Dear white Vegans: This is Your Collection Agency Calling
This shit white vegans call “speciesism,” where human beings are supposedly “privileged” as a species over animals, doesn’t exist and here’s a reason why: there are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the US as there are shelters for battered women and their children. And this isn’t a new phenomenon. It is far less political, controversial, and socially inflammatory to house animals than it is to house abused women, which should immediately demonstrate structural priorities and “privileges” when it comes to these two “species.”
When white vegans compare the consumption of certain animals to racism, they are drawing a figurative comparison between human beings (who “oppress” animals) and white people (who oppress POC). By that white logic, they are also drawing a figurative comparison between animals (“oppressed” by human beings) and POC (oppressed by white people). This means they are reproducing the same kind of racist arguments that equate white folks with human beings and POC with animals. Sitting on my privileged white ass eating a hamburger is not now and will never be the same as racism.
The cruelty, brutality, and abuse of factory farming is reprehensible. No one is denying that. But when white vegans compare eating meat to genocide, they ignore that this small privileged demographic (in comparison to the global population) is consuming excessive amounts of meat, which doesn’t even nearly constitute the same worldwide oppression and genocide POC experience. Claiming animals deserve the same civil/human rights as POC suggests that their experiences are identical, and once again equates people of color with animals.
Consider the racial and class privilege white vegans have when making these dietary decisions in the midst of numerous farmer’s markets, health food stores, or accessible concentrations of grocery stores period. Whether it’s the ability to afford organic produce or the individual free time to prepare vegan meals, privileged personal consumer choices are not a solution to the abuse of factory farming or the social inequalities of racial oppression. Vegans with white skin maintain considerable white privilege over human beings of color who contend with the institutional and environmental racism of being segregated into neighborhoods without grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or spare land for home vegetable gardens.
As a side note: refusal to wear animal products like skins, furs, and/or leather does not morally free white vegans from wearing clothing made by oppressed people of color in sweat shops—even if that clothing comes from a thrift store.
Vegans, and white folks in general, are not qualified to compare or equate racial oppression with other forms of oppression (real or invented), because we do not know what racial oppression is like from our own experience. When millions of domesticated animals eat better than millions of POC living in poverty, a white justice crusade of personal food politics on the behalves of “oppressed” animals becomes its own punchline. What’s next? Extraterrestrialism? Where aliens oppress human beings with the use of anal probes? Wow, wait a second… isn’t it mostly white rednecks who get anally probed? Did I just discover reverse racism in extraterrestrials? Alert the white liberal media, yall.