Breeze Harper on Speciesism and Racism

Please listen to Breeze Harper's new podcast on the intersections of racism and speciesism. Breeze reads from "Speciesism: Why We Cannot Fully Eradicate it if We are Unmindful of its Contingency Upon Racism, Racialization, and Normalization of 'Whiteness,'" a chapter she wrote for a new anthology that will be out soon.

Breeze discusses how in the media, "White male youths who kill 'game' animals are heroes. Black male youths who kill a puppy or engage in dogfighting are the anti-hero." She goes on to encourage us to think critically about why that is:

PETA and the (Animal) Right

PETA's "focus solely on promoting animal rights" is not about promoting veganism. As a movement, veganism necessitates honoring the efforts of all anti-oppression movements who are striving to achieve the liberation of human and nonhuman animals alike. Regardless, Rajt betrays PETA's own proclaimed neutrality by evoking Right-wing arguments regarding taxes and health care costs. Nothing in the ad, or PETA's defense of the ad, makes any point for the rights of nonhuman animals. And while in a very narrow sense the ad is "pro-vegetarian," it is also very much anti-vegan.

Animal Whites 2008

A couple months ago I posted about the assumption of universal Whiteness built into the scheduled program for "Animal Rights 2008" (AR2008), a national conference that took place this past weekend. In a blog posting on the conference, Debra Erenberg of Rainforest Action Network wrote about the ways Whiteness played out over the weekend. (Read more...)

PETA Appropriates 'Vegan' for White Supremacy

Far from promoting the principles of veganism, PETA over and over again promotes oppression and exploitation of human and nonhuman animals. In the past week PETA has appropriated the term "vegan" in support of anti-immigration violence.

For Global Justice Against Global Warming

In Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning, George Monbiot makes the case for how the United Kingdom can cut its greenhouse gases by 90 percent. Heat has been published in several editions suggesting that the strategy for cutting greenhouse gases can be applied to other capitalist countries in the Global North. In the book, Monbiot seeks to prove that the capitalist North can hold onto its privilege while "joining what must become the world's most powerful political movement."

After giving a speech on climate change, Monbiot was asked, "When you get your 80 per cent cut, what will this country look like?" To which, another member of the audience answered, "A very poor third-world country." So in the book, Monbiot sets out to show that a 90 percent cut doesn't mean we have to "ditch the comforts ... which I – like all middle-class people in the rich world – now take for granted" (i.e., privileges of racism, classism, colonialism and empire). Read more...

Is it Safe to Come Out?

Chris from Deep Roots makes some critical comments about the Coming Out For Animals call for papers, including some discussion of my thoughts on "animal activists" promoting police violence more than being targeted by it. Chris suggests I might have misunderstood the context of the questions being asked in a call for papers. I also got an anonymous hate comment that more aggressively insists that the misunderstanding was intentional. Chris says that the context might have been that in terms of "activist groups" "animal activists" "bear the brunt" of police violence. (Read more...)

Asking the Right Questions

A call for papers has been sent out by folks "looking to anthologize the voices of queers involved in animal liberation." I think it would be wonderful to see more interaction between queer theory and veganism. But some of the questions suggested as topics for this book really bothered me, specifically:

Why do queer activists in Uganda but animal activists in the USA bear the brunt of police suppression in their respective countries? Are they similarly subversive of "cultural" practices that turn out to be critical to the maintenance of state power?

(Read more...)

Pet Ownership and Police Violence

On the LA Eastside blog, Browne Molyneux posted about the "Symbolic Gestures of Nothingness" made by a PETA volunteer who targets working class people of color in downtown LA's Fashion District for illegal animal sales. In her post, Molyneux makes two points: 1) targeting "illegal" pet sales doesn't challenge pet ownership; and 2) targeting people of color working on the street perpetuates racism and classism.

Animal Protection and White Supremacy

Maybe you've heard about Brigitte Bardot's anti-Muslims comments? People are debating whether the comments are racist, or sincerely based on animal protection. And there's some justified anger on the Vegans of Color blog.

I think the comments fall into what Edward Said calls "the Orienalist description of the Islamic world." In "Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy" from Color of Violence (South End Press, 2005), Andrea Smith explains that, "The logic of Orientalism marks certain peoples or nations as inferior and as posing a constant threat to the well-being of empire," and, I would add, the nation-state. So the comments are definitely racist in that they up hold the Orientalist pillar of white supremacy described by Smith. (Read more...)

The Assumption of Universal Whiteness

On the Vegans of Color blog, Johanna posted about "Engaging" POCs in AR Work? in response to the program for an upcoming animal rights conference that includes sessions on "Engaging Ethnic Minorities (African-Americans, Latin Americans, Asian-Americans)"; "Commonality of Oppression (commonalities of oppressing animals, children, women, others)"; and "Engaging Other Movements (health, environment, hunger, women, justice, peace movements)."

The titles for these sessions illustrate what Ana Clarissa Rojas Durazo calls "an assumption of universal whiteness." (Read more...)