The Sistah Vegan Project

Archive for the category “Food Justice and Activism”

On Ferguson, Thug Kitchen, and Trayvon Martin: Intersections of [Post]Race-Consciousness, Food Justice, and Hip Hop Vegan Ethics

“On Ferguson, Thug Kitchen, and Trayvon Martin: Intersections of [Post]Race-Consciousness, Food Justice, and Hip Hop Vegan Ethics” is the title of the talk I will be giving at Middlebury College in Middlebury Vermont, October 22, 2014 for their food justice oriented conference.

Here is a snippet from the talk I am writing for the event. And, as usual, I video record all of my lectures and post them onto the blog. This lecture will hopefully be a chapter or section in my book I am doing crowdfunding for. My book is tentatively called “G’s Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix).   Also, I’m hoping to add Bryant Terry (Afro Vegan author) and Kevin Tillman (founder of Vegan Hip Hop Movement) perspectives on Thug Kitchen and Ferguson Riots in the lecture as well as book. Tillman and other vegans of color have helped to organize protests against Thug Kitchen book readings in California . Below is the excerpt from my lecture I am writing. Reminder, this is a work in progress and will change.

I [Breeze Harper] can understand how ‘thug’ can be triggering for thousands of Black people in the USA, in light of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown’s murders. Please understand, this is all within a USA context in which the term ‘thug’ as been racialized to mean ‘a threatening Black male who deserves preemptive strike against just for walking around while Black’ . This change in the social/racial meaning of ‘thug’ has happened within the past decade, with great significance. Many have argued, ‘thug’ is the PC way to call a Black male the n-word.

I can understand why the term, ‘thug’, can illicit such pain and suffering amongst a significant number of Black Americans who fear that their husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons will be perceived as ‘thugs’ by the White American imagination ensconced in centuries of negrophobia. In fear and anticipation, many of us Black identified folk in the USA wonder if our Black family members and friends will come back home that evening from school or work, alive. “He’s late? I hope an officer didn’t pull him over and shoot him. I hope he won’t end up like Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, or Michael Brown.” Critical race philosopher, George Yancy, has argued for years that one need not be consciously racist to still have deeply somatic fear of Black male bodies walking around in public space. As a matter of fact, many times it is dysconsious racism and somatic fear that drives ‘preemptive strikes’ against Black males (envisioned as dangerous ‘thugs’) by white institutions, white dominated districts, and white communities.

There are plenty of social science based books and articles that discuss the racialization of the word ‘thug’ in a Post-racial/Obama age. When reading about the controversy surrounding Thug Kitchen and how a group of vegans of color mobilized to shut the Bay Area reading down through protest,  maybe we can understand how this protest wasn’t some random anomaly; that it wasn’t really about Thug Kitchen at all. These protests are not single-issue and social phenomenon does not happen in a vacuum. Thug Kitchen and vegans of color protest is a microcosm that reflects the current racial climate in the USA. The book’s support and ‘post-racial’ comments by a significant number of mostly white people says a lot: it says “I don’t have the trauma of racialized and state violence against my body that Black people do( and other racial minorities do). Why should I care about the word ‘thug’ and the racially violent history and recent events (i.e. Oscar Grant and Michael Brown) that trails behind it? As a matter of fact, I don’t even have to realize that the term has been racialized and used against murder victims such as Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin to justify their deaths.”

To me, as a critical race feminist theorist, it makes absolute sense that one’s relationship/reaction to the word ‘thug’ will illicit different responses in the USA due to racialized embodied experiences. I do not agree that the book reading should have been canceled. It would have been wonderful if the protestors and authors could have agreed to have the book reading and then have an intersectional talk about why a significant number of vegans of color have found the use of thug problematic.  I think it would have been a wonderful opportunity to discuss these issues to try to build bridges and solidarity with anti-speciesist and anti-racist movements.

If you enjoyed this snippet, I hope you can attend if you are in the area. If you want to see the book this lectures reflects, come into existence, please support the project: “G’s Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix). 

If you would like Dr. A. Breeze Harper to come speak at your institution or organization or for your event, please contact her at sistahvegan@gmail.com and Subject Head it: “Inquiry on Speaking Availability and Fees”.  

Watching Slaughterhouse vs. Strawberry Harvest Videos: How Plant Harvesting is Often Romanticized as Cruelty-Free

I was on one of my FB sites dedicated to anti-speciesism. Someone posted this photo below.

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Source: Facebook

I do understand why they posted this.  But…

…I felt compelled to mention that strawberry harvesting, though not nearly as visually ‘gruesome’ and as directly ‘cruel’ as slaughtering non-human animals, does not mean that the harvesting of strawberries is cruelty-free (as applied to those of us who buy strawberries vs. those of us who have the ‘privilege’ of growing our own to pick). Thousands of human laborers, mostly brown people from what is considered Latin America, harvest strawberries (and many other vegetables and fruits) in cruel conditions. Being sprayed with pesticides, not having access to clean water and toilets, working for poverty level wages, etc are what a significant number of what these folk must go through. I don’t mean to throw a wrench in this image and text’s meanings, but I really think this is something I often see being elided within talks about how one’s conscious is more ‘clean’ by eating vegan diets of fruits and veggies in North America. Once again, I am not saying or equating the slaughter of non-human animals as the SAME as exploited and abused human farm laborers; both practices are disgusting and cause a lot of pain and suffering. However, I just want to point out that the former (non human animal slaughter) is always made visible amongst the vegan mainstream in the USA, while the latter (harvesting strawberries or other plants for human consumption under horrible and insufferable conditions) is painted as something one need not think deeply about [since non-human animals weren't directly harmed].

Here is a book that can help us think more about not getting swept up in what looks like an ‘easy’ binary to make. The cover has a laborer picking strawberries. Click on the title to learn more:

The Food Empowerment Project, a pro-vegan organization, also advocates more awareness around the human cruelty endured by farm laborers.   Lauren Ornelas, ED of the Food Empowerment Project,  discusses these issues in this video below:

Enjoy this article? See what Dr. Harper is doing for her next book project and how you help fund it. Click below.

gofundme

Foraging in my neighborhood: is it a privilege?

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I like to forage while I walk from home to get the kids from nursery school. I push them back up the hill in our double stroller and it takes 80-90 minutes. On the way, we eat herbs and fruit that grow every where. Plums, Meyer lemons, figs, blackberries, rosemary, and lemon verbena to name a few.

Yesterday I passed by a beautiful bush with clear purple berries. See photo above. Do you know what it is?

Is foraging a privilege or not? I feel like it is for me, for the most part. I live in North Berkeley. Most people who have a house here can afford a little land and have it landscaped professionally. For the renters of apartments and homes, the landlords do the same to the land. They have edible plants planted, but it seems more aesthetic than to eat for these residents. Why do I think this? The fruit usually ends up falling to the ground and rotting. So, this waste bothers me, so I try collect as much as I can, while walking down the sidewalk. If it’s on an apartment building complex, I do the same. I make sure that I’m picking from plants in which it is obvious no one cares to use or harvest it. If residents don’t want passerbys forage, they post signs stating that and I respect those wishes. At the same time, I try to be careful of how I forage and where. I know many may not want to hear this, but as a visibly Black person, I try to make sure when it is appropriate to forage. My area doesn’t have many Black folk and I worry that I may be read as ‘stealing’ or ‘trespassing’ when I forage, vs. when, say, white looking people do. I am acutely aware that whenever someone is arrested in the area for home break ins, I see the cops arresting a Black person 90% of the time. Again, I wonder what this does to the perception of the non Black residents who live there. Just some food for thought…

I also think about whether or not there is a connection to rises or declines in urban foraging to gentrification happening in the SF Bay area. Anyone have a take on that?

Also, do you forage? If so, why or why not? Like how I write? Wanna support more? Check out my 3rd book project about Black male vegan heroes: gofundme

 

 

[Dollar] Green Capitalism?: Starbucks, Oprah, and Educational Access in a Cup of Organic Chai

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I just left Seattle the morning of May 9 2014. While at the SEATAC airport, I spotted this advertisement. This is what I thought when I first saw the photo:

Once again, buying objects as a way towards social Justice, within a capitalist moral economy, seems contradictory. As if all you need to do is ‘buy’ your way into a cleaner conscious, through the site of Starbucks; an entity that sources ingredients from largely global South regions through methods that are mostly not fair trade.

So, Starbucks, tell me this: how does one extrapolate resources from certain regions of the world in an unethical manner, and then put up campaigns above that ensure patrons that whenever they buy this Oprah approved product, it goes towards creating better educational access for vulnerable populations? Am I missing something here?

Only 10 percent of the coffee Starbucks sells is Fair Trade Certified. As the largest buyer of coffee beans in the world, it seems like they should probably be trying a lot harder. After all, I am pretty sure that the people working under unequal conditions to harvest coffee beans for Starbucks most likely do not have educational opportunities that allow their communities to thrive, as well as not be so dependent on “green” capitalism.

Just my two cents.

