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!

Dear White [Vegan] People, Whiteness Matters Too: Books that Make You Go Hmmmm

Dear White [Animal Rights and Vegan] People,

Whiteness cannot be ignored.  I have been asked by many of you, what resources are out there to help you become aware of the consequences of being ‘post-racial’ and/or assuming anti-racism solidarity has nothing to do with your pro-vegan philosophies. Below are two phenomenal new books I just read, by white vegan anti-racist allies, pattrice jones and Martin Rowe. Please check these titles out to not only understand how ‘whiteness matters’, but how to create your own role as an ally of anti-racism and anti-speciesism.  Start now with the brilliant and engaging titles below.

Oxen At The Intersection: A Collision by pattrice jones.

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This is a brilliant book by pattrice jones. jones tries to understand what led to the death of one of two oxen (Lou and Bill) who had been living at, and exploited by, Green Mountain College in Vermont. Written in the style of a murder mystery novel, jones brings in intersectional understanding to how Green Mountain College, as well as Vermont itself, has been mythically constructed as having always been a agricultural region based on ‘animal husbandry.’ Unraveling the mystery of the ox’s death means to unravel the mystery of how colonialism, white supremacist ideas around non-human animals should be treated, and the myth of ‘locavorism’ have greatly mis-informed and mis-educated the white Vermont imagination around ‘ethical’ and ‘green’ living for a post-2000 age. Also, many time the ableist rhetoric goes unchecked in mainstream society. Able-bodied vegans are not exempt from promoting ableist notions of heath, food, and ethical consumption either. I like how jones talks about eugenics and ableism and purity of whiteness are fused together when Green  Mountain College representatives sincerely believe and tell her that when an animal is injured and is no longer ‘able-bodied’, they need to be euthanized when their injury permits them from being a ‘good slave’ for people; yet the injury isn’t life-threatening. Below are two excerpts from the book that were very central themes for me:

Skiers and leaf-peeping tourists notwithstanding, Vermont is dairy country. Even more than the state economy depends on cheddar, the state psychology rests upon the presumption that blond boy over brown cow is the natural order of things. Vermonters need to believe that this state of affairs is not only non-injurious but righteous. (location 91 in Kindle version of the book)

Meantime, thanks to advertising by the tourism and dairy industries, the mythic white male settler with his livestock came to seem to be the only authentic ancestor of Vermont. And so we come to the Green Mountain College “farm,” at which a white man sporting and old-time had and beard raises an old-time buggy whip over the back of Bill and Lou. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying that the farm manager or any of his acolytes were in any way aware of the implicit whiteness of their version of rural purity. Nor do I mean to say that Green Mountain College or its friends in state government in any way  endorse the past program of eugenics and disinformation by which dairying and other forms of animal agriculture came to seem such a natural and venerable aspect of the Vermont landscape. But I am suggesting that the existential quality of the struggle over Bill and Lou– the emotional fervor with which college and state officials defended animal agriculture as if the very soul of Vermont depended upon the right of men like them to control and kill animals– was rooted in the history by which people with other ways of relating to animals were displaced by the ancestors of those who now see themselves as the rightful owners of the land and its wildlife. (location 986 in the Kindle version of the book)

You can purchase Oxen at The Intersection here or by clicking on the photo above.

The Elephants in the Room: An Excavation by Martin Rowe.

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The Elephants in the Room: An Excavation was written by Lantern Books co-founder, Martin Rowe. Another brilliant book, The Elephants in the Room guides the reader through how colonialism, white supremacy, and conservationism come to together within the sphere of human and elephant relationships in Africa. Rowe tells the story of two women from very different backgrounds: Noble Peace Price winner indigenous African Wangari Maathai, and Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the daughter of white male African imperialist. However, author Rowe does not exempt himself from the equation: as a storyteller and a man of white, class, and male privilege from England, Rowe engages in critical reflections around how his own layers of racial privilege shaped his [mis-]perceptions around his relationship to England, as well as the people and non-human animals of ‘the Dark Continent’. The book is an intelligent and thought-provoking work that brings the problems of colonial whiteness into the conversation about animal rights, conservationism, and the consequences of ignoring racial privilege during colonial and post-colonial times. Below is a notable quote from the book

