On Italy, Whiteness Research, and Being a Vegan Tourist

Sistah Vegan Munich: On Europe, Whiteness Research, and Being a Vegan Tourist Part I is about my time in Europe from May 6, 2010 to June 16, 2010. I talk about my travels as well as where my dissertation work is headed to.


Thank you for watching.

0 thoughts on “On Italy, Whiteness Research, and Being a Vegan Tourist

  1. Thank you for sharing. Aspects of European culinary culture are very medieval and very upsetting to me as well. It’s primitive and assaults my every sensorial, emotional and intellectual sensibility. That boar bit you shared on this post and the previous one is the perfect example. Spain is even worse, with whole pigs, piglets and pig parts flooding the landscape. France, well the egg and milk overload is quite troubling.

    On another level, I wanted to ask: do people, both black and white, challenge you or your authority to speak as a black activist since you married a white man? Have you had interesting, pleasant or unpleasant race-based encounters in Europe?

    And, if you don’t mind my asking, how do you conceptualize your son? You are clearly of mixed background, yet you conceptualize yourself as a black woman. Will you conceptualize your son as a multi cultural black boy? Or how so?

    Thank you and I apologize if you feel these questions are brazen. I’m just genuinely interested.


    1. @ Sylvia

      Oh yes, I’ve been challenged that I’m not a real black feminist theorist because I married a white German man. I’ve also been told by black men involved in holistic health and plant based dietary philosophies that ‘feminism destroyed the black man.’ Thus far, I’ve only spent time in Munich Germany, Florence, Venice, and Siena. these are all major cities and the tourists are quite diverse (but still hardly any ‘black’ folk). I get little kids always starting at me at the camping resort when spent 12 days at. It was kind of annoying, but, oh well. I also had people surprised that Sun was ‘so light’ with ‘wheat blonde hair and gray blue eyes.’ But, it’s the same surprise I get in the USA with the occassional, “How is it that he doesn’t look like you?”

      Sun (my son) is a light skinned human being with mixed ancestry. I think it’s hard to conceptualize him because his identity will shift depending on where he goes and who interacts with him. I conceptualize myself as a black woman because I guess it stems from growing up in a household in which both my parents identify as black and speak of ‘our’ culture and history within the context of a black history if that makes sense… I think Sun will identify how he chooses, as I don’t want to force my identity concepts on him. However, depending where he goes, he’ll be read as ‘black’, or ‘colored’, or even ‘white’ for example.


  2. For auto-ethnographic purposes, you might be interested in looking at Ruth Behar’s work, particularly the “The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart”. Raw, personal honesty, “being ruthless with oneself” as she puts it, combined with first-rate, sharp academic rigor. A must-read!

    Don’t be surprised if it’s only toward your last weeks of dissertation writing-with the filing in sight-that you discover what your dissertation is truly about. I hope you find this statement liberating rather than a source of despair.

  3. Thank you so much for responding in such a thoughtful, thorough manner. You honor your readers and I’m grateful for you and your work. I’m a brown Jewish woman (with very coarse, curly hair) of European and Middle Eastern ancestry who gets “read” in multiple ways as well. Enjoy your travels and have a safe journey back….

  4. Let me start by introducing myself-my name is Jessica and I’m beginning to write on feminism- http://theironymark.blogspot.com/and veganism-http://lvkitchen.blogspot.com/-so I’m just getting in the game to so speak. But, I’ve spent a fair part of the morning getting to know your work and your blog and I’d like to tell you how impressed I am. I am just beginning my work-mostly in feminism, and as a young, white, American I find that if I intend to produce anything of quality that I need to fully understand my ‘whiteness’ and any other privileges that I may have. I can’t speak for every white-identifying person but I feel that reflection of this topic may often be hindered-and ignored-by ‘white guilt’. Sometimes such discussions can make people uncomfortable-not that I’m implying that just because one is uncomfortable one must stop, but because of this its hard to open up real discourse. But, after reading some of your thoughts, I think that you brooch this subject in a very progressive way. I will say that I dont have much experience or knowledge yet in race discussions, but reading your work has already opened my mind as to which direction I should go and I guess I’m just trying to say thank you. I think that your work is vital to progress in the world.

  5. Just wanted to say keep up the good work. I am a sista (not a vegan…yet) in the field doing dissertation work which I hope to finish my Spring 2011 as well. I admire Queen Afua’s work too, and as soon as I get back to the US I will be looking for your book. Stay strong!


  6. I just wanted to pop in and tell you that I enjoy your blog and your ideas. I think it’s important to understand the workings of privilege in all aspects of life, but it is woefully underexamined in the vegan/vegetarian community. I will be continuing to read this blog as long as you post– you’re doing something wonderful.

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