Facebook, thank you for allowing Ben Carson to advertise on Facebook. He is an Islamaphobe and plants seeds of hate which give people the idea that violence against anyone who is Muslim is ‘acceptable’. Don’t you understand that violent actions are planted by seeds of hate? How do we know he won’t make the next domestic terrorist in the USA who decides to kill or hurt Muslims because of what he has said and keeps on saying?
I thought hate speech and hate groups were not allowed on Facebook, no? I guess hate is subjective!!! (sigh). Just wondering if Facebook can try harder to not support those who plant seeds of hate and create terrorists through racism, Islamaphobia, etc. There is plenty of social science evidence out there that shows that supporting hate creates an inequitable society filled with those who accept violence as the norm to those they have been mis-taught to believe ‘don’t belong’ or deserve no ‘human rights’… or even deserve to be seen as not human.
Thanks so much for taking his money (because at the end, it’s all about profit) and upholding his ‘free [hate] speech’. (Sarcasm and frustration)
I am not dismissing the pain and suffering of France’s people right now. This post does not seek to do that at all. Regardless of nationality or ethnicity, I know the pain and suffering are real and I have deep empathy and sympathy and…
I am wondering why the USA mainstream media outlets have reported so much about the horrible tragedy in Paris and not so much about Beirut? I’m actually wondering if we can have a fruitful conversation about selective grief and outrage when it comes to the USA mainstream population’s response to certain tragedies…and the perceptions we have about ‘white-dominated’ nations versus ‘those darker nations’?
When the Kenya massacre happened at their Garissa University, I have to admit: none of my white friends heard of it or if they did, it didn’t seem to draw up a lot of grief and anxiety that it did with the brown and black friends in my circle. This is my personal experience.
If it had only been Beirut, would we be so deeply moved (and by ‘we’, I meant mainstream USA) by the tweets coming out of Lebanon?
My heart and positive energy go out to all those in Paris and Beirut, as well as all of those who have been victims of terrorism through the world…and even more to those whose stories will never make it to the USA’s mainstream news media outlets because often, When You’re Brown, Your Screams Make No Sound….Your Face Cannot Be Found…
No, France is not an all white country, but the narrative in the USA is that France is occupied by mostly white bodies and is basically a ‘white’ and ‘civilized’ nation. Not all the victims were ‘white’, but I wonder how the narrative of France as a ‘white’ nation plays into how tragedy is reported to the USA mainstream and how they envision the bodies/identities of those who were killed.
My apologies for not having the direct source…but I remember several years ago there were protests in France by an African immigrant community, because of the horrible ways they were being treated in terms of housing rights. I will never forget the image of a white French police officer attacking an African mom with her baby wrapped to her back who was simply protesting with a sign. He threw her down on the ground and she fell on top of the baby. That baby was crying after their head hit the ground. I was terrified that he could do this. I was terrified that he didn’t give a damn about the newborn baby attached to that woman’s back. As I type this I want to vomit, thinking about that rolling image that won’t leave my mind. I am remembering that that white police officer did not show any remorse about how he treated that woman and her baby. A newborn baby!!!!! This may seem like a random sharing, but it is not. I began thinking about how and why that was not considered ‘terrorizing’ her and why there was no outrage about that video footage in the USA or how the African immigrants were being treated/terrorized by the white French mainstream population. When she fell down to the ground and her newborn baby’s head smashed down onto the pavement, I couldn’t help but to think, “If I were there, protesting because my human rights were being taken away because I am Black or African, he would do the same thing to me. He would have seen me as deserving to be terrorized and no one in the [white] world would do anything about it…But I don’t have to be there for that to happen, as this could easily happen in the USA as well because it has already happened and continues to; it’s just not called terrorism and the brown bodied victims are not seen as ‘innocent.'” Black people are, by default, deserving of preemptive strike and do not deserve to have tears shed over them in the way that white ‘terrorized’ bodies do is what is usually depicted by mainstream USA media.