[VIDEO] “What’s Sustainable?” Vegan and Vegetarian Black Men of Hip Hop Tell It Like it Is

 

Title: “What’s Sustainable?” Vegan&Vegetarian Black Men of Hip Hop Tell It Like it Is

Description: My talk I gave at Pacific Lutheran University on May 8, 2014 in Washington. I look at DJ Cavem, Bryant Terry, and Ashel Eldridge. Please note that my battery ran out about 10 minutes before the talk ended. This is the beginning stages of a book I am working out. It is very ‘introductory’ and I know I still have a lot more work to do. Below are the pivotal questions I am trying to answer.

  • How are black men of the hip hop generation responding to living in a nation in which structural racism, negro-phobia, speciesism, and white supremacist based moral system have been the norm since colonialism?
  • How does the Black vegan Hip Hop movement offer different ways of consuming, as well as being a ‘real’ man, from race-conscious, decolonial, eco-sustainable, and anti-specieist points of view?
  • How do prominent Black male Hip Hop vegans use Hip Hop to teach how food and health have been negatively shaped by corporate capitalism and a meat-centered industrialized food system?

“Real G’s Got Hoes”: Veganism, Black Masculinity, and Ethical Consumption(The Remix)

Here is the video to my latest talk I gave at Oberlin College a few days ago, “G’s Up Hoes Down”: Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption: The Remix. Just note that am one of the rare Black folk who didn’t grow up listening to a lot of hip hop or being engaged with hip hop culture to a significant degree in the USA. I was raised in an all white and rural working class New England town Lebanon, Connecticut. I listened to classical music from European and American USA traditions (my twin was much ‘cooler’ and he listened to hip hop and rap). Hence,  there is a lot I need to learn more about Hip Hop as I continued this much needed research. You also should know that this is the beginning stages of my book research and talks on this. What does that mean? Much will change, including my analysis and how I ‘understand’ what is going on with these men’s fabulous work as I work towards finishing this project by 2016. Enjoy.

[Video] Scars of Suffering and Healing: A Black Feminist Perspective on Intersections of Oppression

This is the talk I gave at the Activist’s Table Conference, which took place at UC Berkeley on March 15, 2014. It was sponsored by the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. I talk about Sistah Vegan and also read from and analyze my newest book, Scars, a social fiction that intersects issues of racism, internalized homophobia, and speciesism to name a few. This is my first public presentation of my new book and reading excerpts from the much anticipated novel.

In addition, check out the graffiti on the wall of the bathroom stall that was right down the hall from where I gave my talk. Perfect timing!

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Breeze Harper is a Bitch…

Breeze Harper is a Bitch Magazine interviewee, that is! Hey the title made you click :-)

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If you like Bitch Magazine, I just wanted to let you know that I am in the latest Food issue for this month. I have a VERY long interview in the magazine. I talk about Sistah Vegan Project, decolonial food politics, critical whiteness issues, animal compassion and more.

It was a lovely interview with Vera Chang. Her set of questions were one of the best, well-thought out, and critical inquiries into the Sistah Vegan Project that I have ever experienced during an interview. You can go here to check out the latest issue. People can download the digital copy or the paper copy. Also, Bitch Magazine is sold in a lot of stores throughout the USA.

[Event] Issue in Focus: The Chocolate Industry

The last chapter of my dissertation is about the work Food Empowerment Project is doing against slavery in the cocoa industry. They are having a special event on November 9th. It’s in the Northern California Area. Hope you can make it.  The info is below.

Issue in Focus: The Chocolate Industry

Date: Saturday, November 9th

TimeL 6:00pm until 9:00pm in PST

· Come join the Food Empowerment Project for our first ever public event. We will be in the heart of the Mission showing two short films:

The Dark Side of Chocolate
and
The Shady Side of Chocolate

We will have raffles, food, and beverages as well as a Q&A and short video about cows in the dairy industry.

Additionally, we will be using this as a chance to gather donations for a local food bank.

(http://www.foodispower.org/donating-food-takes-thought/)

We are asking for a suggested donation: $10 for general public, and $5 for students.
(Nobody will be turned away for lack of funds – or for donating more!)

https://www.facebook.com/events/401769233284203/

 Contact:

lauren Ornelas
Founder/Executive Director
Food Empowerment Project
P.O. Box 7322
Cotati, CA 94931
530.848.4021
www.foodispower.org
www.veganmexicanfood.com

Because your food choices can change the world

About 1.8 million children toil in West Africa’s chocolate industry, where they may be exposed to the worst forms of child labor, including hazardous work and slavery. Please sign the petition asking Clif Bar to disclose where they get their cocoa beans

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/229/288/148/

Please watch Blackfish and encourage others to see it on CNN, October 24th: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/12/showbiz/movies/blackfish-documentary-exclusive-clip

 

Revisioning Food Sovereignty: “Trayvon Martin, PETA, and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness” [Scripps College, Sept 25 2013]

On September 25, 2013 I gave a lecture at Scripps College in Ontario, California: “Trayvon Martin, PETA&The Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness”. Below is the video recording for those who could not attend. It’s part of their Humanities Institute Fall 2013 symposium on Food.

Part I

Part II

I want to thanks Scripps College for inviting me to speak. I had an amazing time and they were very mindful of my needs and making sure I got what I needed (i.e. transportation from the airport and food, food, food, as at this point being 34 weeks pregnant, I’m an ravenous! LOL) .

If you would like to invite me to come speak at your organization, institution, or similar, please contact me at sistahvegan(at) gmail(dot) com. Also, if you enjoyed the content of what I spoke about during this Scripps College talk, feel free to check out the Sistah Vegan Web Conference that took place on September 14, 2013. The entire 8 hours was recorded. You can click here to see what speaker line-up and the talks that were given.

ScrippsFlyer Breeze Harper

Here is the poster of the advertised talk above and also a blog piece you can read that I wrote. Toward the end of the blog posting, I share my mother’s ‘fears’ of me talking about whiteness and jeopardizing my safety; this occurred after I shared the news that I was going to give my talk at Scripps and told her the title and content of it.

Engaging with the idea that interrogations of race, gender, and whiteness in veganism is not pointless: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Conference

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(Photo of Dr. A. Breeze Harper)

The Sistah Vegan Web Conference took place on September 14, 2013. It was titled “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.” (What, you missed the conference!? No worries, the entire conference was recorded and you can purchase the recordings by clicking on ‘CLICK HERE TO REGISTER’ on the conference page. Even though the conference has ended, clicking on this link will send you to the recordings purchase page: Sistah Vegan Conference Recordings)

It was a terrific 8 hours. Here is a small taste of what we learned, talked about, and shared:

  • How veganism was healing for Black women’s reproductive health
  • Black women, veganism, and the challenges of sizeism
  • Patriarchy as problematic in the USA animal liberation movement
  • PETA’s racialized-sexualized uses of the female body to promote ‘going vegan’ for animals;
  • How the ‘white savior complex’ complicates and causes stress for Black women within certain USA vegan and yoga community spaces
  • The politics of industrialized and processed baby food and creating an indigenous vegan womb ecology
  • The ways in which the Sistah Vegan Anthology motivated so many of us to chose the path of veganism

I think that this conference is very important for a significant number of people interested in critical studies of food, critical studies of animals, and/or Black studies. However, I really suggest this conference to the significant number of ‘post-racial’ (almost always white identified human beings) people who continue to contact me with clear anger (whether it is direct or passive-aggressive) that they can’t believe that I am bringing up how race, gender, and whiteness influence vegan practice, rationale, and consciousness. And such messages arrive on comments sections of my blog, FB pages, or my personal email box with the confession by most that they have never read anything about critical studies of race, black feminist theory, or critical whiteness studies– but they are CONFIDENT and CERTAIN that issues of race, gender, and whiteness have no place to be interrogated within the realm of veganism. They may not recognize this, but this is called white entitlement when they approach me in this manner. It is an act of discursive violence and it is the perfect example of how whiteness, as a system of communication and rhetoric, operates. This method of communication is simply not harmonious, not healing, and is the antithesis of non-violence (ahimsa) that veganism embodies for so many of us.

I simply offer that if folk with the above communication behavior want to have a sincere and open discussion about the “point” of the web conference, Sistah Vegan anthology, and my other social science based research, that they start with listening to the Sistah Vegan conference; maybe reading the Sistah Vegan Anthology, and also reading my masters and dissertation work which clearly articulate the relevance and importance of engaging with critical race, black feminist, decolonial, and critical whiteness studies within veganism in the USA. I assure you, both Harvard (my Masters work) and University of California (my dissertation work) would not have been passed me if I had not properly used social-science based research and rigorous methods and methodological approaches to my intersectional work on veganism, culture, and systemic oppression. I would not have received the coveted Dean’s award from Harvard for my Masters thesis work (only given to one candidate per department) and nor would have I received a 2 year fellowship to complete my PhD work from University of California, if the deciding committees at both institutions had determined that my academic inquiries into veganism were ‘pointless’ or ‘race-baiting’ (as many of [mis]interpreted). Please email me at sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to receive citations and/or copies of my published works, thesis, and/or dissertation to get you started. With that said….

Thanks so much to everyone for making this an incredibly awesome event. I look forward to next year’s!

