Is veganism a social justice movement or a group of people who eat plant based food?
If it is a social justice movement, should we be sensitive to the impact that our words and actions have on others?
Or, is it simply a matter of suck it up and deal with it?
By the same token will we give those who make the comments a ‘free pass’ if they claim that it wasn’t their ‘intent’?
If we then adopt this attitude, who is the one that says where the line of offensive comments begins?
How then, do we attract others to the movement?
It Wasn’t My Intent!
Is this going to be the ‘get out of jail free’ card for veganism?
Take for example the body painting of Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram (Fully Raw Kristina).
When it came to the attention of social media, she put out an ‘apology’ saying that it wasn’t her “intent” to cause offense.
She then went on to say that “some of her best friends are black”.
Though what motivated her to paint herself like that in the first place is beyond me. Unless the ‘intent’ was to draw attention to herself wearing body paint…
So, should we let this one go through to the keeper because it wasn’t her “intent”?
Do We Need To HTFU?
To a point, I do agree that we are becoming over ‘sensitive’ to things and that we need to become a bit more mature about our reactions.
Though for me, the line is crossed when ‘leaders’ dismiss comments by those who have been offended.
Such is a recent facebook post by a Gold Coast based vegan. (you will need to be logged in to facebook to see the image)
The response by this ‘leader’ has been dismissive and arrogant to say the least.
He dismissed pleas to remove the post with:
how you judge my post tells me more about you, than it does about the post. How you react to something is a reflection of where YOU are at, not where anyone else is at
He justifies the post by saying that he was diagnosed with clinical depression, and he found comfort in those words.
Yet misses the point completely.
People have told him that they find the image hurtful, and offensive. Yet rather than acknowledge that and apologise, he turns the plea into a further dig at them.
He has no right to tell someone that they aren’t in ‘a good place’ or ‘at peace’ if they are concerned, offended or hurt by HIS words.
Just because you claim to preach love and peace, say Ahimsa and give the Vulcan salute, it doesn’t make you beyond reproach. (Why anyone would want to give the salute of an emotionless race from science fiction is beyond me).
It is Time To Make A Decision
If veganism is going to grow into the social justice movement that people want or claim it is, then we need to hold those who make racist/belittling/otherising comments accountable.
If we don’t then veganism will be nothing more than a club for the priviledged, where the oppressed and abused are not welcome.
And while we will all be able to parade around in our vegan t-shirts, eat out at ‘vegan’ restaurants/cafe, and share food pics on social media, it will be the animals that suffer, and face the consequences of our (in)actions.
And, aren’t they the ones that we are doing this for?
This article was written by the founder of VeganPolice.com.au, Cameron Blewett.
Cameron is a long term vegan (25+yrs), and is passionate about veganism, and helping people to understand more about animal rights.
You can find Cameron’s other rants on his website, CameronBlewett.xyz