After Doug Jones’ Win: We are Activists, Not White America’s Mammy-Savior or Ignoble Savage

My thoughts on the recent “realization” (by the status quo) that Black women [have to] save the USA from white supremacy.  Should we be ‘honored’ of this recognition or not? I have mixed-strong feelings about the recent *news* (since the win of Doug Jones via Black women); how we supposedly have saved white America from themselves for decades and will have to continue to do so…usually without enough to thrive, struggling to make it on many fronts (materially, financially, etc).

Tarana Burke started the grassroots movement behind #metoo and doesn’t even make the cover of Time.

Remember it took Bree Newsome to literally climb up a poll and bring down that confederate flag?

Who founded Black Lives Matter after the murder of Trayvon Martin?: Black women.

I’m thinking of the plethora of Black women consistently fighting against ‘the system’– (not just FOR Black people, knowing full well that ‘the system’ isn’t there to support MOST people, so our work-activism-dedication end up benefiting the majority).

Simultaneously, what we do is [kind of] valued once it becomes trendy because the foundations we have built suddenly become the ‘ hip’ thing to do— especially if it makes certain neoliberal whites not [look] ‘racist’.

And one can’t forget the hundreds of Black women of the Black Panther party who laid the groundwork/blueprint for health and food activism that hundreds of organizations throughout the USA were inspired by (and continue to be).

Despite material realities of struggle, collectively, it has never been an excuse for us to feel powerless or do nothing– because that ‘excuse’ would be a privilege, wouldn’t it? 

And yet, at the end of so many of these Black women’s days, we don’t have the support we need to THRIVE. I could not believe it was acceptable for Rosa Parks to have died destitute, yet her struggle has been co-opted and exploited for years by the status quo while she remained  financially and materially insecure.

Dear white America: You may be into the whole ‘savior complex’ or seek to be ‘saved’ but this is an unfair burden put on the shoulders of Black women (as well as other non-white women, girls, and gender non-conforming non-white people in the USA).

Dear White America: You are dangerously walking on the fine line between [un]consciously expecting us to perform  Black mammy activism to save you from yourselves and expecting us to shut the f*ck up and ‘know our place’ when it doesn’t benefit you or your unacknowledged possessive investment in [neoliberal] whiteness.

Dear White America: Be careful not to narrate us through a new white imagination of ‘ignoble’ savage.

Do the work. Stop pretending you are helpless or don’t have the ‘natural’ courage and strength to do what is right [like Black women somehow ‘naturally’ can do]. Stop idolizing us only when it suits you and start dismantling this white supremacist system 24/7/365. 


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

New Initiative: Addressing Racial Inequities in Veganism and Animal Rights in the USA

Loading...

Loading…


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

White Supremacy and Buddhism in the USA (An Oldie but Goodie Critique)

I recorded this 5 years ago, but it still applies today.


Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

The Return of the N*gger Breakers: The [White Racist] Vegan Playbook

(This statement is within the context of living in white settler nations because I know this won’t apply to all): For a significant number of white vegans, giving up speciesist privilege is FAR MORE EASIER than giving up possessive investment in whiteness. Ethical veganism becomes a sort of ‘spiritual bypass’ masking new forms of white supremacist racist ‘logic’ that is then labeled as ‘post-human’ or ‘beyond the human’ condition (meaning humans need to only focus on the suffering of non-human animals and not human ‘identity politics’.). 

After the past few weeks of witnessing certain amazing vegans of color doing their anti-racism and animal rights *thang* and then they being viciously attacked by white vegans who are clearly using racist words/tactics, I continue to try to give this advice: please my VOCs, ignore them as much as possible and take care of yourselves. What they are doing is a combination of “strategic trolling” and what Ishmael Reed calls the “return of the n*gger-breakers“.  It ranges from DIRECT aggressive attacks to subtle and subversive attacks in order to TEAR YOU DOWN.

Their training grounds have been the white settler nations like the USA that have completely normalized the “n*gger-breaking” play-book since the inception of this racial caste system; or places like “progressive” Switzerland or Germany that don’t think they could ever be like USA’s ‘low brow’ racial bigots (after all, Europe is the center of ‘civilized’ and ‘moral’ [white] human beings!)

