Wearing a Hoodie and Going Vegan are ‘Easy as Pie’?: What Type of Support Are You Really Asking For?

emailrequest_548_d8f26b8d12c2a54b3adabda3115226541fcee1ad
emailrequest_548_d8f26b8d12c2a54b3adabda3115226541fcee1ad

I get requests all the time to support a wellness, animal rights, vegan site, organization, book, campaign or new health/food product that is framed through post-racial and neoliberal capitalist logics. What is intriguing to me is that the emails I receive state that after reviewing my Sistah Vegan site, they believe my site would be perfect to support their cause.

 
19/20 times what they want me to support has NOTHING to do with intersectional anti-racism, critical engagement with systemic racism– or even critical engagement with what human beings (and non-human beings) were potentially exploited to bring that commodity’s ingredients to the market. If anything, the way they frame their campaigns, products, books, etc., reinforce unequal racial and class power dynamics already operating within a white supremacist capitalist and heteropatriarchal system.
 
When I’m contacted, rarely, if ever, does someone write something like, “…we’d also like to see what WE CAN DO to support the work that you are doing. What can we do to eradicate systemic racism, not perpetuate anti-Blackness rooted in the fabric of the USA, etc.?” I actually DO expect this to be asked if they in fact have read through my site and claim, “We love the work that you’re doing.” 
 
For example….
 
I was asked to support a book by writing a preface to a book by a white identified vegan who wrote that people making fun of her for being vegan was the ‘same’ as racism. But it was clear she didn’t know what systemic racism was or how to be an ally but wanted me to support her experience of being treated the same as a ‘racist’ would treat her. I patiently and politely sent her a long email explaining this was inaccurate and something I can’t support.
 
I was asked to support a nutrition publication that was clearly a cis-sexist framing of food and health for women and men. This is despite my website always pointing out the transphobia and cissexism embedded in mainstream health, food, and nutrition publications focused on producing a ‘moral’ and ‘healthy’ white body.
 
I frequently have organizations contacting me about how I can support them to get non-white people ‘on board with veganism’ when it’s clear it’s a missionary approach and they don’t care about first asking how they can be allies to both Sistah Vegan and those communities they want to ‘enlighten’.
I am genuinely curious about these requests because it’s almost always white identified people/organizations (19/20 times) that are contacting me. They probably don’t consider themselves to be consciously in collusion with systemic racism and white supremacy…yet, their framing of whatever they want me to support is in collusion with these systems.
Maybe those contacting me don’t realize that this is the negative impact they are having on me (and other intersectional activist vegans of color they may be contacting). I don’t mind being contacted if the message clearly states some type of awareness or concern around being allies to eradicating systemic racism, anti-Blackness, white supremacist based racial caste system, etc. Just some food for thought.

(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist forCritical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best known as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked offFoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

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All Lives Matter Brings the Country Together While Black Lives Matter is ‘Dividing’ Us (Not Systemic Racism!)

"What, you're saying all this time I just had to say 'All Lives Matter' and then us Black people would be treated better? Wow, I never knew!!"
“What, you’re saying all this time I just had to say ‘All Lives Matter’ and then us Black people would be treated better and bring the country together? Wow, I never knew that! Thanks!”

So I just watched this show about Black Lives Matter and racialized police brutality and I am really confused….
Zainab Merchant is one of the co-hosts who tries to explain the importance of Black Lives Matters movement when it comes to fighting against and acknowledge racialized violence toward the collectivity of Black people in the USA. However, the other co-host named Hadi, gives an interesting analysis of “Black Lives Matter”. I think what is confusing to me is that Hadi believes that Black people should be saying “All Lives Matter” and proclaims that BLM is ‘dividing the country’ and that BLM is blowing “out of proportion,” the killing of a few Black people by police.
 
