This is for my black family.
When it comes to mainstream veganism, it is very clear that most people are left out in the hopes of building a cruelty-free world. Even with the pioneers’ promises and attempts at “inclusion,” there still seems to be a disconnect of what lack of representation does to marginalized groups.
Yes, it’s hurtful at first and feels like everything you learned about veganism is a lie, but then you come to find that it’s not ALL about saving the animals. There are several valid reasons why people choose to live vegan or plant-based; including environmental, food/social justice, cultural, health, spiritual, feminist, or even for a family member; the list goes on and on.
Does this make animal rights vegans invalid for choosing their path? Naw, but it becomes a problem when humans are scratched off their list of beings who deserve respect.
When the mainstream conversation doesn’t extend to those who can’t go vegan overnight no matter how much money they can scrape up, it starts to take an ugly turn and gets repetitively uncomfortable. It’s incredibly tired, and fam, we deserve better.
This is where our own type of vegan community comes into play, one where our cultural uniqueness and disadvantages are centered without an ulterior motive. We don’t need that kind of negativity in our lives, especially since odds have been stacked against us for quite some time.
With the help of many insightful and talented black vegan celebrities, conversations about the lifestyle have been forming in our favor and feature real folk with our perspectives.
So, in that case, what does Black Veganism look like? Maybe it’s promoting black folk of all sizes and colors, only featuring black vegans in advertisements, talking about our collective and individual struggles, working on food accessibility, considering other forms of injustice including speciesism, or bonding over vegan soul food. Whatever it will be it’s completely up to us, which is the beauty of it all.
Of course there will be those types who feel as though we’re being divisive, and I say fuck their opinion. Like honestly, fuck that noise. Even the ones who cry “reverse racism,” just laugh at their ignorance. We experience actual division on a significant scale, so nothing they will say can negate the awesome work we’re capable of doing.
All in all, there is no one answer to what Black Veganism is or could be, but I know damn well we’re going to make it happen. It’s been far too long that our pleas of recognition have fallen onto dismissive ears and it’s obvious our existence in animal rights spaces aren’t favorable. So we got this, all we truly need is each other to create the compassionate community we deserve.
Are you black and non-vegan? Don’t let this intimidate you, you will be accepted as a vegan despite the belief of it being a “white” thing (which it’s definitely not). For our situation, a proper way to start would be to download a free African-American Vegan Starter Guide from public health nutritionist Tracye McQuirter and see where the road takes you!
Are you black and vegan? Then what does Black Veganism look like to you? Let me know your thoughts!