Above all, I would have to confront a number of elephants: from the actual creatures we continue to slaughter, the bones of whose ancestors were stitched together in the Hall of Extinct Mammals, to the metaphorical ones that are apparent now but were, despite their seeming unavoidability, once invisible…and even now are hard to meet head on: the poisonous prejudices of racism, the troubling legacies of empire, and the noxious assumptions of patrimony and misogyny. I also needed to look at the other elephantine quality, memory, and more particularly of the evasions and occlusions that occurs when any of us try to tell our stories or those of others, and the fantasties we project onto the ‘other.’ (location in the Kindle Version of Elephants in the Room).

 

The Elephants in the Room can be purchased here. If you get a chance to check these titles out, I’d love to know what you think about them.

Best,

Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Finally, a FAIR TRADE Vegan Butter that is ORGANIC and More SUSTAINABLY SOURCED!

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A lot of vegans I know use Earth Balance for their vegan butter. I stopped using Earth Balance awhile ago, after I wrote my dissertation and discovered that, at least for me, they are not as ‘ethical’ as they market themselves to be. The sourcing of their coconut and palm oil was not transparent. I did not know if the human laborers harvesting their ingredients were being treated fairly (actually, I don’t like the word ‘fairly’ so much. I like the words ‘mindfully’, ‘lovingly’ ,and ‘compassionately’ when describing the conditions in which human beings should be entitled to work/exist within.)

At the market, I saw that the company Nutiva is offering a vegan butter spread that is  organic, more sustainably sourced, and “Fair For Life” certified. I have been enjoying Nutiva’s products for years, as they offer healthy, organic, vegan and sustainably sourced items for quite a while. Their hemp products have been consumed by my family, for years. I have blogged about how I grew all my babies on Nutiva brands of hempseed oil, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. I found this new buttery product by Nutiva to be quite good and not nearly as salty as Earth Balance  ( I personally do not like salty butter spreads). I’m also grateful to see that the packaging is non-BPA (however, people are so focused on BPA-free I am wondering about other potentially harmful chemicals in packaging that not only effect the consumer, but also those who must make it in factories and the environment it usually ends up polluting). I’m just hoping that eventually these containers can be compostable. One of my biggest gripes about vegan products that tout themselves to be ‘so ethical’, is that the packaging is obnoxiously wasteful. I know a lot of resources are used to even make compostable packaging, however, I’d argue that this is far less cruel to the environment than the current packaging options used by many companies making food products, vegan or not.

(But, this post isn’t really directly about Nutiva’s buttery spreads, is it Breeze?)

It is safe to say that many of us privileged vegan consumers need to understand that MOSTLY everything we eat( unless otherwise noted via fair labor/trade practices) is mostly likely sourced via CRUEL methods. Yes, a non-human animal may not have been directly harmed in many our favorite snacks, drinks, meals, etc., but what about the human animals? There has been a lot of focus on fair trade and organic cocoa and coffee for years, but one must understand that this is just the tip of the iceberg. We live in a globalized capitalist world economy. By default, capitalism = exploitation of non-human animals, human animals, and what human beings (at least here in the global North) call natural resources (i.e. water, land, minerals, etc). I get a lot of people arguing with me about my definition of capitalism = exploitation as being just plain pessimistic. For the record, I draw my understanding and definitions from Henri Lefebvre, Neil Smith and Angela Davis to name a few; critical thinkers who have written and researched extensively about how capitalism is the anti-thesis of cruelty-free. Capitalism CANNOT exist without exploitation and abuse. Hence, if you are buying vegan certified products, because they are within the globalized system of capitalist economies/commodity chains, there is a very small chance that they are actually ‘cruelty-free’ beyond ‘no non-human animal was directly killed for this product to be in existence.’ I talk about this in my blog post from a few months ago, in which I critique a pro-vegan meme that suggests strawberry harvesting and ‘cruelty-free’ in comparison to watching videos of slaughterhouse animals.