Last night I was outraged. I cried about Beirut. I cried about Paris. I cried about a whole lot more as I thought about all the forms of terrorism that happen every second…and how the mainstream in the USA are simply trained to mis-know terrorism in a very biased way (i.e. ISIS is terrorism only; i.e. all Muslims = ISIS; terrorism is only done by brown and black people white people or white dominated nations could never enact terrorism).
[And yes, I expect quite a few people to express anger over my blog post. My intention is to point out what I see “as the obvious”… and I hope that these questions I have put out there can help some of us realize how unconscious bias influences us to ‘feel’ more for certain groups of people over others…and what actions we can actively engage in to not plant the seeds of terrorist actions (which include more than just ISIS, and can be found here in the USA. SPLC tracks groups with terrorist patterns/behaviors within the USA)]
I have spent the last 10 years writing and giving lectures about how whiteness impacts ethical consumption and beyond in the USA. The number 1 theme of confusion I have encountered, about this topic of race and whiteness, is from mostly white people who literally do not understand how race and racialization are historically, socially, physically, geographically, and legally constituted. Most white identified people who have spent their formative years in the USA or other white dominated societies, seem to believe that race is simply a “skin color” with certain phenotypes like ‘blonde hair’ or ‘thin lips’ as race markers; even more so, most think racism is not a significant impediment to equity and inclusion, despite the rigorous post-2000 data showing otherwise. For this demographic, race is simply ‘skin color’ and basically a ‘thing of the past’….
…But nothing could be further from the truth.
Several major questions I have asked in response to [white] constructions of race being about ‘skin color’ have been:
If race is just about ‘skin color’, then why have I constantly been told that I sound ‘white’? How can one possibly ‘hear’ one’s skin color?
If race is just about skin color, why was my newborn baby in 2009, who was born with very fair skin and bright blue eyes and straight brown hair considered to be ‘Black’ by some yet “White” by others?
In SPLC’s latestTeaching Tolerance newsletter, H. Richard Milner IV’s work is cited. I took a screenshot of how SPLC is teaching people about how the concept of race operates beyond the skin color myth. (See below)
Toolkit for “Excerpt: Getting Real About Race” in the Ethical Consumption World
Notice: This is a draft work in progress and will grow over time…..
Mainstream USA has a difficult time getting real about the complexities of race and power, its history, politics, etc; especially those who are racially privileged and never had to think about race.
This toolkit was tailored from the original one, “Excerpt: Getting Real About Race“, which focused more on K-12 schooling experience. I will use this toolkit to provide questions to guide reflection and discussion on how the physical, social, legal and historical constructions of race impact those involved in the ethical consumption sectors, ranging from veganism, to animal rights, to ‘good food’.
In Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms, H. Richard Milner IV writes, “Educators tend to struggle to address race and how it informs their work with students, parents, communities, and colleagues.” He proposes a nuanced way to conceptualize race as physical, social, legal and historical constructions. What follows are short excerpts from Rac(e)ing to Class and guiding questions that I adapted for ethical consumption. Please use these as tools for yourself as well as your community or place of work.
How do the physical, social, legal and historical constructions of race affect the ethical consumption community that I am involved with?
You can use the four questions as prompts for journal writing and silent reflection. Or, have the questions available to help facilitate a group discussion about race among colleagues. Or, you can do both.
Race is physically constructed.
In Rac(e)ing to Class, Milner writes:
Based on skin pigmentation, people in society construct ideas, characteristics, images, and belief systems about themselves and others. These physical constructions are sometimes inaccurate, but they remain nevertheless. It is important to note that physical constructions of race vary from one society to the next. For instance, constructions of race in Africa and Asia are different from constructions of race based on phenotype in North America.
1. Give an example of how race is physically constructed in ethical consumption.
2. How does the physical construction of race affect you personally or how your engage in ethical consumption?
3. How does the physical construction of race affect the demographics you are servicing and/or educating about ethical consumption?