If you participated in the event and/or listened to the recordings, please post to this blog how you felt about conference, what you learned, what you may have had difficulty with, what was surprising to you, etc.

[Video] Keynote Talk: Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: Why Vegan Healing is Crucial for Racial [Trauma] Healing

I gave a keynote talk at 330pm in Toronto on Sept 8 , 2013 at 330 pm for the 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto. It was called “Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: Why Vegan Healing is Crucial for Racial [Trauma] Healing.”  This was not vegan proselytizing, but rather, a way to show how I use critical race, critical animal, and critical food studies as methods to talk about how systemic racism and capitalism affect health and wellness.

Overall, the festival was an amazing experience. I truly appreciated the openness of the audience of my lecture, the diversity of faces, and the interactive discussion and Q&A session at the end. And yes, I will admit that it is less stressful to be in an environment in which so many people already have a critical race literacy for a post 2000 era that does not deny that systemic racism is still a major impediment to health, happiness, and wellness for many non-white people living in white settler nations.

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Karine’s restaurant where I had brunch to energize me before walking to the festival. I had her decadent vegan breakfast. Here is the photo below.

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Also…
Vine Sanctuary and T.O.F.U. Magazine are our newest conference sponsors for the Sistah Vegan Conference coming up in a few days. Their sponsorship makes it possible for me to offer 10 need based partial-scholarships which covers 50% of the registration fee for the Sistah Vegan Web Conference. The web conference takes place September 14, 2013 from 10am-6pm PST. It is titled “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies.”

If you would like to be considered for one of these partial scholarships, please fill out the quick application form below by 11:59pm PST, September 12, 2013. You will be notified September 13 if you received the scholarship.

Updated: Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies

(Updated with times for each presentation)

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1st Annual Sistah Vegan Conference

“Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

Date: September 14, 2013

Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA)

Location: Web Conference Using Anymeeting.com. This means the location is on the Internet, accessible by computer or telephone. 

Registration $45.00

Conference Recordings: The entire conference will be recorded and downloadable 24-48 hours after the event. Those who have already paid for the LIVE conference viewing will have access to the recordings. However, if you simply want to purchase the recordings, that option is available for $25.99. However, this option will not be available until the recordings have been processed. Hence, you cannot register to download the recordings until 24-48 hours after the event.

Please note that anyone can register as an audience member to learn about the critical and embodied perspectives of women of color vegans. Anyone can register as an audience member . One need not identify as a girl/woman/womyn/trans vegan of color to participate. This is open to all.

Click here to register

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SPEAKER LINE UP AND SCHEDULE

(PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A TENTATIVE SCHEDULE AND THAT IT COULD POTENTIALLY CHANGE)

10:00 AM PST

Introduction: How Veganism is a Critical Entry Point to Discuss Social, Animal, and Environmental Justice Issues for Black Women and Allies. 
Speaker: TBD
Length: 10 minutes

In this introduction to kick off the conference, the speaker will introduce how the concept of veganism can shed light on critical issues effecting Black girls and women in the USA. She will explain how veganism, as both method and philosophy, is an often overlooked perspective in a USA society that has normalized the exploitation and abuse of racialized minorities such as Black females, as well as the normalization of violence against the environment and non human animals used for human edification. This talk will be an introductory segue into the scheduled talks and discussions. It should hopefully open up innovative ideas by intersecting veganism, health activism, food politics, animal compassion, and anti racism into the lives of Black women and our allies. In addition, the speaker will introduce what is means to be an “ally” in the context of the Sistah Vegan Project.

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10:15 AM PST

Keynote Talk: How Whiteness and Patriarchy Hurt Animals

Anastasia Yarbrough

Inner Activism Services

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: In the animal rights movement, racism and sexism are treated primarily as separate forces comparable to but not wholly relevant to animal protection, with the exception of leftist pockets inspired by ecofeminist animal liberation thought, the Animal Liberation Front and other direct action groups, and the emerging Critical Animal Studies.  As recent as the 2013 Animal Rights Conference, the “mainstream” animal rights movement tends to treat anti-racist, anti-sexist movements as struggles of the past that inform the new frontier social justice movement that is animal rights.  However, the goal of this talk is not to argue how and why this tokenizing is a problem.  Instead, my focus is to spark a dialogue on how white supremacy and patriarchy directly impact the animals we’re striving to help and protect, thus giving further relevance in the animal rights movement to become more conscious of how racism and sexism operate in society.  As a black woman who is also a long-time activist for animal liberation and justice, I have the unique position to see these intersections and notice that human violence towards animals is rarely ever lacking color or gender, nor is it always simple to tease apart from systemic issues like racism and sexism. Therefore, I hope that this talk can serve as a useful and engaging spark that is relevant not just to animal rights activists but also to social justice activists who are just beginning to consider animals.

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10:50 AM PST

Presentation Title: PETA and the Trope of “Activism”: Naturalizing Postfeminism and Postrace Attitudes through Sexualized Bodied Protests

Aphrodite Kocięda

University of South Florida

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: For this presentation, I will explore PETA’s marketing campaigns that use the trope of “activism”, couched in vegan and anti-animal cruelty rhetoric, to naturalize postfeminist ideas and postrace attitudes about women’s bodies. In this postfeminist space, attaining a white sexy body becomes activist work. For PETA, the ethical aims of the vegan diet (is purported to) coincide with attaining a particular type of femininity that excludes women of color. Women of color are only strategically used in their campaigns as authentic signifiers of “diversity”  where the white framework remains undisturbed. PETA uses “activist” rhetoric in their ads to bolster and naturalize the postfeminist and postrace ideas inherent in their logic.

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11:25 AM PST

Presentation Title: An Embodied Perspective on Redefining Healthy in a Cultural Context and Examining the Role of Sizeism in the Black Vegan Woman Paradigm

Nicola Norman, B.S. Nutritional Science

Baltimore, MD

Length: 30 minutes

This presentation takes a look at sizeism and how it affects attitudes in the Black community and the mainstream towards Black Vegan Women. Body Mass Indexes calibrated to white norms contribute to producing stigmas and increasing challenges to women whose bodies seem to exist at the intersection of social and cultural pressures/expectations. How big our hips, buttocks, and thighs are, are constantly being put under a microscope by family, friends, community, and the bigger society that we live in. This may be affecting Black women on the fence about trying veganism for its health benefits or deter them already due to these pressurized standards. Black vegan women of all sizes are often chastised for not meeting those standards. Black female bodies are very commonly exoticized in society.  I will give examples of this and look at how sizeism is many times at the crux of this. Lastly, I will offer suggestions on how to combat the challenges of sizeism within mainstream vegan rhetoric in the USA.

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Break 12:00 PM PST

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12:25 PM PST

Presentation Title: Cosmetic Marginalization: Status, Access and Vegan Beauty Lessons from our Foremothers

Pilar Harris

Pilar in Motion (pilarinmotion.com)

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: The terms ‘Vegan’ and ‘Cruelty Free’ are labels that help lend integrity to commercially produced cosmetics. Yet these labels may also be used for marketing purposes, particularly in campaigns not created with black identified women as the intended target consumer. Although the internet has largely transformed access to cosmetic products labeled ‘Vegan’, there exists a degree of status and exclusivity in terms of the price point and distribution of these products, so that many black identified women remain marginalized. These products include body care, makeup and feminine hygiene items, the things we use daily and that are closer to our bodies than the clothing we wear. One option in taking a stance against cosmetic marginalization is to extract from our histories (personal, cultural and otherwise) the beauty lessons that were intended to nourish, protect and cleanse our bodies long before they could be known as ‘Vegan’.

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1:00 PM PST

Open Discussion: “Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became a Vegan”: Girls and Women of African Descent Share Their Reasons for Choosing Veganism

Length: 45 minutes

During this hour long moderated and open discussion, Black girls and women will share their reasons for choosing veganism. If you would like to participate, email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com to secure your space to speak. Space is limited to about 8 storytellers. You will have about 5-7 minutes to share your journey.

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1:50 PM PST

Keynote Talk : “Midwifery, Medicine and Baby Food Politics: Underground Feminisms and Indigenous Plant-based Foodways and Nutrition”

Length: 35 minutes (25 minute talk, 15 minute Q and A)

Claudia Serrato

University of Washington

Doctoral Student of Sociocultural Anthropology

www.claudiaserrato.info

During this decolonial era, Indigenous midwifery in East Los Angeles despite the several attempts to dismantle this ancestral practice along with their Indigenous plant based nutritional advice thrives as the alterNative to biomedicine. The Indigenous foodways and nutritional ways of knowing guided by these midwives is critical in restoring or decolonizing pregnancy, birthing, feeding experiences and most importantly health. In placing the decolonial present into perspective, a herstoricalfeminist narrative of early Los Angeles, midwifery, medicine, law, and the baby food industry discloses a critical dimension of the colonial matrix of power, which has neglectedly been overlooked in determining changes in diet, health, and birthing. In recovering Indigenous foodways and nutrition, underground feminist practices in the urban ethnoscape of Los Angeles restores womb and taste healing memories.