Hadi has a gross misinterpretation of the meaning and actions of the Black Lives Matter movement and phrase “Black Lives Matter.” Hadi keeps on pushing for Black people to use “All Lives Matter” instead. Well, all lives are supposed to matter, but it’s obvious it hasn’t (systemically, institutionally, historically) which is why “Black Lives Matters”, as a phrase, has been used to point this out. Black Lives Matter movement isn’t just about focusing on police brutality, but focusing on systemic racism and anti-Blackness in general and trying to eradicate it; making sure that the most marginalized of Black folk (like those incarcerated, transgender Black women, Black people with disabilities, etc) are treated humanely and fairly; that’s what the BLM site actually talks about. Yes, the police ‘brutalize’ everyone but there are clear differences racially (and class) and there is plenty of research showing this; it doesn’t mean Black Lives Matter is neglecting those realities, but rather, trying to bring awareness to the racial biases that show how Black people are generally perceived as ‘less than human’ and then treated accordingly. My husband is a white German and I never worry about him not coming back alive because of police brutality. Never. He doesn’t worry about it either. He knows he doesn’t have to. But I get to worry all the time about whether my twin brother or father will come back home alive– especially since both live in 95%+ white towns. As a matter of fact, I never worry about any of my white friends being victims of racialized violence by the police or other institutions of power. Never. Why would I have to? 
 
Hadi is claiming that Black Lives Matter is ‘dividing’ the nation (But not systemic racism or white supremacy, right? It’s us BLM supporters who are ‘dividing’ the nation– not a white supremacist capitalist based racial caste system over the past 400 years. So let’s base this on the few media representations of BLM and ‘protesting’… Ok, got it!!! ). Hello, no one said white people don’t matter, but they have been collectively ‘humanized’ for hundreds of years in a way that Black people collectively have not been. Why are we even arguing about this, still, 400+ year later? (SPLC tried to explain the point of Black Lives Matter and I think they did a good job.) And Hadi asks, “What would happen if someone put together ‘White Lives Matter’ group?” Well, actually, they have and here are the predictable results.  
And there is no deep interrogation of the Prison Industrial Complex in general or other forms of anti-Blackness that are reality in the USA during the dialogue. Actually, other than shaming Black people for not wanting to be treated like crap– due to systemic racism and anti-Blackness that this USA was built on, what was the point of Hadi’s analysis?   Why is Hadi focusing on the few mainstream media depictions of BLM protestors that show them in ‘bad light’ versus the amazing work a lot of BLM activists, scholars, etc are doing?  (And all those that came before doing Black Liberation and anti-racism work that non-white people like Hadi actually benefit from? It’s a continuum of social and restorative justice that all people will benefit from).
Of course the mainstream media is going to show us Black people opposing oppression as ‘dangerous’ and ‘anti-white’ vs. showing the work thousands are doing to end systemic oppression that screws everyone over. The mainstream media has done this since we protested being treated so badly– you know, like since ante-bellum slavery when we protested and/or fought against that and we were told we had a mental illness for protesting our enslavement by trying to run away? You know, since Reconstruction….? You know, since Jim Crow..? You know, since the Civil Rights movement….? Mainstream media is always depicting us as ‘dividing the USA’ or being ‘trouble-makers’ and ‘not knowing our place enough’ to keep the peace and let the white supremacist capitalist establishment just ‘do their thing!’ Martin Luther King Jr. was depicted by the media as a “troublemaker” back in the day. But 40+ years later he is held up as a ‘fine’ example of fighting for racial and class equality: 
The reality is that, in his time, the man we honor today with a national holiday was divisive; to many, he was a troublemaker, to force the social change we now all celebrate. He challenged the social order of things and pushed people out of their comfort zones. When Dr. King arrived in many of the same cities for which a major street is now named for him, the Mayor and the Police Commissioner viewed his visit with dread and couldn’t wait for him to leave. (Source: https://blairopolis.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/mlk-was-a-troublemaker-and-his-dream-is-not-fulfilled/)
 