Anyway, I just wanted to leave you with a few of the things that were going through my head while testing this new Nutiva product out. I really have no answers about how to create cruelty-free products that really encompass my definition of ‘fair’.  I perhaps am pessimistic, but it would seem that is is capitalism that is the problem. Even with ‘green capitalism’, it is unclear to me that that is ‘fair’, as there are many communities that are forced to sell their resources even under ‘fair’ and ‘green’ practices when they’d rather just not be part of any economy based on capitalist logic; however, because it may mean poverty or not, many of these communities must become part of ‘green capitalism’ in order to survive versus just doing their own thing outside of capitalist logic.

I would love to hear what people think about this. I know comments may already be heavily biased towards the consumer-privileged end, as it’s rare that I have any posting as the person who harvests vegan resources (because I’d imagine that would be a completely differently embodied knowledge about the commodity chain that is not romanticized through the eyes of neoliberal capitalism).

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout out to Nutiva brands anyway. They may not be perfect, but I think so far, they are a better example of ethically sourced and produce vegan products. But, unless you are the person working on that plantation in which these ingredients are sourced, you will never know how cruelty-free and ‘fair’ it is. And I think that is what a lot of people on the ‘privileged’ end of vegan consumerism need to ALWAYS REMEMBER. Just because a company’s label claims it is ‘fair’ or ‘cruelty-free’, doesn’t mean you should accept it without thinking more deeply about it. I know I probably won’t be buying this product again, but wanted to check it out and let people know about it. I use local sourced olive oil for our family’s ‘buttery’ needs. What is the likelihood that people working on these plantations have access to using social media to constantly tweet and Facebook about the conditions in which they work and live? Thus far, all the ‘information’ I receive about new ‘ethical’ products come from the consumer/company end and not the end of the actual people harvesting and living there. I do not want to imply that Nutiva is dishonest– I just wanted to put it out there that you just don’t know if you aren’t there where the resources come from.

(IF YOU SEE ANY TYPOS IN THIS POST, FEEL FREE TO POINT THEM OUT. MY COMPUTER SCREEN IS BROKEN. I NEED TO SEE THROUGH PINK AND PURPLES LINES IN ORDER TO TYPE. ) 

 

[Video]: “‘Nigger’ Hurts, and Never Heals”: Scars, A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England

Below is a video from me reading the first chapter from my new book Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England. I also need new reviewers for the book. Also, if you would like to invite me to speak at your event, institution, book store, or on your media outlet (i.e. radio show, blog, etc), please contact me at bookingbreezeharper@gmail.com.

The book can be purchased by clicking on the image of the book below.

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[Video] On Ferguson, Thug Kitchen &Trayvon Martin: Intersections of [Post] Race-Consciousness, Food Justice and Hip-Hop Veganism.

On October 22, 2104, I gave a lecture at Middlebury College. It was called On Ferguson, Thug Kitchen & Trayvon Martin: Intersections of [Post] Race-Consciousness, Food Justice and Hip-Hop Veganism.” 

Unfortunately, the recording quality of this video isn’t very good. The audio is very low, so I do apologize to the hearing impaired. I usually bring my own camera to record but I lost my SD Card, so the university fortunately recorded it. I do suggest that those who can hear well enough, to wear earphone on high while listening to this. I also had problems with trying to play various YouTube videos. The audio simply wouldn’t work, so I do apologize for that.

I really felt at home at Middlebury College for the brief time that I was there. I stayed at the Middlebury Inn. A 1/2 block away was the Middlebury Coop that had plenty of yummy vegan goods to select from. As usual, I brought my baby with me, across country, so I could nurse her on demand. At 11 months old, Kira has been to about 6 of my lectures now. I am incredibly thankful for all the students who helped to make my and Kira’s stay very nice.