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2:30 PM PST

Presentation Title: Constructing a Resource Beyond Parenting as a Black Vegan: Discussing Geography and Theology and Their Contradictions Within

Candace M. Laughinghouse

Regent University, PhD Candidate (Theology of Animals)

 Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: Surprisingly, I receive more support from non-blacks when it comes to parenting as a black vegan. Within the black community, I am guaranteed heavy doses of skepticism and defensive responses if I choose to reveal that my children have never ingested a hot dog, hamburger, bacon, and chicken!  But beyond parenting as a black vegan are the challenges that relate to geography, theology, and even my own appearance. The Sistah vegan movement (as I like to call it) is inspiring as I pursue a doctoral degree in theology of animals and the effects on black theology. As a parent, my job is to protect my children and teach them the road to fulfillment in life involves education, using their talents, and compassion for all sentient beings.  I want to present the above topics as many black parents have a theological foundation that can be seen as contradictory to being vegan.

____________________________________________ 

3:05 PM PST

Panel DiscussionYoga for the Stress Free Soul Sista

And Radical Self-Care Teaching: Exploring Privilege in Yoga & Veganism for Girls of Color

with Sari Leigh

Anacostia Yogi www.anacostiayogi.com

and

Kayla Bitten

Length: 50 minutes (40 minute discussion; 10 minutes Q&A)

Abstract: Sari Leigh will give black women,  practical yoga tools to help resolve stressful home situations, past racial traumas, heartbreaks and reconnecting to spirit. Participants will learn the 15 second Mind Cleanse, A Soulful Flow yoga sequence and the revolutionary power of Mantra.  Kayla Bitten will address how, on a daily basis, we people of color continue to reap the oppressive consequences of a society who refuses to see us as part of the movement to a society of innovative development and solidarity. Working with young girls and women, Kayla has witnessed first hand the effects of a society whose racist and misogynistic views has stifled them; stifled them in a way that has them questioning their worth, pushing them to participate in harmful ways of nourishment both physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and their all around position as a young girls of color living in America. Advocating ways to engage in radical self love and care is an important practice that Kayla teaches these promising young girls. She achieves this through eating habits and yoga, but she also continues to realize the lack of representation in an area where engaging in such self care is considered ‘for white people only’ (or westernized to an unnoticeable position), blatantly financially unattainable, not having the access, or being taught by those who do not have an ‘all inclusive’ work ethic. Kayla will discuss how we can began to help young girls learn and unlearn ways to decolonize and resist through acts of self care such as accessibility to spaces where we can learn about vegan/vegetarianism/ healthy eating (and ultimately how to create our own spaces where these resources can be attainable) and yoga.

_________________________________

Break 4:00 pm PST

_________________________________

4:20 PM PST

Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology

Moderator: Dr. A. Breeze Harper (tenative)

Length:  35 minutes

In 2010, Lantern Books published Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society. It was the first book of its kind to centralize the Black female vegan experience in the USA. Regardless of racial or ethnic identity, all are invited to openly dialogue about how Sistah Vegan anthology, as well as the Sistah Vegan Blog, affected their lives. How did you end up with the book? What chapters stood out for you? Did you give the book to a friend or family? Do you teach with the book? What would you like to see in the second volume? Email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to participate. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot.

___________________

5:00 PM PST

End of Conference Keynote Address:

Is Black Decolonization Possible in a Moral Economy of Neoliberal Whiteness? How USA Black Vegan Liberation Rhetoric Often Perpetuates Tenets of Colonial Whiteness 

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Research Fellow

Department of Human Ecology, Community and Regional Development

University of California Davis

Length: 60 minutes (45 minute presentation; 15 minute Q&A) 

Abstract:   For this concluding keynote, I analyze the food that a popular Black vegan guru promotes in order to ‘purify’, ‘decolonize,’ and ‘liberate’ Black Americans from legacies of colonialism and racism. First, through an Afrocentric framework, I show how this Afrocentric philosopher resists anti-black conceptualizations of Black women as “unfeminine” and “breeders.” Such a stance is empowering and a declaration of anti-racism against the mainstream USA narrative that Black women and girls are disposable and worthless. After this analysis, I use Black feminist theorizing to explore how the meanings this famous health activist places on particular vegan commodities, unconsciously reproduces heterosexist, ableist, and black middle-class ‘reformist’ conceptualizations of a ‘healthy’ Black nation. Lastly, I explore how USA Black vegan consumer activism may often be at the expense of oppressing other vulnerable communities (i.e. how certain Black liberation empowering super-foods come to us because of economic policies embedded in neoliberal whiteness).  If we engage in vegan consumerism without regard for how our vegan commodities get to us (i.e. sweatshops, child slavery, displacement of indigenous communities) what does this truly mean in terms of liberation, as well at the limits of decolonization within a USA capitalist moral economy?

Registration Fee:  $45.00

Click here to register

I ask for a registration fee to pay speakers, pay for webinar service, and also to fund the Sistah Vegan project to become a non-profit organization. Go here to learn more about that.

Sistah Vegan Conference: Updated Speaker Schedule and Early Bird Registration

 

 Click on Book to purchase a signed copy

1st Annual Sistah Vegan Web Conference

“Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

Date: September 14, 2013

Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA)

Location: Web Conference Using Anymeeting.com. This means the location is on the Internet, accessible by computer or telephone. 

Please go here to the official Sistah Vegan Conference Page to See Speaker Line-up and to Register

 

Register for the Sistah Vegan Conference: “Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women”

(Tentative Presentation and Discussion Line-Up)

Please note that anyone can register as an audience member to learn about the critical and embodied perspectives of women of color vegans. One need not identify as a woman of color

Click on Book to purchase a signed copy

1st Annual Sistah Vegan Conference

“Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies”

September 14, 2013

Location: Web Conference Using Anymeeting.com. This means the location is on the Internet, accessible by computer or telephone. 

Time: 10:00am-6:00pm PST (USA)

Early Bird Registration Fee: $35.00 until August 15, 2013. After August 15, it will be $45.00

Click here to register

——————— 

Introduction: How Veganism is a Critical Entry Point to Discuss Social, Animal, and Environmental Justice Issues for Black Women and Allies.
Speaker: TBD
Length: 10 minutes

In this introduction to kick off the conference, the speaker will introduce how the concept of veganism can shed light on critical issues effecting Black girls and women in the USA. She will explain how veganism, as both method and philosophy, is an often overlooked perspective in a USA society that has normalized the exploitation and abuse of racialized minorities such as Black females, as well as the normalization of violence against the environment and non human animals used for human edification. This talk will be an introductory segue into the scheduled talks and discussions. It should hopefully open up innovative ideas by intersecting veganism, health activism, food politics, animal compassion, and anti racism into the lives of Black women and our allies. In addition, the speaker will introduce what is means to be an “ally” in the context of the Sistah Vegan Project.

——————————————–

Keynote Talk: How Whiteness and Patriarchy Hurt Animals

Anastasia Yarbrough

Inner Activism Services

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: In the animal rights movement, racism and sexism are treated primarily as separate forces comparable to but not wholly relevant to animal protection, with the exception of leftist pockets inspired by ecofeminist animal liberation thought, the Animal Liberation Front and other direct action groups, and the emerging Critical Animal Studies.  As recent as the 2013 Animal Rights Conference, the “mainstream” animal rights movement tends to treat anti-racist, anti-sexist movements as struggles of the past that inform the new frontier social justice movement that is animal rights.  However, the goal of this talk is not to argue how and why this tokenizing is a problem.  Instead, my focus is to spark a dialogue on how white supremacy and patriarchy directly impact the animals we’re striving to help and protect, thus giving further relevance in the animal rights movement to become more conscious of how racism and sexism operate in society.  As a black woman who is also a long-time activist for animal liberation and justice, I have the unique position to see these intersections and notice that human violence towards animals is rarely ever lacking color or gender, nor is it always simple to tease apart from systemic issues like racism and sexism. Therefore, I hope that this talk can serve as a useful and engaging spark that is relevant not just to animal rights activists but also to social justice activists who are just beginning to consider animals.

____________________________________________ 

Presentation Title: PETA and the Trope of “Activism”: Naturalizing Postfeminism and Postrace Attitudes through Sexualized Bodied Protests

Aphrodite Kocięda

University of South Florida

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: For this presentation, I will explore PETA’s marketing campaigns that use the trope of “activism”, couched in vegan and anti-animal cruelty rhetoric, to naturalize postfeminist ideas and postrace attitudes about women’s bodies. In this postfeminist space, attaining a white sexy body becomes activist work. For PETA, the ethical aims of the vegan diet (is purported to) coincide with attaining a particular type of femininity that excludes women of color. Women of color are only strategically used in their campaigns as authentic signifiers of “diversity”  where the white framework remains undisturbed. PETA uses “activist” rhetoric in their ads to bolster and naturalize the postfeminist and postrace ideas inherent in their logic.

