"Angry asshole looking for racism with a chip on her shoulder": Interpretations of Sistah Vegan Project

Breeze Harper

I ran across a vegan blog in which people were discussing my critical race vegan work; in particular, an article that I had published last year that looks at how access to certain vegan commodities in the USA are still contingent upon structural racism and poverty on the global scale. I also questioned why and how it is that certain white middle-class vegans really think veganism is a ‘single-issue’, and that as long as they aren’t ‘overt racist’, they need not think about racism, whiteness, and 1st world privilege. The article they were discussing is a small excerpt from my dissertation in progress, and the language is grounded in ‘academic writing’ and I come from the discipline of geography, so the concept of ‘space’ is crucial to my analysis.

After claiming he/she had looked at my blog, this one vegan referred to me as a ‘angry asshole looking for racism’ and ‘with a chip on her shoulder.’ So much anger and misunderstanding. I didn’t participate in the forum, just observed, but it reminded me of why I need to continue doing this work, despite my fellowship funding not being renewed for 2011-2012 academic year. This of course is not the first time I’ve seen such hate and anger towards the work I do. When I decided to engage in a discursive analysis of Skinny Bitch and show how it’s an example of normative whiteness, a white identified female vegan posted, “Get over your black self and just be human for a day” last year. And there was a complete Veganporn discussion, back in 2006, dedicated to why my Sistah Vegan anthology proposal was basically ridiculous. Some white identified folk didn’t know why it was important to consider race and gender within vegan culture in the USA; others were disgusted by my use of the word ‘sistah’ versus the ‘proper’ Standard English word of ‘sister.’ I didn’t participate in the forum, just observed and ended up writing an award-winning Master’s thesis during my graduate studies at Harvard University in 2007. A portion of this was recently published in an academic volume, chapter titled: “Veganporn.com & ‘Sistah’: Explorations of Whiteness through Textual Linguistic Cyberminstrelsy on the Internet.” Click here for more details: http://www.igi-global.com/bookstore/chapter.aspx?titleid=53775

If my work has benefited you, or you have enjoyed watching my health advice over the past few years, I’m wondering if you can return a favor. Please see the video below:

In this video I am asking for your help. My fellowship to pursue critical race and critical vegan studies at the doctoral level was not renewed for 2011-2012, through University of California, Davis. I would like to finish my PhD and need some help.

I know the goal may seem overwhelming, but I have about a combined support network/friends/followers of 1000 people (through Facebook, blog subscribers, and Twitter followers). If you could spare $10 to $25 a piece, then this goal could be met I think.

Paypal email donation: breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com or go to the right side top of the screen and click on donation link.

UPDATE: As of June 9, 2011:

Donated: $1970

Needed for completion of goal: $8,030

Deadline: September 2011 (so I Can register for 2011-2012 academic year)

Other creative ways to help would be to buy a personalized signed copy of Sistah Vegan book directly from me if you don’t already have a copy or want to give it as a gift. Click on the image of the book on the right if you want to do that.

I also had one person ask if they can pay me to speak to their social justice group, via video Skype, for an hour. They agreed to pay me to do that, so that is another possibility.

I’m also open to doing paid talks and lectures that are no more than a 2 hour drive from where I live. Could fly out if I were not in my 3rd trimester, but driving there is still an option.

If you’re asking the question, “Why should I fund this woman? What has she done?” Please refer to my CV so you can see the type of person you are investing in and how ‘productive’ she can be 🙂
http://web.mac.com/sistahvegan98/research/Curriculum_Vitae.html

0 thoughts on “"Angry asshole looking for racism with a chip on her shoulder": Interpretations of Sistah Vegan Project

  1. Hey Breeze! What small minded jerks! You’re expecting? Oops I didn’t know! Congrats! Praying for your continued success 🙂

    1. Jewel, my belly is exploding in my videos! No ? Many folk have told me they are surprised to hear that I’m pregnant and said they can’t ‘see’ it in the videos. Funny, because I feel like I’m about to explode!

      I don’t really refer to people who are angry with me in negative words. I just ignore and observe and use their negativity as examples of how ‘whiteness operates’. Thanks for reading and checking in!

      hugs,
      Breeze

    2. Jewel, my belly is exploding in my videos! No ? Many folk have told me they are surprised to hear that I’m pregnant and said they can’t ‘see’ it in the videos. Funny, because I feel like I’m about to explode!

      I don’t really refer to people who are angry with me in negative words. I just ignore and observe and use their negativity as examples of how ‘whiteness operates’. Thanks for reading and checking in!

      hugs,
      Breeze

  2. I find your work inspiring and far off the beaten path. Some ideas are painful to contemplate but necessary for our personal growth. Please continue your work. I have linked to your blog and hope this will spread your message (and perhaps help find backers for your work.) Best wishes, Maria

  3. Your work is VERY inspiring, yet confrontational. Like MariaG stated “It’s needed for personal Growth” which is imperative.

    I donated and will continue donating what I can each pay period cause I am a starving vegan artist. hahaha!
    Keep on pushing, obviously your doing something right to create all this fuss and receiving donations for towards your PHD. I believe your doing it not only for black/indigenous vegans, but for everyone to remain conscientious of what we are putting into our bodies.

  4. More and More I have seen the uncompassionate side of the “vegan” community over the last few months, so I can say i am not surprised. I am noticing, perhaps now because of more awareness than ever, the inconsistencies and hypocrisy that exists, especially in support of women of color in this space. I like supporting people who matter…and you matter. Will donate as soon as feasible.

    1. Yoli,

      I believe these hypocrisies exist in most ‘social justice’ groups dominated by the embodied experiences of the racial-class status quo, whether it is veganism or 170 years ago when there were certain white abolitionists who still had very hypocritical ideas (hope that makes sense). I know it’s not all white middle class vegans that I encounter this with, but it is quite significant…

      1. Dear Breeze and Yoli,

        What I have noted, in the last few years of combining women’s, refugee and animal rights research and fights, is that it seems to be in human nature to have profound and inconsistent blind spots in ideology or philosophy. As a white woman of emerged middle class privilege I have experienced this blindness in myself via the dawning realisation of my own ignorance of the extent of the struggles faced by all manner of minorities in the community. It is threatening to be confronted with opinions or facts that challenge the moral highground of your position when your identity rests in a view of yourself as a compassionate and ethical person. People within communities of struggle may imagine that what is wrong is that other people do not believe as they do, but in reality it is our fear of the other and the unknown and our inability to see as others do that divides. Also, lots of people are really dumb, and vocal.

        Thankyou so much Breeze for your work in making these ideas and stories accessible and weaving threads between the struggles for rights for all life on earth. The optimist in me sees the eventual weeding out of bigotry and narrow mindedness with social evolution. The pragmatists sees this will take a LONG time.

        Rad love
        Lah.

  5. Hello Breeze,

    I always find it disappointing when so-called ‘vegans’ don’t care about intersectionality. Veganism is about ending animal exploitation. Humans are animals – even if they tend to forget it! Racism, fatphobia, sexism, human supremacism… are not details, on the contrary. Those issues need to be addressed by vegans. Otherwise veganism isn’t coherent, and cannot be taken seriously.

    Camille.

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