I have been the recipient of trying to be “broken” since I began the Sistah Vegan Project and dared to partake in social science inquiries of how race and gender shape the vegan consciousness of ethical vegans in the USA. From snarky white male professors who have tried to tear down my scholarship as unviable or ridiculous, to social media trolls who have rallied together to ‘prove’ that my engagement with anti-racism equals “white genocide,” I have experienced ’n*gger breaking’ first-hand on way too many accounts.  I have had passive aggressive comments made by white people who have attended my critical lectures about veganism and race that seek to strip me of my voice and put me back into that place [when America was ‘great’— but oh no, they would never align themselves with Trump publicly, at least].   During these lectures I simply articulate how being racialized in the USA means that veganism will be practiced in a way that reflects this. I then provide evidence that shows how systemic racism has material and psychic consequences that operates “even in ethical veganism and animal rights spaces”; it’s a reality.

I will never forgot the time when I originally posted the call for essays for the Sistah Vegan book in 2004 and the pages of comments that exploded from it from one particular forum. The forum site was called VeganPorn (nothing to do with porn but everything ‘vegan’). White vegans on that forum were completely angered and disgusted that I *dared* to inquire about how Black racial formation impacts Black women’s vegan practices. The pinnacle of their rage culminated with white vegans targeting my use of the word “sistah”; some stated that anyone who sounds like they were ‘born to a crack addicted mom should never complain about not getting a job.’ They then then launched a full-out racist minstrel show of pretending to ‘talk Black’ (infused with poor grammar and lots of swearing). It didn’t matter that the obvious outcome of the Sistah Vegan book would ultimately get more marginalized groups interested in becoming vegan or consider becoming animal rights activists. The mere fact I mentioned race was enough to try to *break* me and prevent me from crossing the epistemological borders of ‘white vegan [post-racial] logic and methods’ that pathologize Blackness without ever pathologizing or problematizing the inherent injustice, violence, and inequities of normative whiteness.

All of the above occurred in 2005 and I can’t say much has really changed as I enter 2018 and I continue giving talks and lectures, writing books, doing ethnographic research that focuses on black feminist theory, critical consumptions studies, and ethical veganism. [*Note: I turned that 2005 fiasco into an opportunity by using those racist rants about the Sistah Vegan call for papers as empirical data to show how covert whiteness operates. I did not reply to one racist vegan; instead, I discursively analyzed what was occurring on the cyberspace forum. I earned the Dean’s award for my Masters Thesis work at Harvard University in 2007.]

Giving up possessive investment in whiteness is HARDER than giving up speciesist privilege— particularly since going vegan is primarily enacted through objects of consumption. Going vegan replaces cow milk with soy milk and leather jackets with PVC….But giving up possessive investment in whiteness? Oh, I don’t think there are any cute and yummy replacements for that.

Veganism isn’t just about consumption, but I repeat: it is primarily enacted through objects of consumption which comes by way of access, choice, and consumer privileges (which comes out of a racial and classed organizing of resources and power in which the primary beneficiaries are the collectivity of white people living in white settler nations– check out my dissertation work here that explains this  as well as the co-authored report Dismantling Racism in the Food System which also articulates how the resource of (and ‘easier’ access to) food (including vegan food) is raced and classed in the USA.

What is it about bringing up racial violence within a white supremacist racial caste system that gets so many white vegans so damn angry and enraged— ready to attack and “break” us, beat us with words? [Because now that it’s illegal to beat us with whips and other weapons, they really only have just ‘words’ as whips and chains]. 

White Allies: If you are in fact an ‘ally’, do not remain silent when other white folk (vegan or not) engage in n*gger breaking in its various forms ( Black racialized subjects are not the only ones who are targets…). I have met so many white folk who tell me they witnessed horrendous racist behavior from white vegans yet did nothing because they didn’t want to get involved, hurt feelings, or burn bridges or ruin friendships. Hell no, are you joking? You cannot remain neutral on a white supremacist high speed train in which the driver has fallen asleep. “Oh, I don’t want to hurt their feelings and ‘wake’ them up because I might embarrass them for falling asleep on the job [of being fully loving human being],” is going to get us ALL KILLED.   If your physical safety or job security aren’t in jeopardy then speak up and act as an ally. I don’t want to hear any more excuses. And though not completely unrelated, please remember the request I made this past summer after the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville.