_________________________

Presentation Title: An Embodied Perspective on Redefining Healthy in a Cultural Context and Examining the Role of Sizeism in the Black Vegan Woman Paradigm

Nicola Norman, B.S. Nutritional Science

Baltimore, MD

Length: 20 minutes; 10 minute Q&A

This presentation takes a look at sizeism and how it affects attitudes in the Black community and the mainstream towards Black Vegan Women. Body Mass Indexes calibrated to white norms contribute to producing stigmas and increasing challenges to women whose bodies seem to exist at the intersection of social and cultural pressures/expectations. How big our hips, buttocks, and thighs are, are constantly being put under a microscope by family, friends, community, and the bigger society that we live in. This may be affecting Black women on the fence about trying veganism for its health benefits or deter them already due to these pressurized standards. Black vegan women of all sizes are often chastised for not meeting those standards. Black female bodies are very commonly exoticized in society.  I will give examples of this and look at how sizeism is many times at the crux of this. Lastly, I will offer suggestions on how to combat the challenges of sizeism within mainstream vegan rhetoric in the USA.


____________________________________________ 

Presentation Title: Cosmetic Marginalization: Status, Access and Vegan Beauty Lessons from our Foremothers

Pilar Harris

Pilar in Motion (pilarinmotion.com)

Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: The terms ‘Vegan’ and ‘Cruelty Free’ are labels that help lend integrity to commercially produced cosmetics. Yet these labels may also be used for marketing purposes, particularly in campaigns not created with black identified women as the intended target consumer. Although the internet has largely transformed access to cosmetic products labeled ‘Vegan’, there exists a degree of status and exclusivity in terms of the price point and distribution of these products, so that many black identified women remain marginalized. These products include body care, makeup and feminine hygiene items, the things we use daily and that are closer to our bodies than the clothing we wear. One option in taking a stance against cosmetic marginalization is to extract from our histories (personal, cultural and otherwise) the beauty lessons that were intended to nourish, protect and cleanse our bodies long before they could be known as ‘Vegan’.

____________________________________________ 

Open Discussion: “Why I Relinquished the Gospel Bird and Became a Vegan”: Girls and Women of African Descent Share Their Reasons for Choosing Veganism

Length: 45 minutes

 During this hour long moderated and open discussion, Black girls and women will share their reasons for choosing veganism. If you would like to participate, email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com to secure your space to speak. Space is limited to about 8 storytellers. You will have about 5-7 minutes to share your journey.

____________________________________________ 

Keynote Talk : “Midwifery, Medicine and Baby Food Politics: Underground Feminisms and Indigenous Plant-based Foodways and Nutrition”

Length: 35 minutes (25 minute talk, 15 minute Q and A)

Claudia Serrato

University of Washington

Doctoral Student of Sociocultural Anthropology

http://www.claudiaserrato.info

During this decolonial era, Indigenous midwifery in East Los Angeles despite the several attempts to dismantle this ancestral practice along with their Indigenous plant based nutritional advice thrives as the alterNative to biomedicine. The Indigenous foodways and nutritional ways of knowing guided by these midwives is critical in restoring or decolonizing pregnancy, birthing, feeding experiences and most importantly health. In placing the decolonial present into perspective, a herstoricalfeminist narrative of early Los Angeles, midwifery, medicine, law, and the baby food industry discloses a critical dimension of the colonial matrix of power, which has neglectedly been overlooked in determining changes in diet, health, and birthing. In recovering Indigenous foodways and nutrition, underground feminist practices in the urban ethnoscape of Los Angeles restores womb and taste healing memories.

____________________________________________ 

Presentation Title: Constructing a Resource Beyond Parenting as a Black Vegan: Discussing Geography and Theology and Their Contradictions Within

Candace M. Laughinghouse

Regent University, PhD Candidate (Theology of Animals)

 Length: 30 minutes (20 minute presentation; 10 minute Q&A)

Abstract: Surprisingly, I receive more support from non-blacks when it comes to parenting as a black vegan. Within the black community, I am guaranteed heavy doses of skepticism and defensive responses if I choose to reveal that my children have never ingested a hot dog, hamburger, bacon, and chicken!  But beyond parenting as a black vegan are the challenges that relate to geography, theology, and even my own appearance. The Sistah vegan movement (as I like to call it) is inspiring as I pursue a doctoral degree in theology of animals and the effects on black theology. As a parent, my job is to protect my children and teach them the road to fulfillment in life involves education, using their talents, and compassion for all sentient beings.  I want to present the above topics as many black parents have a theological foundation that can be seen as contradictory to being vegan.

____________________________________________ 

Panel Discussion: Yoga for the Stress Free Soul Sista

And Radical Self-Care Teaching: Exploring Privilege in Yoga & Veganism for Girls of Color

with Sari Leigh

Anacostia Yogi www.anacostiayogi.com

and

Kayla Bitten

Length: 50 minutes (40 minute discussion; 10 minutes Q&A)

 

Abstract: Sari Leigh will give black women,  practical yoga tools to help resolve stressful home situations, past racial traumas, heartbreaks and reconnecting to spirit. Participants will learn the 15 second Mind Cleanse, A Soulful Flow yoga sequence and the revolutionary power of Mantra.  Kayla Bitten will address how, on a daily basis, we people of color continue to reap the oppressive consequences of a society who refuses to see us as part of the movement to a society of innovative development and solidarity. Working with young girls and women, Kayla has witnessed first hand the effects of a society whose racist and misogynistic views has stifled them; stifled them in a way that has them questioning their worth, pushing them to participate in harmful ways of nourishment both physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and their all around position as a young girls of color living in America. Advocating ways to engage in radical self love and care is an important practice that Kayla teaches these promising young girls. She achieves this through eating habits and yoga, but she also continues to realize the lack of representation in an area where engaging in such self care is considered ‘for white people only’ (or westernized to an unnoticeable position), blatantly financially unattainable, not having the access, or being taught by those who do not have an ‘all inclusive’ work ethic. Kayla will discuss how we can began to help young girls learn and unlearn ways to decolonize and resist through acts of self care such as accessibility to spaces where we can learn about vegan/vegetarianism/ healthy eating (and ultimately how to create our own spaces where these resources can be attainable) and yoga.

_________________________________

Open Discussion: Reflections on the Sistah Vegan Anthology

Moderator: Dr. A. Breeze Harper (tenative)

Length: 45 minutes

In 2010, Lantern Books published Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society. It was the first book of its kind to centralize the Black female vegan experience in the USA. Regardless of racial or ethnic identity, all are invited to openly dialogue about how Sistah Vegan anthology, as well as the Sistah Vegan Blog, affected their lives. How did you end up with the book? What chapters stood out for you? Did you give the book to a friend or family? Do you teach with the book? What would you like to see in the second volume? Email sistahvegan (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like to participate. Space is limited, so please reserve your spot.

 ___________________

End of Conference Keynote Address:

Is Black Decolonization Possible in a Moral Economy of Neoliberal Whiteness? How USA Black Vegan Liberation Rhetoric Often Perpetuates Tenets of Colonial Whiteness 

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Research Fellow

Department of Human Ecology, Community and Regional Development

University of California Davis

Length: 60 minutes (45 minute presentation; 15 minute Q&A) 

Abstract:   For this concluding keynote, I analyze the food that a popular Black vegan guru promotes in order to ‘purify’, ‘decolonize,’ and ‘liberate’ Black Americans from legacies of colonialism and racism. First, through an Afrocentric framework, I show how this Afrocentric philosopher resists anti-black conceptualizations of Black women as “unfeminine” and “breeders.” Such a stance is empowering and a declaration of anti-racism against the mainstream USA narrative that Black women and girls are disposable and worthless. After this analysis, I use Black feminist theorizing to explore how the meanings this famous health activist places on particular vegan commodities, unconsciously reproduces heterosexist, ableist, and black middle-class ‘reformist’ conceptualizations of a ‘healthy’ Black nation. Lastly, I explore how USA Black vegan consumer activism may often be at the expense of oppressing other vulnerable communities (i.e. how certain Black liberation empowering super-foods come to us because of economic policies embedded in neoliberal whiteness).  If we engage in vegan consumerism without regard for how our vegan commodities get to us (i.e. sweatshops, child slavery, displacement of indigenous communities) what does this truly mean in terms of liberation, as well at the limits of decolonization within a USA capitalist moral economy?

Early Bird Registration Fee: $35.00 until August 15, 2013. After August 15, it will be $45.00

Click here to register

I ask for a registration fee to pay speakers, pay for webinar service, and also to fund the Sistah Vegan project to become a non-profit organization. Go here to learn more about that.

On PETA, Trayvon Martin, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces

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The full title of this talk is actually “‘Never Be Silent’ and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness: On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and Being a Black Critical Race Researcher in White Spaces”. I just could’t fit the entire title in the WordPress title setup box.

I gave this talk on June 4, 2013 at University of California, Davis for the GGG Speaker Series. I critique the ‘cruelty-free’ products that PETA promotes in their Vegan Shopping Guide which is accessible online. I use critical race materialism and decolonial world-systems analysis to question how any commodity sold to us vegans as ‘cruelty-free’, can truly be ethical if it relies on human exploitation. For example, I speak about racialized-sexualized exploitation of indigenous Mexican females to harvest ‘cheap’ tomatoes for the Global North. I also question how PETA can support a plethora of cocoa products that are ‘free’ from animal-products, yet the cocoa from companies such as Nestle and Hershey source their cocoa using African Child slavery.