For example, why are darker skin people who are ‘fat’, targeted as needing to be ‘educated’ more about ethical consumption than white and skinny people? How and why does racialization play a role in intersections of skin color, body size, and ethics?
4. How does the physical construction of race impact the ethical consumption sector you are involved in?
Race is socially constructed.
In Rac(e)ing to Class, Milner writes:
“Based on a range of societal information and messages, people categorize themselves and others. These social constructions are linked to preferences, worldviews, and how groups of people perform. They are based on a range of perspectives drawn from people’s interpretation of history and law, and they shape how we think about individuals and groups of people.”
I would add that most people are completely unconscious about how their interpretations and perceptions are racially biased.
1. Give an example of how race is socially constructed in ethical consumption.
2. How does the social construction of race affect you as well as how you engage in ethical consumption or even receive its teachings?
3. How does the social construction of race affect the people you work with or service within your sector of ethical consumption?
4. How does the social construction of race impact your organization or business?
Race is legally constructed.
In Rac(e)ing to Class, Milner writes:
“U.S. laws have helped us construct what race is. Landmark cases and legal policies such as the Naturalization Law (1790), Plessy v. Ferguson(1896), Takao Ozawa v. United States (1922), Brown v. Board of Education (1954), and Milliken v. Bradley (1974) have all influenced our constructions and definitions of race in U.S. society.”
1. Give an example of how race is legally constructed in your life/culture/society.
2. How does the legal construction of race affect your engagement with ethical consumption?
3. How does the legal construction of race affect the demographics you primarily service or work with (i.e., clients, customers, students, patients, etc)?
4. How does the legal construction of race impact your organization or business’s construction of ethical consumption?
If you are involved in the animal rights and/or vegan movement, do you employ images such as the above without understanding that legally, Black people were never considered human but actually animals (in the Eurocentric speciesist and colonialist racist way), while the collectivity of white people were legally constituted as fully human?
Are you aware that even though lynching Black people in the USA by using ropes and trees is illegal now, there are still legal ways to “lynch” Black people– most notably, racial profiling and deadly assaults by police officers who are still deeply impacted by the historical and legal common practices of traditionally lynching Black people?
The image also implies that race and racism are no longer significant impediments to health, happiness, and safety in Black people’s lives. It also implies that those using this image have not read the comprehensive canon of post-2000 social science and legal studies that show that white USA mainstream still conceptualize Black people as animals and deserving of being “lynched”– albeit not from ropes and trees, but for being things like too ‘uppity’ towards the police like Sandra Bland supposedly was; or being shot when you are a 12 year old boy (Tamir Rice) because systemic negrophobia has created [un]conscious racialized bias in the minds of the mainstream population who believe a little Black boy can look like a threatening “big scary” Black man.
Race is historically and geographically* constructed.
(Note: in the Original toolkit, geography is not part of racialization, but as a cultural food geographer, I cannot help but to add geography into the mix)
In Rac(e)ing to Class, Milner writes:
Historical realties of how people have been treated and have fared in a society steeped in racism and oppression also shape the ways in which people understand, talk about, and conceptualize race. For instance, Jim Crow laws, slavery, and racial discrimination influence how people conceptualize and understand race.
4. How does the historical construction of race impact your organization or business model’s sense of ethical consumption, educational outreach, and how they communicate?
For example, the history of the US Farm Bill and its impact into the present were deeply impacted by systemic racialization. How racialized minorities have been treated within the agricultural sectors of the USA influence how the mainstream food system operates today…as well as maintain the racial and socio-economic inequities within it. To obtain ethical food commodities such as ‘kale’ or ‘strawberries’, one must understand the history of racialization and its impact on the farm bill…which impacts how these foods are farmed and how they get to the plate…which impacts how each individual involved in ethical consumption, conceptualizes what a ‘just’ food system should look like.
