Pigs as Cops, Cops as Pigs: What Does a Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter Look Like Beyond Speciesist Depictions of Pigs?

About an hour ago, I was looking through the work of Emory Douglas (see image below and click on it to go to the link to the book).

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I started reading through his book again today because his work, though over 40 years old, is applicable today. His images show Black people resisting the white supremacist militarized police state. The images are powerful, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. As I sifted through the pages of this genius work, I couldn’t believe that this mess was still happening today; but also felt inspired that this work is a continuum that we see in the Black Lives Matter Movement, founded by Alicia Garza.

Eerily, at the same time I was looking through Emory’s book and thinking about how to implement it into my own work, I was on Facebook looking through Vegans of Color group posts. Someone had posted a current image depicting the Black Lives Matter movement in which there is a carton of young Black person fighting against the militarized police state. The police officers depicted in the cartoon are drawn as pigs. The person who posted the image said, “word to her and the energy/people/movement she represents! but to the system she/we oppose–let’s not disparage actual pigs in the process, yeah? (smile)”. Perfect timing that he would write this while I was looking through the Emory Douglas book because I had been thinking the same thing since I received the book as a wonderful gift for my birthday, about 5 years ago, signed by him by way of my friend Frank. He even referred to me as “Sistah Vegan” in the inscription. I briefly talked to him at one of Frank’s birthday parties. (I admit it: I was too shy to talk more to him, just like I was too shy to talk more to Angela Davis and give her a copy of my book. Yup, I’m still shaking my head over that one…and then I learn she’s vegan and probably would have appreciated Sistah Vegan. LOL. Oh well, live an learn.)

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First of all, I cannot reiterate enough that Emory Douglas’s book is genius, amazing, and inspiring. The work he has done as a Black Liberationist and Black Panther is truly remarkable and has deeply influenced the direction of my own work. In addition, Emory Douglas eats a vegan diet. However, what is striking to me as someone who is a critical race , black feminist, and critical vegan scholar, I noticed throughout his work that Douglas depicts cops as ‘bacon’ and ‘pigs’.

I know that everyone changes throughout life and what we ate or believed in at 30 may differ drastically at 40, then 50, etc. So, I’ve been wondering about Emory Douglas’ vegan dietary practice and if this practice has changed his thoughts on he having used pigs as a way to demonize and depict the police state of the USA in the 1960s and 1970s. I wonder what he’d say about it; if he still agrees with his use of pig images to protest racialized state violence against Black people. (See a few of many images depicting cops as pigs, in the book below).

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I’ve also been thinking a lot how the consumption of pigs, among ‘conscious’ Black people who no longer eat animals, has long been associated as being a ‘filthy’ and ‘low’ animal; that many ‘conscious’ Black people working hard to decolonize and liberate Black people have chosen to not eat pigs because they believe they are ‘dirty animals’…. as opposed to the belief that eating pigs is cruel because of the suffering that pigs go through as a commodity in the mainstream food system of the USA. There seems to be a speciesist vegan dietary element to this logic; quite a contradiction in many ways. But, I want to dig deeper and I don’t want to dismiss the brilliant work of Black liberationist who think this way about pigs and human consumption.

I hope to continue to think through Emory’s work and figure out a way to talk about the significance of his work through a vegan praxis of Black Lives Matters… Emory, if you are reading this, please let me know if you’d be interested in talking about this for the Sistah Vegan Conference, which is online in April: The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter.

Hey folk out here, if what I have written above has got your wheels turning, then I hope you will join us, support us, donate to us, and/or sponsor the upcoming Sistah Vegan hosted online conference, The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter. During the conference, I hope we can talk more about the meaning of Emory Douglas’ work (maybe even by way of Emory himself), the use of pig imagery in resisting racist police state, consuming a vegan diet, and the difficult contradictions we all often find ourselves in; after all, many of us as Black Lives Matter activists of color– vegan and non-vegan–  are still practicing the decolonization of our minds around internalized racism as well as speciesist notions of ‘the place of the animal'; it is a continuum and I want to build on Douglas’ work, not dismiss or start honing in only on the images of ‘cops and pigs, pigs as cops.’ His work– and many of the Black Panthers who have written about Black Liberation (many who were not vegetarian or vegan) have deeply influenced the direction of my work in a positive manner. I’m about ‘building’ on this, acknowledging possible weaknesses or methods that may not apply now, and moving forward while not forgetting about the past!

Like what we do? Find our more about the Sistah Vegan Project and donate towards our new groundbreaking critical race vegan book project on black male vegans and hip hop, as well as the April 24-25 2015 online conference. Click the image below. We just hit our $9,000 our of $25,000 goal this week. Help us reach $10,000 by the end of February 2015!