Thank you Charles Griggs for initially inviting me to speak and organizing a dinner at the eco sustainable student coop. Charles and other students cooked an amazing vegan gourmet dinner. Vegan plant-meat based stroganoff with three different types of mushrooms, a golden beet and red beet fennel salad, an artichoke spinach dip, and for dessert, a chocolate smoothie made using sunflower seed butter. It was a delight! Thank you Andrew Scott Pester for helping with all the logistics, like hotel, contract signing, and hotel. Thanks Nina for watching Kira while I gave my talk. Thanks Matt for picking me up from the airport, so late at night.

Anyway, I really enjoyed giving this talk. It was challenging to take an intersectional approach to social justice issues surrounding race and food, but I wanted to do this so badly. I decided to use Thug Kitchen as a springboard to discuss issues ranging from white privilege, to Tupac Shakur’s “geographies of thug life”, to how race-conscious Black male vegans are using hip hop methodologies to promote racial justice, food justice, and combat the prison industrial complex.

I also wanted to share that one of my Sistah Vegan followers wrote me a comment that she didn’t understand what that big deal was about Thug Kitchen. I wanted to share my response to her comment which can be read fully here on this post. I thought it would be helpful to share my perspective and am thankful that she offered her take on ‘thug’ to engage me in thought-provoking conversation.

From Lorrie:

I don’t get this protest.

Going by the above post (especially the second paragraph), the disagreement is based ONLY on personal opinion. Some people DO like their cookbooks. Why protest just because you (you, I mean in general anyone) don’t like their cookbooks. To each their own. Were there complaints BEFORE they identified themselves?

Also, who cares what color they are? I know very little about them but I had assumed they were white all the time, because most vegans in America are white. Did they ever lie and say they were black? Had they been black then it would be OK for them to say “Thug” and use street slang, but being white it’s not alright?

Thug, to me, by they way they had used it, meant someone with a positive confident attitude.

Sorry, I just don’t understand all the negative hoopla about the authors and their book.

Breeze’s Response:

Lorrie

Thanks for posting your comments.

You wrote: “Thug, to me, by they way they had used it, meant someone with a positive confident attitude.”

There are thousands — and I mean thousands- of Black and Brown people who experience the word ‘thug’ differently, including myself– and [I figured this out] after I spent a good 6 months on my dissertation chapter, researching about Trayvon Martin and then making intersectional connections to the violence enacted upon him because he was demonized as a ‘thug’ who ‘deserved’ preemptive strike. This research came out of an entire canon of critical race studies that shows how ‘thug’ is part of a long history of words with a socio-historical context that are strategically used as tools of white supremacist based violence against Brown and Black people. As a social scientist focused on critical issues of race, feminism, and food, I’m interested in the fact that there are a significant number of Black and Brown people who have the exact same feelings that Liz does about Thug Kitchen…and that there are plenty of academic scholars who have written about the problem of using ‘thug’ as a code word for a ‘scary black man’ (See George Yancy’s critical race philosophical work like Look, A White!.)

Yes, there are a lot of people who like the Thug Kitchen blog and cookbooks— I’m not disputing that… But, there are also a lot of people who like to do and say things that will illicit horror and pain from us that are clearly speciesist. When we vegans protest it, we too are asked things like, “Who cares what people eat?” or “Who cares that that chef wrote a cookbook about how to eat veal and lamb?” I know these are not the same as your critique of Thug Kitchen controversy, but I know that you have mentioned in the past that you won’t read certain books that have speciesist language in them , even though these books don’t seem to traumatize nearly everyone else. I totally understood where you were coming from and would have understood why you would protest a book (not that you did that, but if you wanted to) because of that language used, in order to make people aware of the suffering the underlies such privileged use of speciesist language/behaviors.

