It’s illogical to talk about “structures” in one breath, and then have our advocacy structured around individual white people [read as structures].
But here we are.. being illogical as per.
Tellingly, this meme on the Instagram wall of @joey_carbstrong himself (since deleted) is a classic example of the Australian Animal ‘whites’ movement and how it continues to operate according to patriarchal/white supremacy norms (mostly a combo of the two).
When I saw this image I was shook.
I didn’t know which part of this problematic junction was more outrageous, be it ascribing to the mainstream white washing of Christ or the blatant over representation of the most privileged/least oppressed people reimagined as our personal Jesus Zaddys;
-because lordt knows if the movement were to prioritise people of colour, women, and other marginalised groups, for instance, than resources would become unobtainable, the community would cease their support, and animal liberation would regress, I guess?
Before you say “bUt I doNT SeE coLoUr we R aLL hUmOns wHiTe GreEn YelLow PUrpLe—” I’m not done with this example of mobilised discrimination in non human advocacy, and it’s complete invisibility.
In our mainstream animal rights movement, the dominant ideology is:
Animal oppression is its own oppression and it has nothing to do with race or gender. It’s mainstream advocacy capacity is generally no more involved than what one individually consumes.
So when we critically think about that culture as the driver of the animal rights movement this meme begins to read more tragic than totes funny. Meanwhile, activists flat out fail to realise the blatant missing piece to the ultimate liberation puzzle as Animal ‘whites’ manipulate institutions of oppressions for their single issue cause rather than participate in eliminating oppressions of all, for an all encompassing cause.
They respond with “why can’t we just be vegan” “why are we bringing race into this”.
Because dear, veganism is a highly racialised issue. Food desserts and food insecurities disproportionately impact communities of colour. This is to say nothing of exploited third world country’s, many of which export food while their citizens face malnutrition and starvation; and this cognitive division that manifest between victim and bystander is not incidental.
The fact of the matter is, some choices we make, weather it’s creating a meme or sharing said meme have consequences beyond ourselves, reinforce harmful ideas and facilitate great suffering.
To not have a damn clue about what that suffering looks like for others is just another example of liberation unequally distributed and the ramifications of such, unequally experienced.
“Our mainstream social justice movements are doomed so long as Eurocentric theory is used to structure the logic of these movements” – Aphro-ism Essays on Pop culture, feminism, and Black Veganism from two sisters
Speciesism is only one of many institutions that should be challenged. Capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, religion, and other institutions of control and influence should absolutely be examined in our framework as it should outside as well.
This requires from us the rejection of popular [insert the first public figures that come to mind re white/male vegans] but ineffectual individualised solutions.
To allow these microaggressions to remain unchallenged results in highly problematic compromises, ascribing to more ‘white normative’. If we are not organising around this human divide [visible to few, invisible to many] than we aren’t properly getting to the root of animal liberation.
Veganism is a collective action of social justice. As a collective, advocates need to value accountability for our tactics, our theory, and our behaviour toward one another.
Because despite the considerable growth in the animal rights movement and non profit orgs, liberation remains slow-going and vegan numbers remain marginal.
Build your own evidence based approaches to animal liberation efforts. Be mindful, be intersectional and operate within an anti oppressive framework.
Joey, Gazza, Aspey, other wypipo, please take a digital broom to your fans and sweep up this shit.