking a stance against racism, you’re saying you’re okay with it.
And you’re disgracing veganism.
There is a reason why so many people view veganism as a “white people” thing, and it is horrible stances like that of Anonymous for the Voiceless that add to that. Part of the issue here is some vegans’ refusal to stand with and for people who are not vegan. But how are you supposed to get people to care about what you have to say about animal rights when you have completely disregarded a movement fighting for human rights? It’s disrespectful, to say the least.
Meanwhile, vegan publications and websites, including VegNews and VegWorld Magazine, have been very clear on their stance: Black Lives Matter. VegNews in particular has been shining a spotlight on Black voices, including a series on Black wellness, featuring Tabitha Brown. And when they do that, what has happened? They’ve been told to stop the political agenda.
And it’s not just vegan media that is being attacked – it’s animal sanctuaries as well. There are people on social media commenting on animal sanctuaries’ posts just to tell them that they will no longer support or donate to them. Why? Because these sanctuaries had the nerve to say “Black Lives Matter.” Who does that help? Certainly not the animals you say this movement should be about. You’re willing to take away much-needed donations that go directly to taking care of animals…just to prove that you don’t care about Black lives?
How does that make sense?
When you say, “I’m here for the animals, not the racial issues,” you are ignoring the injustices that your fellow activists – your fellow humans face. After all, you do realize that not all vegans are white, right? You are actively spitting in the face of vegans of color and making veganism even less accessible than it was already being accused of being.
Vegans frequently get accused of only caring about animals, not humans, and when you criticize others for caring about more than one single issue, you are the problem. You end up doing more harm than good for the movement.
When a human being is murdered, do you only care about that murder if the victim is vegan? Do only vegans deserve your attention, your sympathy? Do you really only care about animals and have no regard for your fellow humans?
If you’re racist, you have no place in the vegan movement.
If you’re xenophobic, you have no place in the vegan movement.
If you are sexist, you have no place in the vegan movement.
If you’re homophobic, you have no place in the vegan movement.
If you’re transphobic, you have no place in the vegan movement.
When nearly everything is catered to white people, why do you get so upset when someone else is represented for a change? Why does brands, businesses, people taking a stance against racism, against bigotry, bother you so much? Why, when suddenly things aren’t about you, do you have to make a huge fuss?
If someone says “Black Lives Matter,” why are you so angry?
If you do not care about human rights, how can you be trusted to fight for animal rights?
If you’re looking for ways to combat the systemic racism in the United States and elsewhere, check out this resource, which includes petitions, places to donate, and more.