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I get requests all the time to support a wellness, animal rights, vegan site, organization, book, campaign or new health/food product that is framed through post-racial and neoliberal capitalist logics. What is intriguing to me is that the emails I receive state that after reviewing my Sistah Vegan site, they believe my site would be perfect to support their cause.

 
19/20 times what they want me to support has NOTHING to do with intersectional anti-racism, critical engagement with systemic racism– or even critical engagement with what human beings (and non-human beings) were potentially exploited to bring that commodity’s ingredients to the market. If anything, the way they frame their campaigns, products, books, etc., reinforce unequal racial and class power dynamics already operating within a white supremacist capitalist and heteropatriarchal system.
 
When I’m contacted, rarely, if ever, does someone write something like, “…we’d also like to see what WE CAN DO to support the work that you are doing. What can we do to eradicate systemic racism, not perpetuate anti-Blackness rooted in the fabric of the USA, etc.?” I actually DO expect this to be asked if they in fact have read through my site and claim, “We love the work that you’re doing.” 
 
For example….
 
I was asked to support a book by writing a preface to a book by a white identified vegan who wrote that people making fun of her for being vegan was the ‘same’ as racism. But it was clear she didn’t know what systemic racism was or how to be an ally but wanted me to support her experience of being treated the same as a ‘racist’ would treat her. I patiently and politely sent her a long email explaining this was inaccurate and something I can’t support.
 
I was asked to support a nutrition publication that was clearly a cis-sexist framing of food and health for women and men. This is despite my website always pointing out the transphobia and cissexism embedded in mainstream health, food, and nutrition publications focused on producing a ‘moral’ and ‘healthy’ white body.
 
I frequently have organizations contacting me about how I can support them to get non-white people ‘on board with veganism’ when it’s clear it’s a missionary approach and they don’t care about first asking how they can be allies to both Sistah Vegan and those communities they want to ‘enlighten’.
I am genuinely curious about these requests because it’s almost always white identified people/organizations (19/20 times) that are contacting me. They probably don’t consider themselves to be consciously in collusion with systemic racism and white supremacy…yet, their framing of whatever they want me to support is in collusion with these systems.
Maybe those contacting me don’t realize that this is the negative impact they are having on me (and other intersectional activist vegans of color they may be contacting). I don’t mind being contacted if the message clearly states some type of awareness or concern around being allies to eradicating systemic racism, anti-Blackness, white supremacist based racial caste system, etc. Just some food for thought.
Like what you read? See below to know what are my next projects, speaking engagements, and books.

Despite having brown skin and being a “melanated peoples”, I burn in the sun in approximately 5 minutes. It can be as ‘cool’ as 69 degrees Fahrenheit and I will burn…My mother used to always joke, “You would have made a horrible field slave”, which kind of makes perfect sense. She has always enjoyed calling me an Oreo since I was a tween. Oreo was then promoted to the affectionate label of Oreo Double Stuff by the time I had graduated from high school in 1994 and I had been accepted into a gazillion PWIs like Smith College, Tufts University, Bryn Mawr, and Dartmouth College.  I vividly remember when I first discovered the Four Seasons when I was 14 years old. I asked my mother if she could buy it for me on CD. Boy was she elated that I was inquiring about the Four Seasons…. Except she thought that I misspoke and that I must have meant the Black Motown group The Four Tops (Yes, I meant some music composed by a dead white Italian man). #blackcardrejected #notauthenticallyblack

How did I get from being a white cream filled dark sandwich cookie with two left feet and an unhealthy obsession with Anton Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to being told I’m uber ‘articulate’ and ‘non-threatening’ in post-racial vegan venues? I could tell this story from so many vantage points. I thought long and hard about it, writing draft after draft, dropping some heavy critical theory sh$t from Angela Davis, to Frantz Fanon, to Charles Mills. But every time I tried to do this, it just wouldn’t work out. Critical theory takes deep concentration, plenty of sleep, and mental acuity….

…which is hella blown out of the water when you’ve got 4 damn kids– a 6 month old, a 3 year old, a 5 year old (the middle one with a damn freaking attitude and a propensity for sticking her hand in the monkey jar) and an 8 year old who continuously interrupt your prophetic destiny to be a  scholar with such greatness and [can’t think of an intelligent word because my 5 year old just came outside screaming and running towards me, naked, holding a bowl of Cheerios] that would make Sara Ahmed’s rumination on phenomenology and post-colonialism look like simple nursery school rhymes. #badphenomenologyjokes

-Dr. A. Breeze Harper. Draft from her upcoming book Black. Mama. Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era (2018).

In a delightful and humorous, yet deeply critical talk, Dr. A. Breeze Harper will ruminate on the past 12 years of her activism and scholarship as well as read excerpts from her upcoming book Black. Mama. Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era (formerly titled Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches). Get ready for a different side of A. Breeze Harper, PhD, as she uses a fusion of satire and critical race feminism to explore just how “post-racial” we are– in veganism and beyond.

This is a fundraising event for the Sistah Vegan Project. Register for the Live Lecture with Q&A below.

Ticket Options


If you can’t make her live webcast but are interested in inviting her to give a talk and/or workshop at your organization or university, contact her at bookbreezeharper@gmail.com .



Dr. Harper is the creator and editor of the first of its kind book about veganism and race: Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society(Lantern Books 2010).

Dr. Harper holds a PhD in social science from University of California Davis (with an emphasis in Black Feminisms, Critical Theories of Race, and Ethical Consumption). She has a Masters degree in Educational Technologies from Harvard University, with emphasis on Black Feminisms. Her thesis earned her the prestigious Dean’s award.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact being a Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. She has taught university staff and students how to use the book as a tool to develop literacy around unconscious bias and understand how deeply impactful systemic racial and socio-economic inequities are.

After observing numerous white vegans making the claim that race doesn’t matter (i.e. the passive-aggressive responses to Black Lives Matter with “All Lives Matter”) , Dr. Harper organized the highly successful professional conference The Praxis of Black Lives Matter. The conference taught participants how to operationalize racial equity during an era of Black Lives Matter with a focus on plant-based foodie culture like veganism and raw foodism. 

In 2016, Dr. Harper collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the report Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system. Dr. Harper is well-known for her talks and workshops  about “Operationalizing Racial Equity” and  “Intersectional Anti-Racism” in ethical consumption, which were given at top universities this past year (University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Penn State to name a few). 

You can check out Dr. Harper’s 2016 talk at Whidbey Institute below about Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape as well as the University of Oregon-Eugene talk Reading Food Objects: A Black Feminist Materialist Reading of Scars in Oregon.

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