Even Vegans Die: A Quick Review from the Sistah Vegan Project

Overall, a fantastic and first of its kind to address the many myths and false promises of a vegan diet…. but from pro vegan authors who are well known in their fields. They call out the ableism, illness shaming, the fat shaming, and denial of death that thousands of vegans proselytize.

I love how they write things that address how of course Christie Brinkley looks “good”— but it is not because of a vegan diet. They note that it is because she is wealthy and can afford the money it takes to look that the conventionally “beautiful” (i.e., white, slim, clear skin, etc). Having the wealth and time to have fitness instructors, personal chefs, outstanding healthcare access, etc., are factors that contribute to one’s “good” or “healthy” appearance.

The authors also lay out how to treat vegans who are ill or even dying. They suggest supporting them and to not shame them. They ask readers to make sure they face death (their own) and get their legal affairs in check before they die. Also, it was great for them to tell the readers that when or if a vegan (but this could and should apply to all people, vegan or not) says they are ill, not to respond with, “Well have you tried [type in vegan based remedy]?” This is the best way to sound non supportive and judgmental to someone who is already suffering and overwhelmed due to illness or injury.

I would have appreciated more critical reflections on race , whiteness on the issues brought to light and how the authors own racial and class privileges affect their engagement with the myths of veganism. I also wanted to know who the assumed audience of vegans are … but authors can’t do everything and I understand this. They started the conversation with action plans and now it is up to the rest of those reading it to integrate it into their lives.

Overall, great read … You can buy this book by clicking on the image below:

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best known as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.


3 thoughts on “Even Vegans Die: A Quick Review from the Sistah Vegan Project

  1. I can’t wait to get this book. I pre-ordered it, so it should be here this weekend. Thank you for an honest critique about the omission of race as a part of the discussion. If we want to act as a community, we must continue to speak on the differences that are – even unintentionally – overlooked.
    Of course, I’m a fan of anything Carol J. Adams writes, as well.

  2. As creator of the Big Fat Vegan Zine I’m really looking forward to this; I would’ve liked to have seen a fat author commenting on the body/fat-shaming and health-trolling, etc., especially as Ginny has said some rather problematic things about weight in the past, but overall I have high hopes. Thanks for this review!

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