If white people in the USA have historically to the present had safer, healthier, and easier access to food and medical resources, due to legal institutions of racism, how does this history affect your construction of how people can or should consume food in an ‘ethical’ way? Does this impact your communication model?
If you feel comfortable doing so, please respond to some of these questions in the comments field below. I am hoping to turn this into an ongoing dialog and not a monologue 😉
Also, the System of Racial Inequity in which ethical consumption exists in can be better understood through many resources including the highly acclaimed video Cracking the Codes which is accessible here: http://crackingthecodes.org . No one person in this anti-racism work I am involved in has all the answers; this is a continuum and no one is a 100% expert on these difficult subjects. I have been ‘educating’ myself about systems of racial inequity for 20 years now (in terms of formal education) and I’m still am always learning and re-learning.
Lastly, I will be writing more deeply about the above questions in my new book due out in 2016 or beginning of 2017 (see below).
“Screw it, I’m just going to shave it all off and go bald!”
This is the first thing I think of after my first few days of work at my new position within the University of California system in October of 2015.
Upon accepting a position within the Equity and Inclusion division at UC Berkeley, I decided that I would commute to work by bicycle on the Ohlone Greenway bike and pedestrian path. I was super psyched!
And then I started thinking, “So, how does this look in terms of making myself presentable for work? How do I shove 4 years worth of afro growth into a bike helmet without needing to straighten it? Do I want to spend 15 minutes, once I get to work, trying to make my hair look like I am a professional Black woman?” (Yes, that last italicized section is a loaded term with an entire history and scholarly canon dedicated to it! Check this book out.)
The first day I arrive at work, after peddling up the hill for 20 minutes, I am sweaty. My hair is sweaty, naturally, because I exercised intensely. It kind of sucks. So, the story kind of goes like this….
I lock my bike, grab my bike bags and dash into my new building to find the closest bathroom. I remove my Deuter travel cosmetics bag, unzip, and remove my arsenal of vegan hair care products and tools:
Hard bristle brush
Soft bristle brush
Alaffia Leave in Conditioner
Wide tooth comb
Homemade spray bottle of glycerin, water, and essential oil of Lemon Balm (to spritz on my hair to mask the ‘sweaty’ smell).
I look at the arsenal, think for several seconds about my game plan, and then grab the leave-in conditioner and wide tooth comb. I lather the leave-in condition into my hair, wait 3 minutes for it to ‘set in’, and then start combing through it with the wide tooth comb. 2 minutes later I’m brushing everything back and wondering if I should put it in an afro puff or put it into two neatly tied back braids.
My mind scrambles: “Can’t I just go ‘natural’ or is it too ‘unprofessional’ my first day of work?Well, it is the division of Equity and Inclusion, so would they care if I busted out a big afro?”
I ask myself if I should I scope around the building later today to see what the other Black women are doing about their ‘professional appearance’…or, have I internalized the trauma of ‘good hair’ and ‘bad hair’ so much that I am driving myself nuts over something that is no longer a big issue? (Of course I’ve internalized it! Have you not noticed that decades long images in the USA mainstream showing ‘professional’ and ‘beautiful’ hair appearances that are straightened hair? )
I decide on putting a part down the middle of my scalp and then making two braids and then tie them back-
–shoot, I forget that I should have added the castor oil which help with ‘fly away’ hair (what’s so bad about ‘fly away’ anyway?). I roll my eyes, huff with annoyance, and then un-braid the whole thing, smother castor oil on my palms, and then massage it throughout my entire afro. A drop falls onto my shirt. Shit, this stuff does not come out! I think.
I grab a paper towel and dab it as quickly as possible– too late. I now have a quarter size spot of castor oil on my shirt.
Someone enters the bathroom and I quickly wonder to myself, “I have all these products and tools laid out and my hair is half done as castor oil drops down my forehead. Great, freaking first impression, Dr. Amie Breeze Harper. Do they wonder what they hell I’m even doing here?”
I remind myself to comb and braid my hair quickly, before the leave in conditioner starts drying.