Zainab does offer to her cohost to be ‘more critical’ about how systemic racism and anti-Blackness operate…but Hadi has his statistics to prove that she and the rest of us Black folk doing anti-racism work are wrong and that there is no racial bias in policing and we’re just wasting our time and being ‘divisive’. He knows best because the statistics he reads from proves that us Black people are basically more pathological and commit more crimes and that, I repeat, there is no racial bias in policing or in the criminal justice system…in any  system. (Let’s not interrogate how ‘white logic and white methods’ in gathering ‘statistical data’ about racial groups is quite biased towards upholding white supremacist notions of racialized subjects!) Who cares that Zainab is talking about implicit bias or that she brings up how racism is defined in terms or systems of power and prejudice (i.e., she bringing up context and history in how the dictionary defines racism and the significance that yes, white men wrote Merriam Webster with a white cisgendered man’s consciousness and ethical base). So, in a nutshell, “All Lives Matter” Brings the Country Together While “Black Lives Matter” (Not Systemic Racism) is “Dividing” Us? Ok, got it! Thanks.
Good to know that I had nothing to complain about the other month, when moving into my mostly white neighborhood, when the police had been called because I looked ‘suspicious’ (a Black pregnant woman moving boxes into her house). Apparently this had nothing to do with that caller’s potential conscious or unconscious biases about Black people being ‘suspicious’. (sigh). I’m not even supposed to bring that possibility up or even argue that if I had looked like Taylor Swift the police would not have been called because people who look like Swift belong in Albany CA.  Oh, and by the way, let’s not forget that anti-Blackness in this country can affect you even if you aren’t Black but are read as Black. The Indian grandfather visiting his son in Alabama and new grandchild was misread as a Black man and was slammed to the ground and paralyzed.  The logic being that a preemptive strike was needed against him to protect the mostly white neighborhood from this intrusive Black man walking in the neighborhood! Or what about the mother and daughter who were shot at by police 107 times delivering newspapers in their pickup because the police thought that a Black man was in the car?
Now I’ll go back to being ‘divisive’ and a ‘troublemaker’….

Photo on 8-29-16 at 4.28 PM #2 (1)About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best known as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked offFoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.

[PRESS RELEASE] Dr. A. Breeze Harper has Joined Evil Twin Booking Agency

Dr. A. Breeze Harper has joined Evil Twin Booking and is Now Available to Book for Public Speaking for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best known as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked offFoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.


Sample of Workshops, Videos, and Podcasts Offered by Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Past Workshops: 
  1. “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape”
  2. “Intersectional Anti-Racism: A Primer for Non-Profits and Businesses”
  3. “Applications of Black Lives Matters for Animal Rights and/or Vegans”
  4. “How to Integrate Critical Race Feminist Analysis into Cultural Food Writing”.
Past Videos:  
  1. “Uprooting White Fragility: Intersectional Anti-Racism in the ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape” (Video Credit: Photon Factory) (Whidbey Institute March 2016): https://youtu.be/rPWTRh4nng0
  2. “Engaging Technology as a Mindful Social Impact Tool: Reflections on Black Lives Matter and Challenging Systemic Racism” (Consciousness Hack, San Francisco, September 2015): https://youtu.be/tpa321Ta2D0
  3. “On Ferguson, Thug Kitchen & Trayvon Martin: Intersections of [Post] Race-Consciousness, Food Justice and Hip-Hop Veganism” (Middlebury College, November 2014) : https://youtu.be/VP6Dczll6Zc
  4. “Scars of Suffering and Healing: Black Feminist Vegan Perspective on Race, Neoliberal Whiteness, and Writing” (University of Oregon, June 2015) https://youtu.be/E4JhftAiP4w
Most Recent Podcast:
  1. Secret Ingredient: Whiteness : http://www.sistahvegan.com/2016/09/07/podcast-secret-ingredient-of-whiteness-race-ethical-foodscapes-and-intersectional-anti-racism/

If you would like to book Dr. A. Breeze Harper for workshops or lectures, please contact Lizzie Cole of Evil Twin Booking Agency.

Make America Great Again: Good Riddance Equality And Tolerance

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The poster above sums up how I feel about the USA ‘needing’ to be ‘Great’ again [by going back into the ‘nostalgic’ white supremacist past when Black women like me ‘knew’ their ‘low’ political/economic/social place]; this is what Trump and his supporters mean. As the vice presidential candidate for the Humane Party, I know that our party represents the “opposite” of Trump’s definition of ‘great’. Instead, we engage in “compassionate intelligence” and know that “greatness” can only come about when systemic oppression of human beings and non-human animals is eradicated. Check out www.Humaneparty.org and my presidential running mate Clifton Roberts.

Also, check out The Sistah Vegan Project’s latest call for proposals for The [Vegan] Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives Matter.

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(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.


BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR. THE SISTAH VEGAN PROJECT ALREADY HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND FOLLOWERS. JUST IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF HALF OR MORE FOLLOWERS PLEDGED $5-$15 PER MONTH.