It’s not that they are making a big deal about nothing, in my opinion. The book, the author’s white racialized consciousness around their use of the word thug (and not knowing why some people find it upsetting), simply reveal a more interesting microcosm about how race is lived in the USA for MOST white people; it says a lot that over 75% of white people in the USA only have white friends in their close friends network/developed intimate relationships with. I don’t think the authors are ‘bad’ people at all; as a matter of fact, I don’t even think that that is the point of this controversy. But, after nearly a month of this controversy and the the authors still haven’t even said something like the following, is a little confusing for a lot of us who support Liz’s stance—> [What Breeze would like them to say]—> “You know, not everyone experiences the word thug the same way. However, over the past few weeks, I realized that my own whiteness has pretty much protected me from the racialized history of ‘thug’— I would never be Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, or Jordan Davis because my whiteness protects me. It has protected me so much that for the past month, I simply could not understand how ‘thug’ could also be traumatizing for many– especially for those in Ferguson who are currently there to symbolize that Black and Brown people are sick of being born into this White settler nation in which they are immediately racialized as a ‘thug’. I had no idea that I could quite possibly be promoting blackface at a deeply unconscious level– I didn’t even know what it was or that it could manifest in different ways PAST literally painting a white person’s face with black paint…Even though we put a lot of effort into making this blog and cookbook fun for everyone, these past few weeks have allowed me to realize that there continues to be a lot of physical and emotional pain experienced by Brown and Black people in the USA, due to structural and systemic racism that I never really understood was still a problem because, like I said before, my whiteness protected me from it. Maybe I can start looking at how I can merge vegan activism with being a white ally anti-racist activist for my next book project. ”

My fantasy response above is called “cultural humility”, and is discussed in the book Pondering Privilege.

Just my two cents.

Thanks for discussing ;-)

Cruelty-Free Orgasm: The Art and Ethics of Sexual Pleasure

There are so many drugs and products out there that rely on the use of animal experimentation. Sexual products, such as prescription drugs to help with health sexual function are not exempt. Hypnosis Erotic offers the ethical and cruelty-free** solution to ethical vegans and vegetarians. See below some of Talmadge’s work with a couple to achieve orgasmic pleasure. Even though there is no nudity or sexual activity in this video, the moaning is quite loud, so please be careful when listening if you are in a public space– in particular, work. Use headphones. I appreciate that the Talmadge makes it clear in this video and many other of his products and videos that these products should be used responsibly and with consent.

You can find more out about Hypnosis Erotic at this link.

Enjoy :-) and if you like articles like these, please donate to the Sistah Vegan project.

 

Fashionable Resistance: The Art of Critical Thinking and Change Making

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My new custom made earrings arrived in the mail the other day. Many of you know that I’m into earrings that make a statement and usually depict my favorite Black “change makers”, such as Malcolm X. Well, the brilliant and fellow sistah vegan Mercedes Martin helped me continue my “fashionable resistance” by designing and making a pair of Zora Neale Hurston earrings for me.  I told her that I wanted Zora Neale Hurston on earrings. She took a famous photo that most of us Hurston fans know, and did her magic. The result is the above image. If you look closely you’ll notice that there are actual gems around Hurston’s neck that Mercedes glued onto the earrings. And on the other side of the earrings are these words:

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Mercedes used recycled material to make her jewelry and other fashionable items. She made my earrings out of repurposed event flyers. Click on the images above to see more of her work.

If you don’t know who Zora Neale Hurston is, consider reading her book Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Also, for a future Sistah Vegan endeavor, I will be collaborating with artists and designers to make a new line of Sistah Vegan “approved” jewelry called “Fashionable Resistance”, which will showcase the activists and scholars who have been influential as critical thinkers and change makers for my scholarship and activism, such as the Malcolm X earrings I am wearing in this photo below, designed by Charisma Eclectic, another fellow sistah vegan. I would love to showcase folk such as pattrice jones, Angela Davis, Bryant Terry, DJ Cavem,  Lauren Ornelas (Food Empowerment Project), Octavia Butler (vegan by the way) and Queen Afua (with proper permission from them of course). A Kickstarter campaign will be coming soon for that :-)

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Also, check on my newest book project G’s Up, Hoes Down: Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix). 

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.

slaughter
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:

fresh-fruit-hero
Source: http://modernfarmer.com/2013/07/fresh-fruit-broken-bodies-the-true-cost-of-our-produce/

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.

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