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

Jesus would not buy that 65″ flat screen tv (Thoughts on Black Friday)

I admit it: Black Friday both depresses and scares the sh*t out of me. I see images of people flooding stores, running over others, to get a “deal” for Xmas presents…. And it makes me kind of hopeless because yea, CEOs become richer and there are no elves that make these presents, just thousands of people who are in horrible work conditions(I know not all, but a significant number) to make ‘presents that show our love’ a reality.

Yes, I’m ruining most folks’ Black Friday by noting this, but it’s something I can’t not share. This is what happens when the parents who raised me basically told me they didn’t feel like ‘buying’ into Christmas in order to make the 1% richer while millions of people in the USA go more into debt and become more stressed trying to ‘prove’ their love to family and friends through objects that most likely have a genealogy embedded in capitalist exploitation.

My biggest challenge is convincing my family (in-laws, extended, etc) why I do not have a strong preference to “celebrate” it in the traditional [neoliberal capitalist] way without being read as “mean” or “fundamentalist”. I already got flack when my children told one of them that there is no Santa Claus (because I showed them the horrible conditions in which most toys are made–). If it were JUST me and my kids I personally would not buy them anything, but life is never that simple when there is family involved who sincerely want to show their love and how they celebrate through buying gifts. (I want to acknowledge that I do know many folk buy during Black Friday because they can finally afford something they need that has nothing to do with buying a gift for a friend or family member to show their love.)

Of course this isn’t just during Christmas, as most products marketed to us as “the cure to everything– including how to show your friends and family you love them” *most* of the time comes out of systemic violence of humans, non-human animals, and natural resources. What would Jesus do on Black Friday? He would probably protest the capitalist system and fight for the most vulnerable who are its prey and not be running to BestBuy to get that 65″ flat screen tv that is on sale.

Black Friday/Christmas is a touchy subject for me to bring up, so I already expect my view to be the minority in this and illicit some anger from what I have written.

For Black Friday, I like the idea of donating as a monthly contributor to an organization or movement that is fighting for the most vulnerable and trying to dismantle the system that continue to benefit the 1% the most.


Dr. A. Breeze Harper (Photo Credit: Sun Harper-Zahn)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

Trauma, Triggers, and Stress of Thanksgiving as Vegans [of Color]: A Little Hack

I know that Thanksgiving can also be a ‘triggering’ and ‘traumatic’ time for many people for many reasons. As a vegan, I find the images of dead Turkeys to ‘bring families together’ very saddening and frustrating now that I have shifted my consciousness around pain and suffering since childhood. I never thought about Turkeys as anything past an edible food for my stomach when I was a child and teenager. It never occurred to me that they are not anythings– they aren’t things at all– they are living beings with sentience and the capacity to bond and love; with families and friends they enjoy being with. I now see that those turkeys on plates are a reminder of how neatly packaged and narrated the normalization of violence and suffering is for children (like myself when growing up) who learned about the place of turkeys though innocent films, cartoons, and picture books about Thanksgiving…and once we enter adulthood it simply sticks as ‘common sense’ that the only purpose of turkeys is to ‘bring [human] families together’.

Another reason I find Thanksgiving difficult are the images of indigenous people and Europeans delightfully eating together that I was inundated[ and still am] with through various mainstream media sources…only to find out that over the course of several hundred years (since that first supposed ‘meal together’), thousands of European whites would enact genocide of indigenous Americans and antebellum slavery of Africans through a white supremacist racist-colonialist-capitalist logic.

But I also know that for many of us vegans [of color] in the USA, we are expected to participate in Thanksgiving with family that either don’t appreciate veganism or do not want to consider how and why Thanksgiving is problematic on many levels. The video below talks about immunity and digestive health and I wanted to add that this should be part of self-care and I hope it is a way to deal withe the multiple stresses that Thanksgiving can bring to many of us who are vegans of color. I also acknowledge that access to food– for festivities or not– is a privilege, as well as the choice to select what you do and do not want to eat. If you do have access to fresh ginger and turmeric (see video below) I hope it can be one of many methods to get through Thanksgiving stress of maybe talking about why you don’t believe in eating a Turkey to your uncle again or explaining to  extended family members the problems of European colonialism and its current day consequences (systemic racism, health disparities, etc) on the collective lives of non-white folk in the USA.

