[Video] The Problem with Appropriating Representations of Black Oppression within the Vegan and Animal Rights Community without Challenging White Supremacy

Liz Ross was the Keynote speaker for the Sistah Vegan conference 2015, “The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter.” Below she was a co presenter at another event in which she and Alvarez gave a talk: “The Problem with Appropriating Representations of Black Oppression within the Vegan and Animal Rights Community without Challenging White Supremacy” (which is towards the end of this blog post)

I posted this video below because over the last few day on the Sistah Vegan Facebook page, some people have been arguing that one cannot be anti-racist and anti-speciesist at the same time, while others say that it is possible to engage in both. Most interestingly to me, one or two people have argued that I use nearly the same white supremacist anti-speciesist framing of veganism that people like Gary Yourofsky do– despite me writing that I critique the comparison narrative (at least that is what I thought I had been doing these past 5+ years when I speak of intersections and systems not comparisons being equal).

In addition, I have seen myself as always having engaged with problems of how whiteness defines veganism, animal liberation, and speciesism as well as the challenges amongst Black people (which you can find some examples here, over here, and also here…Then again, that is how I understood what I was doing). Basically, I prefer taking intersectional and systemic approaches to speciesism, centering dismantling systemic racism, and dismantling white supremacy.

No need to defend me as some of you have felt compelled to do. I am not looking for validation at all. If you come into this world thinking that even your most sincere and best intentions will be received this way by everyone, then you are setting yourself up for frustration, suffering, and disappointment for potentially your whole life time (I had to learn this 1/2 way through my work). I am just sharing I can only do my best, not hold on so much to what everyone thinks about my work or my intention, and keep on learning from agreement and disagreement– as it impossible for me to control how my work and videos are interpreted by folk 🙂

Below is a good framing of how I us speciesism. I do not completely agree with everything, but most of it aligns pretty much with how I work with the concept of speciesism within critical race feminist and critical whiteness studies frameworks. The way I enact it also, is through the Buddhadharma and the principles of alleviating suffering of all beings (non-human and human); through compassionate language and non-judgement when trying to talk about these difficult subjects.

Liz Ross (who spoke in the video above) gave the keynote lecture at our Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter conference this past spring 2015 and you can learn more by clicking below.


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Like what the Sistah Vegan Project Does? Find out about our 2016 upcoming conference “The Role of Foodie+Tech Culture in an Era of Systemic Racism and Neoliberal Capitalism”.

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