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[Event]: Breeze Harper Will Be the Keynote Speaker at Social Justice Summit, Cal State-Fullerton, February 21, 2015

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Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Event: Social Justice Summit: Breaking Down Barriers

Date and Time: Feb. 21, 2015. 9:15 a.m.

Keynote Talk Description: A. Breeze Harper will be giving a critical race feminist vegan oriented keynote talk from 9:15-10:15am, on Saturday Feb. 21, 2015.

For more information: http://www.fullerton.edu/volunteer/summit/

How to Get Dr. A. Breeze Harper to Speak at Your Institution or Organization

If you would like to invite Dr. A. Breeze Harper to speak at your institution or organization, please contact her by clicking here.

Dr. Harper’s most recent talk “ON FERGUSON, THUG KITCHEN &TRAYVON MARTIN: INTERSECTIONS OF [POST] RACE-CONSCIOUSNESS, FOOD JUSTICE AND HIP-HOP VEGANISM” took place at Middlebury College, Fall 2014. It can be viewed here. 

If you like A. Breeze Harper’s work, click here to find out how you can support her latest book project (in which her Middlebury lecture is based on) and Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference.

Blueberry Avocado Sorbet Recipe and Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter: We Can Do Both!

Closed Captions for Hearing Impaired. I hope it works Out. I’m still trying to figure CC out.

Recipe:

2 Pints of Blueberries
5 pitted dates
1 large Hass Avocado
1/2 c of water
1 tsp of organic Spriulina

Blend on high for 1.5 minutes in Vitamix or comparable blender. Put into ice cream machine like a Cuisinart Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt maker. You can always had more dates to make it sweeter.

See what else the Sistah Vegan Project is up to. Yea, we do recipes, we blog, but we also are the only pro-vegan project that does things like put together critical race feminist oriented vegan conferences! Check out our Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter: Challenging Neoliberal Whiteness While Building Anti-Racist Solidarity Among Vegans of Color and Allies. coming April 24-25, 2015, online!

And we are the only project working on a critical race and decolonial analytical book about veganism, ethical consumption, hip hop veganism, and alternative black masculinities. Find out more here.

As much as I love mainstream vegan recipe blogs, I’d love to see more critical and outspoken posts that question systemic oppression beyond non-human animal cruelty. It is possible to throw down a mad cool recipe about local ingredients to make sorbet and then talk about how systemic racism makes so many of us sick…and then offer some recipes for ‘racial tension headaches’ to start the conversation about what it’s like trying to eat vegan food in a USA in which the food system– well, ‘the system’ overall– maintains and perpetuates racism and justifies/normalizes anti-black  violence as well as speciesist violence.

On a side note, several of you have asked about my hair. It’s big, fluffy, and voluminous. A lot of folk who have had more than one baby, have told me that their hair is thin or has and continues to fall out. I had the same problem until I figured out this secret.

Like what we do? We do too. Consider Donating.

Sistah Vegan Kids: Vegan Buckwheat, Almond, Spelt Waffles for Dinner

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We had waffles for dinner tonight. Very healthy! The kids loved this nutrient packed power house. We use olive oil for ‘butter’ and always have. They love it!

1 cup Spelt flour
1\2 c almond flour
1\2 c buckwheat flour
2.25 c of soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking power
5 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 table spoon chia seeds (soak in soy milk for ten minutes first so it can gel up and become egg replacer). I prefer these over flax. Flax tastes bad to me when it is cooked.

Throw in blender on high for two minutes.

I use Duraceramic non Teflon Belgian waffle maker and Vita mix blender. I use a fair trade more sustainable coconut oil. I notice if I don’t add sugar and use coconut oil, the waffles never stick.

Bon Appetit!

What is Your [Vegan] Praxis of Black Lives Matter? Fighting Domestic Violence and Dismantling the Racist Misogynistic Legal System

(UPDATED DEC 31 2014, 950 AM PDT) CORRECTION: MARISSA’S 2 OLDER CHILDREN, TWINS, ARE FROM HER FIRST MARRIAGE AND OUR NOT RICO GRAY’S BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN

The group performs their social-justice teach in routine to educate folk about Marissa Alexander.

Below, Nell Myhand brilliantly gives the context of systemic racism, misogyny, and exploitative capitalist economy in understanding why and how Marissa’s situation happened the way it did.

Below, LaJuana gives an amazing performance of Rico Gray’s testimony. Gray is Marissa’s abusive husband.

Next we have a performance of Marissa’s Testimony:

Below, Xan Joi and others explain Marissa’s case, their caravan trip to do social justice teach-ins across the nation.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

If you want to be part of the caravan and live in the Easy Bay CA area, contact Xan Joi at joiyssey@gmail.com .

If you can fund this East Bay Caravan, then go here. Please be aware that this is funding for the CARAVAN to support these womyn’s trip. To support Marissa Alexander’s legal fees and other financial needs, go here to the Free Marissa Now national campaign.