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‘Little Racist’ Pebbles: When Your 5 Year Old Daughter Is Ashamed of Her Afro

Eva Luna showing her dress for Kindergarten class.
Eva Luna showing her dress for Kindergarten class.

Before leaving for Kindergarten today, I lovingly lathered my 5 year old’s light fluffy afro with some Shea nut oil and olive oil like I always do– and with a hint of Geranium oil (because of its anti-lice qualities). After our regular routine, I then fluffed up her afro. She immediately told me that she does not like when I make it fluffier because the kids in her class make fun of her hair for looking funny. I know it was bound to happen, but still, it really broke my heart to hear her say that– that very same thing I heard has a child. Me and her little sister also have afros and we don’t straighten our hair. I’ve always taught her to love her hair and that it’s beautiful. However, she attends a school in which most of the kids have straight hair (either naturally or treated). I’d say It’s about 68% white and 20% Asian/Asian American. At 5 years old, some of these kids in her class have already been taught anti-Blackness. I’m not looking too deep or making this up. I can’t imagine any one of these children making fun of a child for having straight hair. Now, how do I talk about this to a school community that collectively think they are NOT racist or consciously anti-Black? Anti-Blackness is the core of the USA white supremacist racial caste system. Intentional or unconscious, most folk who have spent a fair amount of time here will be taught to ‘love’ what is closest to ‘whiteness’ and despise what is closest to ‘Blackness’ . They will teach their children this as well. The funny thing is, if I bring this subject up of ‘Negrophobia’ , ‘anti-blackness’ or even systemic racism in Albany CA (which I have already using NextDoor), there is immediate defensiveness from non-Black folk who seem to know better about race and discrimination than the few Black people living in Albany (sigh). I know I should not be surprised, but still, was hoping not to have to deal with this with my daughter; was hoping this would be done and buried during my generation as a child [in an all white school district]. (I remember countless morning burning my neck by mistake to thermally straighten my hair as a tween/teen because of the internalized hate I had about my natural afro, fueled by white peers who were relentlessly cruel about my hair if it ever ended up transitioning back into an afro– usually due to rain or humidity in the air that day, despite me straightening it that morning).

What other things will Eva Luna ‘learn’ in this new school community that teaches anti-Blackness? Have children already said negative things about her mommy ? I become very enraged when my observations are dismissed and that I’m told I’m worrying too much about ‘nothing’.

My daughter feeling ‘bad’ about her Black hair is the result of what many would think is ‘just little racist’ action by very young children…but the problem is that this is not ‘little’ at all. This indoctrination starts even before these children enter Elementary school– as I’ve witnessed many times, nursery school aged children talking about, though not conscious of it, white supremacist hetero-normative notions of beauty as if it’s simply ‘normal’) . Most adults aren’t engaged in squashing that behavior immediately– either because they don’t think it’s ‘serious’ or because they don’t have the critical race literacy skills to understand that it’s the ‘little racist’ behavioral patterns (intentional or not) that create ‘big’ racist/racial consequences 1 year, 10 years, 100 years down the road. If there is no intervention now, it becomes a catastrophic avalanche by the time these kids are adults themselves.  It starts off as a supposedly ‘little harmless’ pebble rolling down that snow covered mountain…and before you know it, entire communities at the bottom are devastated by an avalanche accumulated from those ‘harmless’ little pebbles. But that little pebble that started it all is buried with that community, undetectable; those at the top ‘confused’ what may have caused the devastation. I also want to note that it’s not just non-Black people who feel that afros are ‘ugly’. I’ve met plenty of Black identified people who have internalized white supremacist notions of beauty and have colorist and anti-Afro perceptions of ‘beauty’. (We also can’t forget the recent battle that Black students went through at South African prestigious Pretoria school to have the right to wear their hair in its natural state vs. being forced to straighten it. However, Albany CA is very different from S. Africa and I don’t want to say it’s the same either).