I examine PETA’s superficial use of Trayvon Martin’s murder as a way to ‘boost’ their animal liberation campaign, and argue that PETA falsely constructs Trayvon Martin’s tragedy as ‘true racism’ they are against. The problem is that PETA never engages a dialogue about the structural racism and coloniality that make the ‘cruelty-free’ vegan commodities they advocate, possible. It is contradictory to their ‘intersectional’ animal liberation campaign that asks people to “Never Be Silent” about injustices in the world.

At the end of this talk, I explain why I am ‘nervous’ and ‘out of breath”: because it is emotionally difficult for me, many times, to show up in a predominantly white space, as a black critical race feminist in a supposed ‘post-racial’ era, and talk about ‘whiteness’ and ‘white supremacy’ to a predominantly white audience.

I have to admit that the most notable memory from this experience was the first question I received during the Q&A. This question was from a white male who said he was completely unfamiliar with the Trayvon Martin incident. He asked that I provide him information about it. I do not expect everyone to know everything that is going on in the USA, but there is something to be said about the question about Trayvon Martin being asked. As a ‘survival’ rule, I personally need to be cognizant of racial profiling of us brown and black folk, here in the USA, so I stay up to date on these tragedies.

If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Animal Liberation, Tokenizing ‘Intersectionality’, and Resistance Ecology: Critical Race Perspectives

This is a video of the keynote address of Dr. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project and Lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project. We did an interactive keynote discussion format for the the Portland State University’s “Resistance Ecology” conference on June 1, 2013.

Did you enjoy this video?
If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Beyond a Single-Issue Vegan Social Justice Project: Going Big to Fund Critical Change

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My name is Dr. Amie Breeze Harper and I am the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project. (http://www.sistahvegan.com ) My birthday was yesterday, and my wish for this year is to transform the Sistah Vegan Project into a passion that sustains me spiritually as well as financially. I am going to take a bold, exciting, and awesome step and turn the Sistah Vegan Project into into an official non-profit organization; it would be my full-time work. What would we do? Here are a few goals:

  • Investigate and report how USA plant-based dietary philosophies and animal compassion are impacted by racial/ethnic experience.
  • Provide webinars and workshops that teach about plant-based dietary philosophies with special emphasis on cultural, racial, ethnic identity in the USA. For example, a workshop about becoming vegan that acknowledges the realities of how racial health disparities and environmental racism significantly impact food access and knowledge of low-income communities of color.
  • Publishing scientifically based online materials about plant-based nutrition and health for varying demographics, but in particular, pregnant and lactating girls and women.
  • Create yearly Sistah Vegan Healing Conference/Retreat for females of color and allies. This event would enable us to share knowledge and build our leadership skills around plant-based dietary philosophies, but rooted in anti-racism, decolonial activism, and animal compassion that reflect the collective needs of females of color.
  • Publish 2 seminal media projects that investigate alternative black masculinities within the sphere of vegan food politics:
    • Brotha Vegan! Black Male Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society. This would be an anthology collection similar to Sistah Vegan.
    • “Living Bling, Going Green”: Alternative Black Masculinities, Hip Hop Eco-Consciousness, and Decolonial Vegan Nutrition. This would be a social-science based book which will investigate how plant-based philosophies are being reshaped and reformulated by Black men of the hip hop generation. How do they engage pedagogies of hip-hop, educating and mobilizing people of color about health disparities, as well as environmental and institutional racism, and animal cruelty?
  • Create Android and Apple smartphone apps and media that help you make more informed decisions about food, health, social justice, and eco-sustainability.

I ask you for your help to make this non-profit possible. The primary resources I need are monetary and would be used for the following:

A Social Media Intern. I would be seeking the help of a part-time social media intern who knows how to use the latest social media apps. Duties would include promoting the book Sistah Vegan and notifying people about my new speaking events and blog posts. Ideally, I would want to pay this intern, but would need to do it through donations. This would be a tele-commuting position.

An Android and IOS 5 App Programming Intern. I would need funding for a smartphone app programming intern who can create apps and digital media for our organization.

Public Speaking and Events Coordinator Intern. The bulk of my income comes from speaking engagements in which I receive an honorarium. However, thus far, Sistah Vegan Project is a one woman show. I have two pre-school age children and inadequate child-care help and have only been able to secure several speaking gigs each year. I simply do not have enough time to take care of my babies and actively search and network the numerous possibilities out there for public speaking. What I need is an intern who can promote my work to universities, businesses, and non-profits, in a concise and creative way, so these organizations can hire me to talk about 2-3x month. Ideally, I would want to pay this intern, but would need to do it through donations. This would be a tele-commuting position.

Resources and Funding for Travel to Conferences and Workshops. Over the past few years, I have been unable to attend numerous conferences because of registration and travel fees associated with them; in addition, I would have had to leave my babies at home and pay for childcare (which is so expensive, I just opt to stay home). For example, I am hoping to be accepted to the Interrogating Critical Studies of Whiteness Conference at Trier University in Germany, which takes place this summer. However, the plane ticket alone during ‘high’ season for traveling is $1600. Conferences are spaces in which I can share the social justice research of the Sistah Vegan Project as well as learn about new ideas and methods to strengthen the work that I do. I see financial donations or plane miles to help with such expenses.
Visiting Scholar Fees. Because I was not offered any type of academic position this year, I no longer have access to resources of a university: office space, scholarly community collaboration, auditing classes, online library services, etc. I will be applying to be a ‘visiting scholar’ at several local universities in my area. What this means is that I will have the resources I need to do my Sistah Vegan Project work. However, I would have to pay the university about $500 in ‘fees’ to be a ‘visiting scholar’.
501 C 3 Non-Profit Status. For 2013, I want to turn Sistah Vegan Project into an official non-profit. Fees accompanied with this transition are about $350.
Board Members. Once we are an official non-profit, I will be inviting candidates to send me a CV and short cover letter about why they would like to be part of the board. I will be seeking about 4 or 5 board members. At this point, board members will be volunteer.
Technology Costs. From WordPress Pro, to Vimeo Plus, to Comcast Cable Internet subscription, to Cisco WebEx, the Sistah Vegan Project relies on internet technologies as our primary method of educational outreach. However, these technology services are pricey and we seek donations that can help cover these costs.
Peer Reviewed Journal. Lastly, I envision us releasing a Critical Race and Vegan Studies journal twice a year.My goal for this year is to raise $80,000. Originally I had stated $60,000, but I have updated our needs to include a smartphone app programmer. This fundraising goal would provide enough money so I can work on the Sistah Vegan Project at a salary that is equivalent to want I need to pay for day-care, my rent, utilities, student loans, food, etc, as well as offer modest compensation to part-time temporary interns. I have been doing this work for years, and as much as I enjoy it, I can no longer do it for free. If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below.

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On the Myth of Being a Strong Black Woman, Decolonizing Our Taste Buds, and Self-Care

Claudia Serrato (Left) and Dr. A. Breeze Harper (Right) at CAER, May 18 2013 discussing Women of Color, Food Justice, and Self-Care

Claudia Serrato (Left) and Dr. A. Breeze Harper (Right) at CAER, May 18 2013 discussing Women of Color, Food Justice, and Self-Care

This photo (and video of the lecture below) is from the women of color food justice and self-care panel. This took place at the Conference Against Environmental Racism at the University of Oregon-Eugene, on May 18 2013. The featured critical thinkers are Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project (on the right) and on the left is Decolonial Food For Thought blogger and PhD Student Claudia Serrato.  Claudia’s work is amazing. She is developing indigenous decolonial veganism as well as focusing on something called ‘womb ecology’, which you’ll hear more about during this talk. Also, at the beginning of the panel, Claudia explained that she brings her daughter with her everywhere and asks that everyone be open to sharing this space with her toddler. I find this really profound, as it is rare that women can do this and/or are allowed to do this in the USA. I also shared with the audience that I nurse on demand when my kids were really really young, so I would bring them to many of my conferences; I would even nurse on stage because that is a form of food justice that simply isn’t taken seriously. So, mad props to Claudia. 

Below is the video of our recorded panel talk. Get ready to hear about the psychic and nutritional consequences of subscribing to the “Strong Black Woman” syndrome, decolonizing our taste buds, and indigenous decolonial veganism that is not rooted in Eurocentric animal rights canon. I debut my new singing mantra about 7 minutes into the video. It is called “Strong Black Woman”.

If you enjoy these types of dialogues and want to keep on supporting the Sistah Vegan Project, feel free to donate what you can by clicking below on gofundme. You can find out all about our goal to turn the Sistah Vegan Project into an official 501 c 3 non-profit organization!

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“Never Be Silent”: On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness

 

Suck Less: A Snarky New Year’s Resolution

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I have a New Year’s resolution suggestion for vegans of the status quo in the USA:

SUCK LESS.