I did this video below as tip for my new Black feminist hack of mothering project called Slacker Hacker Mom. 


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

Top 5 Books: Critical Race Approaches to Veganism and Animal Rights 


1. Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters. Aph and Syl Ko.

In this lively, accessible, and provocative collection, Aph and Syl Ko provide new theoretical frameworks on race, advocacy for nonhuman animals, and feminism. Using popular culture as a point of reference for their critiques, the Ko sisters engage in groundbreaking analysis of the compartmentalized nature of contemporary social movements, present new ways of understanding interconnected oppression’s, and offer conceptual ways of moving forward expressive of Afrofuturism and black veganism. (Quoted from Amazon.com)


2. Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Identity. Dr. A. Breeze Harper.

Sistah Vegan is not about preaching veganism or vegan fundamentalism. Rather, the book is about how a group of black-identified female vegans perceive nutrition, food, ecological sustainability, health and healing, animal rights, parenting, social justice, spirituality, hair care, race, gender-identification, womanism, and liberation that all go against the (refined and bleached) grain of our dysfunctional society. (Quoted from Amazon.com)


3. Veganism in an Oppressive World: A Vegans-of-Color Community Project. Julia Feliz.

Through the voices of vegans of color, Veganism in an Oppressive World will revolutionize the way you see our movement. A must read for new vegans and seasoned nonhuman animal activists alike, this community-led effort provides in-depth, first-hand accounts and analyses of what is needed to broaden the scope of veganism beyond its current status as a fringe or “single-issue” movement while ensuring that justice for nonhumans remains its central focus.

This collection of academic essays, personal reflections and poetry critically examines the state of the mainstream nonhuman animal rights movement while imparting crucial perspectives on how to build a movement that is inclusive, consistent, and effective.


4. The Oxen at the Intersection: A Collision (or, Bill and Lou Must Die: A Real-Life Murder Mystery from the Green Mountains of Vermont) . pattrice jones.

This is a brilliant book by pattrice jones. jones, a dedicated vegan activist, primary care giver at Vine Sanctuary, and anti-racism activist (to name a few) 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.


5. Vegan Consciousness and the Food Commodity Chain: On the Neoliberal, Afrocentric, and Decolonial Politics of ‘Cruelty-Free’. Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. Harper analyzes how neoliberal whiteness, race consciousness, decolonization, and anti-racism operate within three different vegan food guides: PETA’s Vegan Shopping Guide, Queen Afua’s Sacred Woman, and Food Empowerment Project’s Ethical Food Choices. PETA, Queen Afua, and Food Empowerment Project are all located within the landscape of vegan politics to produce “ethical” spaces across multiple scales (i.e. consciousness, the body and the home). However, these three sites represent different engagements with vegan food commodities for achieving ethical consumption within a white supremacist racial caste and capitalist system. 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. This manuscript reveals that these ‘differing’ vegan guides, actually effect and are affected by whiteness; both in its historical (i.e. colonial whiteness and Jim Crow segregation) and contemporary forms (i.e. neoliberal whiteness). These connections will be revealed and articulated through the primary framework of critical race materialism and the lens of critical food studies. Download the manuscript here.


Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.

Vegan Insignia Earrings: Brilliant, Beautiful, and Fashionable Resistance by Envision Positive

I saw these at Chicago Vegan Mania this past fall. I just had to have them. A lot of you know I’m all about my ‘fashionable resistance’ earrings. You’ve seen me wear my Angela Davis earrings, my Malcolm X ones, Black Lives Matter, and Nina Simone to name a few. Now, here are my awesome vegan insignia ones.

You can get them at Envision Positive here. 


 

[Event] The Black Radical Tradition, Food Justice, and Vegan Hip Hop Methodologies (Whitman College)

 

 

Upcoming talk in Walla Walla, WA by Dr. A. Breeze Harper: “Sustainability Remixed: The Black Radical Tradition, Food Justice, and Vegan Hip Hop Methodologies.”