I’m glad when my husband heard about what she said this morning, he told her to tell him what child or children made fun of her fluffy afro and that he’ll talk to the teacher this morning (since he is the one who brings them to school). I also think it’s interesting to point out that when visiting my parents house this past August in Lebanon CT (4% Black), my husband (who is White and German) asked my mom(Black) about how she tackled systemic racism in the white school system that we grew up in and how he can make sure his children aren’t being subjected to racist treatment. I sat there listening to my mom talk for about 30 minutes about how you have to constantly fight for your kids because of the white supremacy bound up in the educational school system. I couldn’t believe we had to have this conversation 30+ years later and it was really painful re-hearing all the examples she shared with him (from the speech therapist asking if my brother has a speech impediment “because he is Black” to certain teachers being very angry that I took home nearly all the academic awards one year because they thought these awards should have been given to white students). My mother understood the avalanches that these actions would create if she didn’t intervene and just let teachers and students think these were simply ‘little’ things (Looking at my mom, folk wonder where I got my, I just can’t keep my mouth shut about injustices, attitude! Well, now you know! LOL) 

A few months ago, while we were riding in our mini-van, my Eva Luna attempted to use a fine tooth comb that her grandmother from Germany gave her that was part of a ‘beauty box’ play-set [clearly made for children with straight fine hair]. After 10 seconds of trying to get it through her tightly coiled hair, she threw the comb on the ground in frustration and exclaimed, “What is the point of this comb!?” I tried to explain that the comb was made by people who aren’t mindful enough to know that not everyone has straight hair.  It then dawned on me that it would be so awesome to do a project that is a vegan beauty box for children with very curly/afro hair like her: (1) an afro pick (2) a wide tooth comb (3) Shea butter (4) manual of different ways to style their hair (5) other types of soothing oils and (6) beautiful photos of children with afros who have styled their hair in creative ways. Of course being distracted with 3 little kids, pregnant with #4, and attempting to find housing for months, I forgot about this idea I had. But after this morning, I want to put it into full effect. I want it to be a beauty box for any child with tight curls/afro, as I don’t like beauty boxes that assume those using it should only be cisgender girls (Who else is sick of seeing beauty sets labeled ‘For Girls’ on it?)

What are your thoughts?


(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a senior diversity and inclusion strategist for Critical Diversity Solutions, a seasoned speaker, and author of books and articles related to critical race feminism, intersectional anti-racism, and ethical consumption. As a writer, she is best know for as the creator and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men use hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies. In 2016, she collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the backgrounder Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system

Dr. Harper is the founder of the Sistah Vegan Project which has put on several ground-breaking conferences with emphasis on intersection of racialized consciousness, anti-racism, and ethical consumption (i.e., veganism, animal rights, Fair Trade). Last year she organized the highly successful conference The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter which can be downloaded.

Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current 2016 lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical Foodscape which will be released in 2017, along with the second Sistah Vegan project anthology The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives MatterIn tandem with these book projects, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”

In the spring of 2016, Dr. Harper was nominated as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Humane Party— the only vegan political party in the USA with focus on human and non-human animals.


BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR. THE SISTAH VEGAN PROJECT ALREADY HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND FOLLOWERS. JUST IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF HALF OR MORE FOLLOWERS PLEDGED $5-$15 PER MONTH.

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(Podcast) Secret Ingredient of Whiteness: Race, Ethical Foodscapes, and Intersectional Anti-Racism

Dr. A. Breeze Harper
Dr. A. Breeze Harper

 

Above is the Secret Ingredient podcast that I was interviewed for about the ingredient of ‘whiteness’.  Below is the description of the show:

“America was built on a white supremacist caste system which centers whiteness as the norm…”-Dr. A. Breeze Harper

On this edition of the Secret Ingredient the secret ingredient is whiteness. Join Raj Patel, Tom Philpott, and Rebecca McInroy as they sit down with Dr. Amie Breeze Harper, author of Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England, as well as the creator of the Sistah Vegan project and blog, www.sistahvegan.com, as they discuss what it really means to be vegan, how “whiteness has been a part of every movement in this country”, and how Harper is combating the inter-sectional racism that occurs even in the most ethically driven of foodscapes such as veganism.

Source of Podcast and Quote above (http://kutpodcasts.org/the-secret-ingredient/whiteness-breeze-harper-ep-18).

Also, don’t forget to check out the Call for Proposals for the Sistah Vegan Project’s next edited anthology focused on the [vegan] praxis of justice in an era of Black Lives Matters.