What does this entail? Well, this has a very long and broad answer, but for the sake of this blog I’m going to try to keep it short and simple:

(1) Please do not approach non-white people as if eating vegetables is a new idea you would like to share with us. Seriously, we really do know what broccoli and tomatoes are. As a matter of fact, it is non-white people you can thank for harvesting most of the produce that comes to you. :-)

(2) Being “discriminated” against because you are vegan is not the SAME- and never will be- as racism. Please do not tell me that you understand racism because the barista at Starbucks decided to put steamed cow dairy milk into your cappuciano instead of the soy milk you requested.

(3) Please refrain from having a tantrum after realizing that the supposed vegan chocolate candy you are eating, was made with sugar using bone-char refinement. It’s hard to take you seriously when you either don’t care or don’t realize that the main ingredient of cocoa was harvested by African slave children in the Ivory Coast and that cane sugar came from indentured Haitians in the Dominican Republic.

(4) Telling me you fight to release animals from cages as priority and have no interest in seeking solidarity against the prison industrial complex, “Because animals can’t chose to be imprisoned, but people can make the choice about being in prison by simply not committing crimes”, leaves me speechless.

(5) And lastly, please stop showing me photos of a starving African child with quotes at the bottom like, “End hunger now: Go vegan” or “She starved because you ate a hamburger: Go vegan.”  Practicing veganism in the USA, as a ‘consumer-citizen’ is contingent upon a world economy that is based on globalized capitalism (i.e. neoliberalism, resource wars, hyperconsumerism of the global North) that make vegan commodities possible… I can’t really say that the hungry children and adults enslaved to harvest vegan cotton in Uzbekistan, vegan cocoa in West Africa, or vegan palm oil in Malaysia would agree that your vegan consumerism has made their bellies more full.

On the Neoliberal, Afrocentric, and Decolonial Politics of “Cruelty-Free”

Tonight I gave a lecture to a class at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. I spoke about my dissertation work for about an hour. They asked me to specifically come and talk about vegan politics and how I engage in critical studies of race.

So, I wanted to share with y’all the dissertation abstract to get a sense of what it is that I’m doing and  in what direction the manuscript is heading. After the abstract will be the table of contents for you to see as well.

Vegan consciousness and the Commodity Chain: On the Neoliberal, Afrocentric, and Decolonial Politics of “Cruelty-Free”

Abstract

In my dissertation, I analyze how neoliberal whiteness, race consciousness, decolonization, and anti-racism operate within three different vegan food guides: Sacred Woman (Afua 2000), Food Empowerment Project’s Ethical Food Choices (FEP), and PETA’s Vegan Shopping Guide. PETA, FEP, and Sacred Woman are located within the landscape of vegan food philosophies to produce “cruelty-free” and “ethical” spaces across multiple scales (i.e. consciousness, the body, the home, the community, and the globe). However, these three sites represent three different engagements with vegan commodities as the method for achieving ethical consumption and spaces. Such differences are not so much about food, as much as they are about the social, political, and economic relationships underlying the food commodity chain. Through the lenses of critical studies of race, decolonial world-systems theory, food semiology, and black feminism, this dissertation explores such underlying relationships.

Chapter two is titled, “Feeding a Black Nation: Afrocentric Vegan Food Politics and Queen Afua’s Kitchen.” Queen Afua is one of the most popular and widely read health activists amongst Black women in the USA. She offers an approach to diet and health from an Afrocentric perspective. In this chapter, I analyze the vegan commodities that Afua (2000) recommends in the “Sacred Foods” section of Sacred Woman as a way to ‘purify’, ‘decolonize,’ and ‘liberate’ Black Americans from legacies of colonialism and racism (i.e. racialized nutritional health disparities). First, through an Afrocentric framework, I show how Afua’s vegan philosophy combats anti-black conceptualizations of Black women as “unfeminine” and “breeders.” After this analysis, I use Black feminist theorizing (Collins 2000; Williams-Forson 2006) to explore how the meanings Afua places on particular ‘liberating’ vegan commodities simultaneously reproduce heterosexist, ableist, and black middle-class ‘reformist’ conceptualizations of a ‘healthy’ Black nation.

Chapter three is titled, “PETA and Marketing Neoliberal Whiteness as ‘Cruelty-Free.’” This chapter explores how neoliberal whiteness operates within PETA’s Cruelty-Free Vegan Shopping Guide. Through the analytical frameworks of dysconscious racism (King 1991) and decolonial world-systems analysis (Grosfoguel and Cervantes-Rodríguez 2002), I show how “cruelty free” vegan commodities rely on the cruelty of uneven development and structural racism-poverty-sexism (i.e. NAFTA) to make tomato and cocoa based vegan commodities such as Tofutti Pizza Pizzaz, Amy’s Spinach Pizza, and So Delicious chocolate non-dairy desserts possible. Most importantly, I show how PETA’s fundamental understanding of ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘ethical’ are shaped by PETA as being beneficiaries of neoliberalism, First World geopolitical status, and socio-economically privileged USA consumer-citizens within global food commodity chain.

Lastly chapter four is named “FEP, Semiotics of Coloniality, and the Underside of Veganized Modernity.” FEP is pro-vegan food justice organization in South Bay California. They place great emphasis on farmworker rights and alleviating environmental racism. FEP knows that most ‘eco-conscious’ USA vegan consumers have been ‘educated’ to believe that companies selling vegan labeled ‘sustainable’ products ‘guarantee’ that no animals or the environment have suffered to make their product. However, engaging with decolonial world-systems analysis, along with Roland Barthes theories of food semiotics (1972) and his treatise on the objects of post-empire whiteness (Sandoval 1997), I show that vegan food justice organization FEP exposes how neoliberalism, corporate-capitalist profits, and hyper-consumerism dictate “ethical” vegan marketing schemes and labels such as “sustainable,” “ethically sourced,” and “Fair Trade.” FEP achieves this by re-signifying the meaning of ‘sustainable’ palm oil products and cocoa through the semiotics of coloniality and grounded reality of exploited human laborers of the global South. FEP’s advocacy to boycott the incredibly popular ‘eco-conscious’ and ‘sustainable’ labeled vegan products from Earth Balance and CLIF Bar are the case studies employed.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction, Methods and Methodologies, and Chapter Summaries                 4

A Critical Food Studies Approach to Vegan Food Guides: An Introduction…………………………………………… 4

Brief Overview of Veganism in the USA………………………………………… 7

Brief Genealogy of Racial and Feminist Analysis in Veganism…………………….. 10

Burgeoning Literature in Intersections of Critical Race and Vegan Food Studies…………………………….. 18

Methods and Methodologies……………… 22

Black Feminist Theorizing…………………………… 23

Critical Studies of Race…………………………………….. 27

Critical Studies of Whiteness: White Supremacy as Structures and Systems………………. 30

Decolonial World Systems Analysis……………….. 34

Afrocentrism……………………………………. 36

Methods: Material Culture Approach and Discursive Analysis………… 37

Chapter Summaries……………………….. 38

Chapter Two: Afrocentric Vegan Food Politics and Queen Afua’s Kitchen…….. 41

Introduction: Sacred Woman, Re-Signifying Veganism, and Black Feminist Theorizing…… 41

From Capitalist Commodity to the Sacred Divine: Reclaiming the Space of the Black Female Womb  …..   45

Queen Afua’s Kitchen: Revolutionary Black Feminism or [Race-Conscious] Middle Class Food Reform?       64

Decolonization and the Limits of “Returning of Home”………………….. 79

Chapter Three: PETA: From Vegan Consciousness to Vegan Commodity…………………. 88

“Never Be Silent” and Trayvon Martin: PETA’s Illusion of Transparency………… 94

PETA Approved: Getting your vegan chocolate “fix” through child slavery…………… 107

PETA, Neoliberal whiteness, and Vegan Consumer Activism…………………… 114

Chapter Four: Food Empowerment Project and the Underside of Veganized Modernity        127

Food Justice Beyond a Single [vegan] Issue……………….. 128

Critical Pedagogies of Consumption, Earth [In]Balance, and Doing what is Right: A Tale of Two Butters                  131

FEP and the Contested Semiotics of Vegan Chocolate: Unpacking the ‘invisible knapsack’ of vegan consumer privilege        151

Conclusion…………………….. 176

Works Cited……………………………….. 177

Works Cited

Afua, Queen. Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit. New York: Ballantine Publishing Group, 2000.

Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York,: Hill and Wang, 1972.

Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. Rev. 10th anniversary ed. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Grosfoguel, Ramón, and Ana Margarita Cervantes-Rodríguez. The Modern/Colonial/Capitalist World-System in the Twentieth Century : Global Processes, Antisystemic Movements, and the Geopolitics of Knowledge, Contributions in Economics and Economic History, No. 227. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

King, Joyce E. “Dysconscious Racism: Ideology, Identity, and the Miseducation of Teachers.” The Journal of Negro Education 60, no. 2 (Spring, 1991) (1991): 133-46.

Sandoval, Chéla. “Theorizing White Consciousness.” In Displacing Whiteness: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism, edited by Ruth Frankenberg, 86-106. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997.