After 5 minutes, my hair is done and I have wiped away all the castor oil that was near my forehead and hairline. I worry that perhaps my hair looks too greasy and the the castor oil will leak down my neck.
I look at the size L helmet I have on the shelf near the mirror. The inside is glistening with the olive oil I had already put on my hair from last night, before going to bed. It’s a ‘large’ helmet and I can’t even fit my hair in there.
“Amazing, right!? Like, it’s made for people with short hair, fine straight hair, or no hair!” Screams my internal monologue.
Throughout my entire work week, I do this regimen every morning, promising myself that at the end of this first week of work, I will ask my husband to shave the entire thing off…. but the end of the first week comes and I do not shave it off.
Plus, the oils in my hair seem to be degrading the inside structure of the helmet (once again, these helmets are designed with the assumption that people aren’t putting 5lbs of shea butter and other oils in their hair, each year! LOL)
I started wondering if I should start a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for helmets that fit big afros, lots of dread locs, etc and don’t fall apart from the inside out if a little yummy shea butter or black castor oil touches it.
[…this kind of reminds me of what I was trying to do when I was younger and wanted to go swimming! Come on, you know I’m not the only one who used to, or still does, plan their public swimming appearance around their hair appearance! LOL]
Despite figuring out that maybe I should wash my hair every day, to make the stinky smell go away from sweating to death while biking up the hill (I’m probably exaggerating about the ‘stinky’ smell of my hair in my own mind), I realize that after week 2 I don’t enjoy trying to wash and condition my hair every day, comb it out, braid it to fit into my helmet, only to get to work and see that the helmet made the hair look ‘funny’ with helmet pad dents imprinted on my hairdo. I end up undoing the braids once I get to work and then combing, brushing, and re-braiding it after to make sure there are no funny ‘dents’ or pieces of hair that have come out of place…then spritz with lemon balm.
(And yea, with 3 kids 6 and under, it’s kind of hard to spend a long time washing and combing through my hair in the shower, braiding it, etc without them bugging me about something they need… because goddess forbid I am given 12 minutes for my own personal hair-care regimen without a 4 year old asking me and then crying if she can have a lollipop for breakfast!)
It’s week 5 of my new job and I have finally decided to stop being angry about this (strange I’d be angry, right? I mean, it’s just long strand keratin , so why get up in a fuss about it and make it central to my bike commute!?) and just accept that it will take me 15 minutes to do my hair, once I get to work…Or maybe I’ll just shave the whole thing off like I did back in 2009 when I was a grad student and not working as a ‘professional’ (what does that mean anyway. Aren’t we all ‘professionals’ if we’re getting paid to work, period?)
I wrote this post below at the beginning of January 2015, but I would like to repost this again after reading Lauren Ornelas’ November 2015 post, My Scariest Halloween: Racism at an animal rights protest.
Originally written January 2015
Dear Post-Racial White Vegans:
This is not the first time I have had to sit down and write a letter to the collectivity of you who continue to be post-racial/post-human, yet benefit from systemic racism and white supremacy while simultaneously making claims like “stop playing the race card” or “I don’t see race.” Most recently, with the Black Lives Matter movement, I have gotten a significant number of white vegans responding to the theme of my conference with, “Everyone Matters” or “All Lives Matter”. The theme of the 2015 conference is The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter: Challenging Neoliberal Whiteness While Building Anti-Racist Solidarity Among Vegans of Color and Allies (Before, After, and Beyond Ferguson). And for some reason, this upset some of you. Maybe you do not know it, but saying things like “All Lives Matter” or “Everyone Matters” are actually called racial micro-agressions and really don’t help with our collective struggle with racial battle fatigue. Please revisit this concept of Ahimsa and extend it to all human animals as well and not get so defensive when a Black feminist vegan scholar with a doctorate in critical studies of food and race, organizes a vegan conference with Black Lives Matter in the title. By the way, in 2005 when I did a Call for Papers for the groundbreaking book Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010), I got similar racial microaggressions from white vegans committed to ending cruelty against non-human animals. As a matter of fact, in 2007, I wrote an award winning Harvard Masters Thesis about the verbal violence spewed when I did this call for papers on a vegan forum. Essentially, Sistah Vegan call for papers said “black womyns lives matter within vegan praxis” and it didn’t sit well with many of the white vegans on that forum.