Date: November 9 2017

Time: 7pm-8pm

Location: Maxey Auditorium, Whitman College, Walla Walla WA

Diversity, Inclusion, and Disrupting ‘Professional’ Spaces as a [Black] Nursing Mom Doing Anti-Racism Work

 

Dr. A. Breeze Harper wearing Maison Lucine professional nursing dress (Photo Credit: Dr. Oliver Zahn)

I travel to discuss and motivate people to take action against systemic racism and white supremacy within veganism , animal rights, and beyond. I founded the LLC Critical Diversity Solutions with Elise Aymer which is a DEI strategic consulting business.

On October 16 I showed up at Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland OR for Animal Grantmakers annual conference. Not only was I one of two Black speakers and participants during the entire event, I was the only one who brought a child. During my 2.5 day stay there, I had seen no one bring a child into the hotel which is a primary point of business stay. I spent about 8 hours in the lobby area (where I worked while a baby sitter took care of my child or I chilled out with my child when the babysitter wasn’t there).

It is rare that professionals travel with their kids in the USA . I do. I don’t hide it and in many spaces, I stick out as not just the only Black professional but the only one who dares to bring her baby with her to nurse on demand since that is a food justice issue.

Most intriguing is whether or not to enter the often mostly men-dominated spaces of end of the day professional conference culture of bars– all while a tv channel is on about baseball, basketball, or football.

Disrupting this space with a nursing baby attached to a Black bodied cisgender woman is both frightening and revolutionary. Sometimes I do it and sometimes I don’t.

I think about how I have my sh*t together (at least when it comes to delivering what I’ve been hired to do– my messy house is another story, ha!) , I am well prepared and always deliver what I came to do in innovative and skillful ways. All this while taking care of a baby more than 25 times while traveling over the last eight years while each of my four kids were under two years of age. I have often been sleep deprived due to caring for them during the night– but I deliver!!

I often wonder what it is like to travel as a white and cisgender man into these spaces with no children in tow as well as rarely having to worry about other safety issues such as navigating safely through red counties, informal sundown towns, or even navigating spaces in which you can be the recipient of sexual harassment or assault(yes it is all genders who are victims but it is highly and disproportionately women and girls in the work place in the USA).


The dresses I am wearing in these photos is a nursing dress by Ingrid Jones and her company Maison Lucine. The one right above is “cruelty free” , sweatshop free, and ingeniously designed. You unzip the area where the breasts are to nurse, but you can’t see it because it is well hidden. If you don’t believe in wearing animal based leathers, no worries, my dress has faux leather and is suitable for ethical vegetarians. Ingrid has three young kids and her innovation has allowed me to look fashionable and professional while still being able to nurse without hassle. Dresses are named after influential women like Amelia Earhart which is the one I’m wearing above.

This is what the world of business and innovation looks like when designed by under represented groups like moms of color in the USA– a country that continues to not support us structurally and institutionally and expects us to choose a “paid job/career without kids” or “stay home and parent your kids without pursuing a career.”

Each mom is unique. What’s your hack when it comes to traveling with children for your work– especially if you are nursing on demand?

These are my observations as SlackerHackerMom, my new Black feminist hack into mothering and beyond. Don’t worry, we aren’t getting rid of Sistah Vegan, but SlackerHackerMom will be launching in early 2018.

Got to www.slackerhackermom.com  

and sign up to be notified.


Dr. A.Breeze Harper (Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has a PhD in Critical Food Geographies. She is the creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and the editor of the ground-breaking anthology, Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak On Food, Identity, Health, and Society, is a sought-after speaker, writer, and consultant at Critical Diversity Solutions (www.criticaldiversitysolutions.com).

Her most recently published book is Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014). Scars interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of protagonist 18 year old Savannah Sales, the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. In 2018, her latest book project will be published, tentatively titled Black Mama Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, And Toddler Tantrums .

Overall, Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression- namely racism and normative whiteness- operate within the USA. She uses food and ethical consumptions cultures, within North America, to explore these systems. Her favorite tools of analysis are critical whiteness studies, decolonial world systems theory, Black feminisms, critical race feminism, critical animal studies, and critical food studies. She is known for using engaged Buddhism as the choice method to explain her research and broach these often difficult topics of power, privilege, and liberation.

Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. Her talks explore how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality and physical abilities.

If you are interested in having A. Breeze Harper speak at your college, conference or organization please contact her at breezeharper@gmail.com. Learn more about her on her author and publications page here.