Williams-Forson, Psyche. Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, & Power. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

Feeding a Black Nation: Decolonial Vegan Politics and Queen Afua’s Kitchen

Part I

Part II

Above are the two videos from my most recent talk that I gave on November 1, 2012 at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts. The topic I was to address was “Intersectionality of Oppressions: A Look at How Race and Gender Shape the Vegan Experience in the USA.” The title of the talk that I gave to examine this topic was called “Feeding a Black Nation: Decolonial Vegan Politics and Queen Afua’s Kitchen.” It was hosted by the Boston University Vegetarian Society and Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism.

I had a really great time. I also let everyone know that this talk is from a dissertation chapter that is still in its draft stages, “So bare with me as I try to work out a lot of the theoretical stuff I talk about at the very beginning.” I’m also functioning off of 2.5 hours of sleep and flew across country and basically went directly to the talk. Whew, crazy day getting there but it was well worth it. I think the Q&A session was the best because the questions were very critical and engaging.

The next day, I had brunch with a bunch of friends and my twin brother, Talmadge, who I had not seen in person in over 2 years. We video Skype several times a week, but this was a gazillion times better. We ate at Central Sq. in Cambridge at a place called Veggie Galaxy, owned by the same people who run Veggie Planet. It’s vegan and vegetarian diner style.

Talmadge Harper and Breeze Harper at Veggie Galaxy. Cambridge, MA. November 2, 2012.

Lastly, I mentioned a few titles at the end of the video. Here they are with a few more that may be of use. I think Barthes is really excellent as a semiologist because he can help folk understand how food ‘signifies’ and communicates an entire society’s “attitude” about life in general.

Afua, Queen. Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit. New York: Ballantine Publishing Group, 2000.

Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. New York,: Hill and Wang, 1972.

Barthes, Roland. Elements of Semiology. 1st American ed. New York: Hill and Wang, 1968.

Grosfoguel, Ramón, and Ana Margarita Cervantes-Rodríguez. The Modern/Colonial/Capitalist World-System in the Twentieth Century : Global Processes, Antisystemic Movements, and the Geopolitics of Knowledge, Contributions in Economics and Economic History, No. 227. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

Lewis, Tania, and Emily Potter. Ethical Consumption: A Critical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Sandlin, Jennifer A., and Peter McLaren. Critical Pedagogies of Consumption: Living and Learning in the Shadow of The “Shopocalypse”. Edited by Joel Spring, Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies in Education. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Sullivan, Shannon, and Nancy Tuana. Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance, Suny Series, Philosophy and Race. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.

Warren, John T. Performing Purity : Whiteness, Pedagogy, and the Reconstitution of Power. New York: Peter Lang, 2003

Zuberi, Tukufu, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. White Logic, White Methods : Racism and Methodology. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008.

“We Don’t Want no GMOs” and Eco-Vegan Hip Hop Consciousness

So, is anyone else annoyed and pissed off that mainstream meda continues to represent our beautiful black brothers as incapable of contributing to society?

Is anyone else getting irritated with the constant representations of ‘green’, ‘eco-conscious’, and vegan as NOT black men?

Anyone highly skeptical about all the ‘facts’ that point to how ‘pathetic’ black and brown men are when it comes to being ‘leaders’ for alternative food and health?

Me too.

Above, performing on Oct 13 2012 in Oakland, CA at “Life is Living” is one of my inspirations is DJ Cavem Moetavation.

Listen to him. Listen to his words.

His brilliance in fusing together hip hop, veganism, holistic health activism… then bringing it all up to a higher consciousness by integrating black social justice activists from the past to the present. This man is brilliant and represents one of thousands of brothers of the African Diaspora in the USA who are holding it down and creating social justice/food justice/environmental justice paradigms that do not, cannot, and will not ignore neoliberal whiteness, corporate capitalism, structural racism, and nutritional genocide.

Because let’s face it: You won’t hear these types of critical engagements, found in his lyrics and speech, on PETA or VegNews, which I feel cater to neoliberal whiteness and hyperconsumerism and don’t go deeper.

DJ Cavem’s song above comes from his new album The Produce Section: The HarvestIncredibly brilliant albums that I highly recommend.

My 3 year old son, Sun, sings it all the time. He isn’t allowed to listen to anything unless it brings his consciousness up. DJ Cavem his is favorite singer. Sun is always talking about, “We won’t want no GMOs,” “No Monsanto,” and “I’m a grown man, and I grow food.” I link this musica with his lessons about food and herbs.

Thanks you Dj Cavem for being the type of mentor and leader we all need; and especially for the youth.

VegNews, Vegan Halloween Candy, and Marketing Neoliberal Capitalism: An Open Letter

Dear VegNews,

I just read your “Just in Time for Halloween: VegNews Guide to Vegan Candy”. I was struck by this excerpt:

Here at VegNews, we make it our job to be on top of the newest products, the must-try sweets, the gotta-have-it items. And just as important as it is to know what those new items are, we want to share them with you, so that you can be the most current conscious consumer out there. (http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=4487&catId=2)

How are you defining ‘conscious consumer’? Is consumerism + conscious an oxymoron when it exists within the rationalities of neoliberal whiteness/capitalism?

Would it be possible one day to go beyond “no animals in these ‘treats”, to discussing that even though it is made with ‘no animals/animal byproducts’, it is not necessarily ‘cruelty-free’? I ask this because the ingredients in these foods, like sugar and cocoa, for example, are greatly sourced from the cruelty of child slavery (i.e. cocoa in West Africa). A lot of sugar may be bone-char refined “free”, but thousands of Haitians are indentured and/or enslaved in the worse conditions in the Dominican Republic, to bring USA its sugar products to overdose on for not just Halloween, but everyday.

Yes, I know this is not the intention of your article, but a few sentences to let people know this information is crucial in creating a world that is more ‘cruelty-free.’

VegNews seems to promote a type of hyperconsumerism that benefits ‘modern’ , mostly middle to upper class white vegans, who have a very ‘privileged’ relationship to food and other ‘vegan’ ‘cruelty-free’ commodities that are mostly made possible through structural racism-poverty-sexism (i.e NAFTA and WTO). It is my belief that your guide is written from the privileged side of modernity/coloniality binary; from the privileged side of the geopolitically racialized production of consumer goods. Ramón Grosfoguel, a scholar of decolonial theory, employs the term ‘coloniality’ to address

‘colonial situations’ in the present period in which colonial administrations have almost been eradicated from the capitalist world-system. By ‘colonial situations’ I mean the cultural, political, sexual, spiritual, epistemic and economic oppression/exploitation of subordinate racialized/ethnic groups by dominant racialized/ethnic groups with or without the existence of colonial administrations. Five hundred years of European colonial expansion and domination formed an international division of labor between Europeans and non-Europeans that is reproduced in the present so-called ‘post-colonial’ phase of the capitalist world-system (Grosfoguel xxi, 2007).

 It is clear that this international division of labor is maintained through neoliberalism and geopolitical racialized discrimination (such chocolate slavery and sugar cane slavery). It is no surprise that the periphery zones in which food sources are extracted, overlap with regions of the world that have already been colonized by the global West. VegNews, your article about Vegan Halloween candy, as a pedagogy of consumption, embodies contradictions that have always existed with neoliberal whiteness framing of ethics and morality in a capitalist society. Your shopping guide seems to approach vegan activism as a hyperconsumerism ‘project’ for privileged subjects living in space of modernity; particularly those whose choice, access to food, and ‘voting with one’s dollar’ is not impeded by environmental racism, food deserts, poverty, or enslavement. These vegan objects of desire are commodity fetishes that simply detract from understanding ‘conscious’ food and social justice from a decolonial world-systems framework.

But perhaps my suggestion won’t be taken seriously for the very fact that those who support your magazine, financially (companies making vegan food) , would pull out if we began having conversations like these (?). I ask this because of the work I’m doing which involves learning about the suffering and pain of ‘disposable’ brown and black people of the global South, for example, who suffer immensely to bring ‘us’, palm oil, cocoa, sugar to name a few.

It’s not like I’m even asking you to boycott these products that you advocate; however, I think it’s quite unmindful and ‘cruel’ to present these ‘treats’ without their full genealogy of how it gets to most USA supermarkets and convenience stores. All I’m asking you guys to do is simply admit that many of these ‘treats’ that you advocate may be ‘vegan’, but it is not as ‘conscious’ as many USA vegans may think.
What do vegan most ‘cruelty-free’ Halloween ‘treats’ look like to sugar cane and cacao slaves? Probably pretty ‘cruel’ and not so ‘conscious.’
The boogeyman and vampire masks that cover our faces during Halloween may scare us in the USA who celebrate Halloween…. but the true boogeymen and vampires that cause nightmares and suffering for enslaved cocoa and sugar human laborers are the faces behind those masks: the average USA consumer-citizen and their ignorances about the places that “commodities”, such as vegan treats, truly come from.
Best
Breeze Harper
Works Cited

Grosfoguel, Ramón. “The Epistemic Decolonial Turn: Beyond Political-Economy Paradigms.” Cultural Studies 21, no. 2/3 (2007): 211-23.

Image of pumpkin sourced from: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-S5WWdmRC_-w/UHdXiv0MKGI/AAAAAAAADEg/0PM0UAm0eig/s1600/pumpkin.jpg

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