To Learn more about the Sistah Vegan Project’s focus on “Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter'”, you can find our more about our upcoming conference.

Dear PETA, Black Lives Matter…So, Where are You in All this Mess?

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Dear PETA,

I ran across this old post from 5 years ago (see at the end of this post). Why couldn’t you make your point without needing to do this? Seriously, it’s 5 years later and I wonder if you’ll ever know that Black Lives Matter and that we’re not just here to promote your white neoliberal racist sense of animal liberation. When I first saw this posted on Craig’s List (see at the bottom) I just wanted to vomit and cry… I thought about how, historically, Black women’s bodies have been exploited, abused, and demeaned in order to maintain white supremacist USA system…and yes, this process still continues. So, this ad below was just heartbreaking to me because it really shows that PETA uses ‘diversity’ in the most white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchal sense; that you are not an ally but an accomplice.

In the past several months, as I have directed my black feminist vegan work to meet the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, I wonder if you ever apologized for doing this ad below. I also wonder what your role in Black Lives Matter movement is. Despite your obsession with being ‘post-human” and “we’re all animals”, race matters. Black people, collectively, do not think of ourselves as post-human because thus far, we have not even been afforded the right to be treated as sentient and loving human beings yet. And I don’t say this in as a promotion of speciesism. I say this with the full canon of critical race and Black feminist scholarship backing me up. I know that since European colonialism until now (…and probably tomorrow, and the week after, and the year after) Black people will continue to be treated as animals due to systemic racism and neoliberal whiteness— until post-racial, post-humanist, “I don’t see color” power-holders like yourself, practice the tenets of Black Lives Matter (along with many other anti-racist movements); incorporate it into your vegan actions. And when I write ‘treated as animals’, I’m speaking within the socio-historical context of post-1492, when European colonizers decided that non-human animals are disposable, exploitable, and non-sentient…and then they categorized Black Africans as such types of animals. 

As the Black Lives Matter movement becomes stronger and stronger across the U.S. nation, and  as I support this movement through my own actions as Black feminist vegan, where are you in all this mess? What have you done to show us that Black Lives Matter? Where are you in finally doing an organizational wide re-vamp to teach your staff and volunteers that a vegan praxis of Black Lives Matters is not only possible, but necessary? That it is far from distracting from your ‘single-issue’ goal of non-human animal liberation? You ask omnivores to stop being silent about the systemic abuses and suffering of non-human animals. I’m asking you to stop being silent and compliant when it comes to systemic abuse and exploitation of Black people. It is possible to focus on animal liberation and be anti-racist without losing your power to affect change. But, I think you know that by now and I wonder if it is easier to give up your speciesist power than it is to give up the collective neoliberal white privilege power most of your leadership HAS and simply cannot revoke. 

Like the ad below, will you continue to use our Black and Brown bodies that have white supremacist myths trailing behind them (“they are exploitable”, “they are hypersexual”, etc.) to further your very own and exclusive vegan social ‘just us’ goals; goals that don’t dismantle systemic racism and neoliberal whiteness, but reaffirm and maintain them?

I invite you to attend the Sistah Vegan 2015 Conference “The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter'”. It is online. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by attending. And pick up some books that will help you the learn about Black Lives Matter Movement; how it is a continuum of Black liberation. You will find that list at the bottom of this other Sistah Vegan post.

(Breeze sits here, anticipating the sound of crickets and another 5 years of social ‘just us’ like the ad below)

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[Cisgender] Black [Male Straight] Lives Matter…Or, on Dismissing the Black Feminist Queer Praxis Behind the Movement

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Marissa Alexander source: http://images.cdn.bigcartel.com/bigcartel/product_images/146066410/max_h-1000+max_w-1000/MA_Front_Closeup.jpg

(Updated December 17, 2014 with a reading list)

Does anyone else feel like the #BlackLivesMatter movement has a lot of participants that don’t realize the original methodology and demands behind the movement? Started by Alicia Garza, after the Trayvon Martin murder verdict, Garza makes it clear that the movement is to include all Black lives….but it seems like the focus by the majority out in the streets (at least the ones I hear and see in the news), since Ferguson, is that only the lives of Black cisgender straight male victims of police and/or vigilante violence matter. Am I hallucinating here? Those like Marissa Alexander, CeCe McDonald, and Renisha McBride have been left to the margins; basically forgotten it feels like. Marissa used her firearm to fire a warning shot into the ceiling of her own house to prevent her abusive ex husband from entering and hurting her and her children again. She had just given birth 9 days earlier. Even though she stood her ground, she was sentenced to 60 years in jail, led by the same lawyer who helped to get Zimmerman off; this was despite the medical records showing she has been beaten by her husband and he is violent and her ex husband admitting that he was there to cause trouble. CeCe McDonald, a transwoman, defended herself from her transhating attacker and went to jail after it was determined she ‘should’ be punished because the man who attacked her died from the injuries she inflicted upon him.

Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffurbirdsqueerly.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F01%2F13%2Fcece-mcdonald-free-welcome-home-cece%2F&ei=idWQVKy8DZDaoATZooHwAQ&bvm=bv.82001339,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNE3xnH9t24ZsGSl-m7iVhingdnB6Q&ust=1418864387955703
Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=https%3A%2F%2Ffurbirdsqueerly.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F01%2F13%2Fcece-mcdonald-free-welcome-home-cece%2F&ei=idWQVKy8DZDaoATZooHwAQ&bvm=bv.82001339,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNE3xnH9t24ZsGSl-m7iVhingdnB6Q&ust=1418864387955703

Renisha McBride got into a car accident and left her car to seek help. She knocked on a man’s door and he responded by shooting her because of his ‘negrophobia’.

Source: http://www.southerncoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/renisha-mcbride-poster.jpg
Source: http://www.southerncoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/renisha-mcbride-poster.jpg

I don’t get it.

BlackLivesMatter started off as a black feminist queer oriented movement. How many out there, who have joined the protests, have actually taken the time to go to the website and read the ‘About’ section. This section will school people on how ALL Black Lives Matters (not just Black cisgender males). Garza also sets it straight: that making the claim ‘ALLLIVESMATTER’ completely dismisses anti-black violence and racism. Who else is perplexed by the #AlllivesMatter hastag/logic? Seriously, it’s like when I explain to a white liberal, the anti-black racism I have experienced, and she responding, “Well, all human beings are discriminated against– some for skin color, some for socio-economic class.” What is it with this addiction to completing disregarding the REALITY that we live in a racial caste system in which non-black people, historically, have fought hard to not be considered as ‘black’ because that is the ‘lowest of the low” and hurts your life chances of happiness and success? Why do I keep on seeing #alllivesmatter hashtags? Gee, what a wonderful way to derail the conversation around the violence of systemic racism and anti-black ideologies that the USA was founded upon and still function within. What a great way to make invisible the the violence of white supremacist system and institutions that even white liberals benefit from, regardless if they are or aren’t one of those ‘bad overtly racist white’ people (because only neo-Nazis and white Tea Party members are the ‘real’ beneficiaries of racism and white supremacy). Instead of diverting the conversation to #alllivesmatter, can we please bring it back to the black feminist queer tenets of #BlackLivesMatter? Can we please not repeat the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s when Black cisgender males became the central figures for the ‘Black experience’ and those most affected by racism? Can white liberalism please not override the original Black feminist queer praxis that Garza wants the movement to operate within?

Please let me know if I’m hallucinating here?

Recently, I joined forces with the FreeMarissaBayArea movement, so I can help to get her our of jail.

And don’t get me wrong. I am not dismissing the pain and hurt of my Black cisgender male victims of police violence. I’m just saying that I see a similar pattern happening again and folk should be aware of the basic goals of the BlackLivesMatter movement and school themselves, if they haven’t already, on what a black feminist queer “black Lives Matter” movement actually SHOULD look like.

Yes, I know there is an intersection of oppressions, but I do not think #alllivesmatters is productive at all, since #BlackLivesMatter started off to address the violence of white supremacist racist violence, at the systemic, structural, and institutional levels that negatively affect BLACK PEOPLE. The audacity for many to co-opt BlackLivesMatter into AllLivesMatters and then obliterate the core objective to dismantle white supremacist violence against all Black Lives has my head spinning. Talk about discursive violence in full effect! And please don’t start talking about how I must be against [cisgender] [straight] Black men and how they have been victims of state violence. If you think that this is what this post is about, then, once again, you have not educated yourself with the core principles of Black feminist queer praxis.

I am hoping that the upcoming Sistah Vegan conference, “The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter'”, will show participants what the core principles of Garza’s movement can look like amongst Black vegans and allies who ‘get it’ and don’t dismiss it.

Also, here is a recommended reading list if you would like to know what Black feminisms are (there is more than one).

Recommended Reading List (English)

And please post comments on new suggestions!

The Vegan Praxis of “Black Lives Matter”. 2nd Biannual Sistah Vegan Conference

The Sistah Vegan Project Presents Our 2nd Bi-Annual Conference:

“The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter’ : Challenging Neoliberal Whiteness While Building Anti-Racist Solidarity Amongst Vegans of Color and Allies (Before, After, and Beyond Ferguson )

Conference Date: April 24-25, 2015

Location: Online Web Conference

Please go here to official website for schedule, registration, and more: URLhttp://www.sistahveganconference.com

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Conference Organizer: Dr. A. Breeze Harper