Dr. A. Breeze Harper
Dr. A. Breeze Harper

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper
Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on“Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men us hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies.Dr. Harper’s most recently published book,Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014)interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical FoodscapeIn tandem with this book project, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”


BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR. THE SISTAH VEGAN PROJECT ALREADY HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND FOLLOWERS. JUST IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF HALF OR MORE FOLLOWERS PLEDGED $5-$15 PER MONTH.

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Vegan Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives Matter (Deadline Extended)

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For Screen Readers:

In 2010, Lantern Books published the groundbreaking anthology Sistah Vegan, edited by Dr. A. Breeze Harper. This is an anthology of Black women identified vegans who reflect on food, identity, health, and society.

Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project and Aph Ko of Black Vegans Rock will be organizing and co-editing a sequel to Sistah Vegan called ‘The Praxis of Justice in an Era of Black Lives Matter’ (working title). For this volume, we envision deeply critical engagements by Black identified vegans, who are doing social justice, food Justice, environmental justice, etc. from an intersectional framework. The volume will centralize the significance of living during the era of Black Lives Matter. How are you, as a Black identified vegan, engaged in the continuum of dismantling systemic racism (and other ‘isms’) that affect Black people throughout the world?

Who we are seeking: Black identified vegans who employ the tenets of ahimsa-based veganism through intersectional justice (i.e. anti-racism, anti-ableism, anti-speciesism, LGBTQ rights, Black Liberation); someone who does not frame veganism or Black Liberation within the often mainstream and confining narrative that is almost always cissexist, heteronormative, fat shaming, ableist, and classist to name a few.

What we are accepting: (1) Critical essays, poems, or narratives of no more than 6000 words; (2) Artwork/design ideas for the cover.

Deadline for abstracts: October 15, 2016.

Deadline for final submissions: March 15, 2017.

Email questions and abstracts to: Dr. A. Breeze Harper – sistahvegan@gmail.com


 

Secret Ingredients of Whiteness and Intersectional Anti-Racism and Other Updates

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The NPR Secret Ingredient podcast is not available now, but I will update you once it is available and will provide the link.  To learn more about the show, go here.


(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper
Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on“Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix)which explored how key Black vegan men us hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies.Dr. Harper’s most recently published book,Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014)interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current lecture circuit focuses on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical FoodscapeIn tandem with this book project, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”


BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR. THE SISTAH VEGAN PROJECT ALREADY HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND FOLLOWERS. JUST IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF HALF OR MORE FOLLOWERS PLEDGED $5-$15 PER MONTH.

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Product Review: Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread (VEGAN)

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You can go here to find more info on Vegan Nocciolata Organic Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread.

And if you’re interested in what it means for products to be marked as “cruelty-free” and “vegan” that include non-exploited human labor,  you can check out Food Empowerment Project. They engage in food justice and farmworker rights with a vegan framework and have an excellent campaign that asks companies to source their cocoa ethically. I am hoping that Rigoni di Asiago does source their cocoa under non-cruel conditions; maybe they just didn’t label it yet.

UPDATE July 26 2016: Rigoni di Asiago contacted me and they said that they indeed use a Fair Trade source of cocoa. I asked them if they can update their labels to reflect this in the near future!


(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)
(Credit: Pax Ahimsa Gethen 2016)

About Dr. A. Breeze Harper
Dr. Harper has been invited to deliver many keynote addresses and lectures at universities and conferences throughout North America. In 2015, her lecture circuit focused on the analysis of food and whiteness in her book Scars and on “Gs Up Hoes Down:” Black Masculinity, Veganism, and Ethical Consumption (The Remix) which explored how key Black vegan men us hip-hop methods to create “race-conscious” and decolonizing approaches to vegan philosophies.Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, Scars: A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014)interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact the life of the only Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. Her current lecture circuit focus on excerpts from her latest book in progress, Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches: A Critical Race Feminist’s Journey Through ‘Post-Racial’ Ethical FoodscapeIn tandem with this book project, she is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism Activism.”


BECOME A MONTHLY DONOR. THE SISTAH VEGAN PROJECT ALREADY HAS SEVERAL THOUSAND FOLLOWERS. JUST IMAGINE WHAT COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IF HALF OR MORE FOLLOWERS PLEDGED $5-$15 PER MONTH.

patreon