Fairy Tales and Cowlifornia Nightmarin': Who Else is Sick of the Sugarcoating of the Endless Nightmare of Systemic Oppression?

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I am sitting at Coffee Conscious cafe in Berkeley CA right now. A truck just pulled up and parked on the side of the road. It is a Clover Farms truck filled with cow dairy milk products. I took a picture and added my own text to what I would like the truck advertisement to reveal.

Nothing is as infuriating as constantly being bombarded with imagery that continues to create myths around the lives of non-human and human beings who are exploited, abused, and suffer immensely to fulfill the desires of certain human beings within a capitalist system– because capitalism cannot be ‘successful’ without these constant fairy tales and myths that distract one from what is really going on.

Just wanted to remind many of you that most white people found comfort in the myth that Black cisgender women’s bodies and reproductive purpose were there to make white Americans happy and thrive during antebellum slavery and Jim Crow era. Black women’s bodies where supposed to build and feed this nation on many levels. It was advertised everywhere in the same mythic way that companies such as Clover Farms does for cows…(And make no mistake: That comfort and myth are still believed today as Black women’s bodies are still packaged and sold via very racist-sexualized fairy tales in a post-Civil Rights era. The language has changed but the intention is still there).

Aunt Jemima Brands were notorious for selling the idea to white Americans that Black cisgender women’s bodies existed to happily feed the nation, despite the reality of how violent and cruel antebellum slavery and Jim Crow eras were for Black people.

Aunt Jemima brand was notorious for selling the idea to white Americans that Black cisgender women’s bodies existed to happily feed the nation; despite the reality of how violent and cruel antebellum slavery and Jim Crow eras were for Black people.  (Photo Source: http://abhmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/auntjemima.jpg)

And please do not assume I am making the comparison that Black people and cows are suffering the same way today (past or present). Both suffer within a system of racism, speciesism, capitalism, etc., to name a few. What I am more interested in is showing that there is a complacency around the mainstream to critically analyze and question the narratives that are presented to most of us. I can’t tell you how many times I have to keep on repeating to ‘post-racial’ [white] people that the narratives, myths, and fairy tales they encounter about Black Lives Matters (i.e., that racism isn’t really an  issue anymore) are just that: myths and fairy tales! Our suffering is real and overall, white America is complicit and complacent. The constant repetition of these myths is mind-boggling. My mind is going through the same frustration when I observe cartoon-like fairy tale advertisements about non-human animals farmed for human consumption. These animals are always depicted as happy and love being available for human needs and desires, which is an absolute lie. What really frustrates me is that most post-racial white vegans become ‘irritated’ about being asked to engage with the meaning of Black Lives Matter (or the importance of anti-racism within anti-speciesism). Simultaneously, they will become upset if non-vegans believe the hype about happy cows and then don’t question the myth around the happy images of cows like the ones on Clover Farms truck ad. For this demographic of mostly white vegans I have encountered over the past 10 years, here are some questions: Why is it much easier to overcome the myth of happy cows than it is to overcome the myth that systemic racism and white supremacy doesn’t exist? That despite the token images of happy Obama (our first Black president) and happy Oprah Winfrey, most Black people in the USA are not happy with the current state of racial power dynamics within the USA?

I ask these above questions in light of having recently become broken hearted over the implications of the post tweeted out by Vegan Revolution and the obsession that a significant number of white vegans and AR folk have with appropriating Black Lives Matters by posting signage that depicts “All Lives Matter“.  You may not realize it, but depending on the context, you are potentially creating myths and making invisible, the suffering caused by systemic white supremacy and anti-Black violence in the USA. If the image that I post at the beginning of this blog is heart-breaking to you (because you know that it creates myths that perpetuate suffering of cows), can you now understand how depictions of “All Lives Matter” is potentially colluding with the same type of myth-making?


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Also, download the Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matters spring 2015 conference recordings and learn about our 2016 conference, ” The Role of Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism (Challenges and Possibilities).

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9 thoughts on “Fairy Tales and Cowlifornia Nightmarin': Who Else is Sick of the Sugarcoating of the Endless Nightmare of Systemic Oppression?

  1. Great post. You would think people who claim to be compassionate and progressive wouldn’t have so much trouble making the connections.

    1. I think as human beings, we are all always working towards 100% compassion and that perhaps we will never get there before we die, but we are on the route, once we take that vow to alleviate suffering and be compassionate. I’m still learning and learning to make those connections. Remember, for a long time, I was ignorant of cissexism yet considered myself ‘compassionate’….

  2. Breeze, this is beautiful. I love that you felt so much solidarity with survivors of dairying that you felt impelled to respond… and then wrote about that moment in such a way as to bring so many intersections to light. I’ll share the link to this with VINE Sanctuary supporters, and also remind you that you are welcome to write a guest post for our blog ANYTIME. xopj

    1. Thanks pattrice. I edited it a bit just now. Saw a few typos that could make my message a little unclear.

      Feel free to repost anything from my blog as well.

      When Things settle down I’d like to do a guest post on VINE blog. You may just have to nudge me a bit to remember!

  3. Hi Dr. Breeze,

    I have a question about a portion of your post above that I’m hoping that you can break down for me. You introduced me to the intersections within veganism (racism, classism, etc) and I first found the Sistah Vegan Project online I jus absorbed everything that I read and learned. I have some questions now though, because I see a number of holes in these comparisons.

    You say: And please do not assume I am making the comparison that Black people and cows are suffering the same way today (past or present).

    But then you say: Both suffer within a system of racism, speciesism, capitalism, etc., to name a few.

    What exactly does this mean. From my understanding you believe that it is possible to be anti-speciesist AND anti-racist? To me this is impossible and makes no sense.

    I hope that you can help me understand your points and if I am missing something.

    Thank you.

    1. I nerver understand this…why is it impossible to be anti-speciesist and anti-racist? I heard this said before, together with the comment, that white people can’t be victims of racism. please explain I am honestly curious.

  4. What kind of myths around black people do you mean. (this must sound super ignorant but I live in Switzerland and I guess our narratives are extremly different from American ones.) Are there certain adds? Why Oprah?
    I fully understand how the myths about animals work (they are ‘oh so happy’ to be exploited). It annoys me to see those adds, now that I am aware of it. But I am not sure something like this exists for black people here, since the population is really extremly small. So please give some examples so I can see if I am simply blind to it or if the story in switzerland is different.

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