Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pro-Intersectionality Veganism is EASY!

Consider the following meme which displays the popular "veganism is easy," "no excuses" theme:

A muscular, bearded man identified as a "Strong Man" competitor from Germany looks directly at camera with arms folded. Quote attributed to him reads: "We must all do our part to make the world a better and more just place. Nowadays, everybody can easily be vegan - there are no excuses anymore!" Organization: Animal Equality

In considering the image, keep in mind that the quote is attributed to someone who appears to be a white able-bodied man living in a food secure nation.

Look, there is nothing wrong in trying to present veganism as accessible, but the privilege behind our framing must be acknowledged. It just had to be.

I have seen several abolitionist vegans complain about pro-intersectionality, annoyed that they are made to feel as though they must add a disclaimer to their outreach. Political correctness gone wild? Perhaps to some, but the reality is that political correctness (which is really just a fancy phrase for "treating people with respect") is what we need to do. If we want to grow a vegan movement beyond the borders of white, middle class society, that is what we need to do.

To put it in words they can relate to: "Pro-intersectional veganism is EASY!"

Really, it is not that hard to treat others with respect. Neither is it especially taxing to consider how the vegan message will be interpreted by others. It's simply a matter of being mindful of your social position and the social positions of those you are addressing. The advocate's experience in the world is not the universal experience. Good advocacy is advocacy that acknowledges difference and can adjust accordingly.