When you say “All Lives Matter”, what you most likely mean is the following:
Well, what about me? My whiteness is reality and has always been center [but I have been dysconsciously aware of its racist implications until now]. Since Black Lives Matter has infiltrated my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and tumblr worlds, my unacknowledged privilege, my unacknowledged white socio-spatial epistemological narrative of the world, and my addiction to neoliberalism (i.e. proclaiming we live in a ‘post-racial world’) have all been called out. Revealed is that I literally am in collusion with maintaining economies of whiteness (i.e. systemic racism, neoliberalism, and anti-blackness)… Ok, I’ll try not to panic (trying to breath and not appear too nervous). I’ll just keep on saying ‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Everyone Matters’ [so I can shift the lens back onto me, pretending] to show I am in solidarity with all suffering beings and that I’m ‘beyond race’ since I know we all suffer; even us white people. (Trying to breath and not appear too nervous). [Internal monologue: Wow, who knew that giving up my speciesist privilege would be far easier than actively dismantling systemic racism/white supremacy? Giving up my organic eggs for tofu scramble, leather car seats for pleather car seats, and cow milk for soy milk are wayyyyy easier than dealing with the implications of Black Lives Matter on my comfortable white embodied experience.]
So, I offer you this: instead of responding with “All Lives Matter” or “Everyone Matters”, I invite you to participate in the online Sistah Vegan Conference, April 24-25, 2015. This will be a mindful space in which all can learn about how Black Lives Matter enhances vegan praxis and does not ‘play the race card’ or ‘distract from non-human animal suffering.’[Updated Nov 9 2015] I invite you to download the Sistah Vegan hosted conference from 2015, The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter.This was a mindful space in which folk learned about how Black Lives Matter is integral to holistic vegan praxis and does not ‘play the race card’ or ‘distract from non-human animal suffering.’
For those of you in solidarity with the Sistah Vegan Project, please consider donating to make this conference a success, as well as make it possible for other critical Sistah Vegan projects and services to happen. I am currently working on a book called “G’s Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix). Click below on the image to find out more.
If you are like most folk who have listened to mainstream media in the USA, you have heard of the sensationalized stories once or twice a year, of a mother who ‘killed’ her child ‘because’ she was vegan. If you have had interest in getting pregnant and/or having a vegan pregnancy, you may have been ‘attacked’ by supposedly loving family members and ‘concerned’ midwives or practitioners that such a diet is ‘dangerous’ and ‘irresponsible.’
These are all misconceptions, as myself and a plethora of pregnant people (I say ‘people’ because not all people who are pregnant necessarily identify as a ‘woman’) and their children are living proof that a properly planned vegan pregnancy and lactation period will help you and your baby thrive.
Below is a photo of my daughter who is now 4. She was ‘built’ by a whole foods vegan diet. In addition, you are looking at happy and thriving child in which over 85% of her ‘food’ source came from my vegan-produced breast milk, the first 13 months of her life. She was 9.5lb at birth and full term. 6 hour labor.
In 2013, I also gave birth to my 3rd child after a great vegan pregnancy and she is thriving. I continue to nurse her on demand via my vegan diet and she just turned 2 and is holding a vegan home-made cupcake below.
