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. However, Chris goes on to point out:

Animal rights activists in the U.S. are targeted for our activities and successes against large corporations. Queer activists in Uganda are not targeted because they are activists, or not solely because they are activists. They are targeted for being Queer, thus the situation requires the transition into activism.

If Chris is right, then I'm not misunderstanding the context at all. As Noah pointed out in a comment to my post, for a White person it is your participation in an activist group that makes you a target. So what would it mean if you're a person of color and a member of an activist group? All the sudden we have to address the intersection of being a member of an oppressed racial group and a member of an activist group. This is why it's problematic to say that police violence against people in activists groups can be separated from police violence against people of color, poor people, queer people, and/or transgender/gender non-conforming people.

I think muybookish's comment brings up this need to think more critically about interlocking oppressions:

As a vegan of color who participates in a number of online vegan/AR forums, I get a little miffed when I see posts about how you're not committed to AR causes if you don't protest, demonstrate, etc. is my talking one-on-one to other people of color about veganism, wearing a message shirt, posting fliers, etc. not "for the cause?"

Police are almost a given at any protest or demonstration. So by making "colorblind" assertions about how "animal activists" in general "bear the brunt" of police violence, we fail to acknowledge how people of color are more likely to be targeted by the police. That is, we fail to recognize how attending protests and demonstrations can be a privilege of Whiteness.

So, while we can talk about "coming out for animals," if we don't get serious about who's really a target of police violence and White supremacy, then we aren't really providing a safe place where everyone can participate.

Chris's post ends with a funny response to the call for papers question, "What are we going to do about homophobia among straight-edge vegans?" Chris quotes Jerico’s response: "Um, I don’t know. Go back to the 90s when it was still a problem?"

What's not funny is that the call for papers makes no mention of transgender issues being included under the queer banner. So I'm going to suggest another question: What are we going to do about transphobia among feminist-vegetarians/ecofeminists?

Re: Is it Safe to Come Out?

i must apologize. i wasn't trying to imply that you misunderstood the question in any way. i was merely trying to give the posters of the question the benefit of the doubt... or rather, a chance to change their wording. i think you hit the nail on the head with your analysis. perhaps my wording is confusing (i did write it first thing in the morning:)

i fully agree that we must challenge the system of White supremacy that is an inherent part of the U.S. (and the individuals and organizations that make up the U.S.). when i blogged as vegankid, i wrote a lot more about this topic.

i like the questions about transphobia, too.

btw, i'm including a few of your posts in the 9th Carnival of Empty Cages, which should be up later today.