You may be scared. You may be confused. Or maybe you do have the confidence to practice a vegan pregnancy, but do not know where to begin. Don’t worry, I was feel this way with my 1st pregnancy and ended up eating eggs several times a month due to my own fears and feeling ‘guilty’ (despite me knowing, intellectually, veganism is healthy when practice properly). The Sistah Vegan project is offering an on demand pre-recored webinar with powerpoint slides with the following:
* Guaranteed plant based remedy/prevention for prenatal anemia
* Learn this simple herbal remedy to prevent hemorrhoids
* Learn what simple seed can increase hydration, energy, and calcium
* Learn the top four plant based proteins essential for pregnancy
* Constipation is NOT ‘normal’, despite the myth. Learn how to poop 2-3x a day while pregnant.
You will be able to play the recordings and download notes and slides whenever you want to. In this webinar you will learn what you need to get started on your path to an amazing and fulfilling plant-based dietary pregnancy and post-partum lactation period. If you are at the end of your pregnancy but want to learn how a whole foods plant-based Sistah Vegan diet can help you produce optimal milk supply for an infant, then this webinar is also for you. In addition, post-partum hair loss is significant amongst people who have just given birth; many tell me that years after giving birth, they struggle with hair loss and thinning. I will teach you how a few herbs and foods can regrow and strengthen your hair.
Date: You can Download it anytime.
How to pay and download: Click REGISTER to register, pay, and download.
Duration: 2 hours.
Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free Anymeeting.com (my webinars are hosted through Any meeting.com)
About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.
Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff 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 ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food. She has 3 biological children and has been nursing non-stop since 2009 (written November 2015).
Want tips on how to get your tots to eat holistic vegan food? Check out our new series below:
My three kids loved my strawberry hemp seed ice cream. I use a Vitamix Standard Blender for blending ingredients smoothly, and then I use a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. The lecithin blends and binds the ingredients very nicely. It creates a creamy and smooth texture.
Hemp seeds are a powerful super food. They are incredibly high in magnesium as well as brain building Omega 3-6-9. 3 tbsps give you 10 grams of protein. It’s a mineral rich seed and best of all, it’s an incredibly sustainable crop to grow. Some people do not like the strong taste of hemp. I got my kids started off on hemp seed based ice cream and cookies at a very early age. I prefer it to the soy milk vegan alternative when making ice cream. Hemp seeds also make powerful milkshakes as well! You can turn the recipe above into a milkshake by adding 4 ice cubes. Enjoy!
And now here is the part in which I will segue into Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches. If you have been following my work for awhile, you know that I am working on a new book about my journey as a critical race feminist through the ethical foodscape of a “post-racial” USA. I wanted to offer how I have been using hemp seeds as a tool of health and resistance in a USA obsessed with being both “post-racial” and “anti-black” at the same time.
Mentioned earlier in this post, hemp seeds are high in magnesium. Magnesium is quite calming. Supplements such as the product Calm have the primary ingredient of magnesium to ensure a more relaxing and calm night for both children and adults. I know there is no one answer to tackling the injustices many of us witness and/or survive through that are rooted in anti-Black systemic racism. I do not mean to take the racial profiling and targeted violence of our Brown and Black communities very lightly by heading into the direction of what foods like hemp seed can offer. As I am writing this, I am thinking about ways in which we can thrive through the physical and emotional stresses of talking to our Black children about the kids that look like them being violently assaulted by police (see Tamir Rice and South Carolina Spring Valley student) .
Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that the heart of the hemp seed can produce calming effects on human beings. This is actually due to the calming and relaxing effects of the magnesium and other minerals in the seed. Do you know what I do with my children? I talk to them about the social injustices affecting the Black community as well as other marginalized communities. I am real and upfront with them in asking them how they feel and what we can do to try to feel better as well as take action. I say things like, “You were really upset about hearing that a child was shot by a police officer. Let’s talk about it and about how we can take care of ourselves during times of such sadness and stress.” I will then start making hemp seed ice cream or cookies with them while we talk about these issues. Simultaneously, I and am teaching them that hemp seed can help them relax and feel less anxious about witnessing and/or hearing about such violent events. My children are 2, 4, and 6.5 years of age and I honestly do not think they are too young to start making all these connections as well as not too young to feel like they have no agency in this.