reflections on veganism white domination of the vegan culture

Ruis, gepost door: nn op 21/05/2013 05:11:14

Wanneer: 21/05/2013 - 12:25

reflections on veganism white domination of the vegan culture

reflections on veganism white domination of the vegan culture

an short piece out of my reflections on veganism white domination of the vegan culture with-in the movement
please shoot holes in it i need some critics to say it isnt true ! maby i should stop eating vegan ! or not?

reflections on vegan-ism and racism-critical perspectives

'white' colonialism was the thriving force for the expansion of 'white' supremacist capitalist patriarchal. Arguments for veganism are the avoiding of the exploitation of non human animals are complex, reaching from anticapitalsim, animal rights, ecological reasons up to anti racist approaches. What does no border have to do with veganism? How can a vegan lifestyle challenge global power structures? These and other questions will be adressed in the input.

A minimalistic historical overview

One of the earliest findings of living a vegan lifestyle may be found in Burma and Tibet in scriptures one could find the Sanskrit word A.H.I.M.S.A, it is a representation of the six pillars to be used as guide for an non killing and non harming life.

A :abstinence from animal products.
H :harmlessness with reference for life.
I :integrity of thought , word and deed .
M :mastery over oneself
S : service to humanity , nature and creation
A :Advancement of understanding and truth

'white' appropriation of veganism

So the idea for vegan living has been around for a long time but even 68 years after the founding of The Vegan Society an 'white initiative' in the U.K in 1944 and after hundreds of years of compassionate and eloquent questioning of the morality of using other animals, we are still a long way from inhabiting a non violent vegan world, in which both human animals and non human animals exploitation is ended. Looking at this it is clear that promoting veganism is not simply a matter of argument and persuasion.

Intersections of social re_production

To be able to discuss intersections between veganism and racism and powerrelations in general, we must address the processes of social re_production of oppression and their denial. It is precisely this mode of social re_production, which keeps the power-structures of "imperialist, 'white' supremcist, capitalist patriarchy" (bell hooks) alive. This means that new generations learn the 'values' of exploitation and oppression by the old generations, being convinced that this is the only 'natural' way to live together and thus seldomly question these powerrelations. To stop the reproduction of these powerrelations the non tolerance of violence towards human or non-human animals, we should mark all of the power structures at work and our role in them, so that we can challenge them.

In an truly non violent society both human and non human animals would all have the basic right NOT to be treated as the property of others.

Could an non violence theory be an guiding principle if one would like to reflect on the existent or non existent interrelation between anti- racism and veganism? The non-violence approach seems to be the basis of both anti- racism and the vegan movements in the sense, that both have a critical reflection on powerrelations, which always mean the infliction of violence and oppression. One of the basic strategies to justify and legitimize the exercise of violence is the creation of categories and their hierarchisation. Although this applies both to racism, specisim and other powerrelations, one has to be careful not to equal them.


Racism is a structural powerrelation that forms a basis of a global system of exploitation. During the 'white' colonialization, 'whites' needed to legtimize and justify the appropriation of land and resources, enslavement, genocided, massviolations ... and thus invented the category of 'race'. They randomly picked 'characteristics' by which they grouped people together to then declare themselves as the superior category and as the 'norm'. Through this they (in)directly declared themselves to be 'human', rational... and all other people they categorized in other race-constructions, which the 'whites' presented as inferior and 'not normal'. Through this 'whites' appropriated themselves a powerposition, which they basically hold on to today. It is important to make really clear, that there is no such thing as 'races' and that all this was invented by 'whites' in order to justify and hold 'white' supremacist powerstructures. Thus, in the words of Noa Sow, racism is not just the hierarchisation of 'differences' but already their 'marking'.

Human animals justify the exploitation and killing of non-human animals by establishing a system of beliefs, that non-human animals are inferior to human animals. In the eyes of many this justifies the consume of non-human animals, which leads to a situation where omnivorous human animals don't have to justify why they eat meat, although there are no good reasons for it, re_creating the norm of human superiority.

Intersectionality of Power relations

It seems that the powerrelations share some comon mechanisms, although their employment vary greatly. In order to justify exploitation, torture and murder the powerful establish themselves as superior, and give themselves the right to do the mentioned. An important component of this is to establish the power structure and thus the beliefs of superiority/inferiority as a social norm, this gives the hegemonical phantasy it's power to keep on existing, because norms are normally seen as something 'natural', thus unquestionable.

Now, that we established a brief insight of how powerstructures work, looking especially at 'white' supremacy and specicism, it seems to be intersting to have a look on how 'white' supremacy is reflected within the animal liberation/ animal rights movement/ veganism.


Most of the animal liberation and animals rights movements in europe are predominantly 'white' and are usually made up of highly privileged activists, being 'white', maleized, middle class, and profiting from ableism. That also shows through in the literature the movements put out: most vegan texts ignore issues of class and racism completely. These are power structures we should adress.

There are seldomly reflections upon the neocolonial exploitation as a part of global foodproductions, including meat-industries, or reflections upon the problematics that can arise with a vegan alimentations: the consume of soy products for which people in South America are expatriated, exploited etc. There is also no reflection upon where and under what conditions the crops that are so essential to veganism are grown and harvested: most of them were and are cultivated on colonized grounds for the european markets. This leads to another problem: in order to supply the (vegan) european market monocultures are established. These deplete the lands, disturbing the natural balance and after some time rendering it unusable for non-human and human animals to feed and/or live on these grounds. This basically does not effect 'whites', but they profit from these structures.

Colonial continuity

The treatment of animals is another colonial continuity. The 'white' colonizers enjailed and extinguished various non-human animals, bringing them to europe, f.e. to be displayed as attractions, or to be consumed by themselves. This meant the deprival of the local communities from these animals and also caused profound changes to the ecosystems.

Here also class issues often enter: who is able to buy all the expensive vegan products and the bio supermarket? Obviously this does not apply to everybody, shurly there are as well people how have a critique toward capitalism and would reproach the buying of such products, but there is still a big tendency visible not to reflect upon ones own privilged position.

Another point of critique towards 'white' vegans is, that they often display veganism as their personal fight which transformes them into 'the better human animals', ignoring other struggles and re_producing powerrelations of racism, classism and sexism. Especially to 'white', maleized, middle-class, "heterosexual", "abled" ... people veganism might be a chance to keep on playing the 'rescuer' because the oppressed in this case do not have a human voice to speak for themselves, while people affected negatively by racism, classism ... would be speaking up in the face of the intense paternalism. This is a mechnism to re_produce powerstructures they are profiting from and trying to hold on to their own privilges by not-naming powerrelations and their own dominant role in it, while at the same time silencing the struggles against racism, sexism, classism... . In this 'white' vegans often 'forget' that there are many (of Color, Black ...) Communities that are vegan - but just have a different name for it or simply can't identify with the european 'white'-dominated veganist movement.


Geruisd vanwege herpost. Zie

This has been moved to the Ruis because it is now posted for the second time. The first posting has not been 'censored', it has been posted in the category 'opinie', and it still there:


degene die het stuk herpost heeft zal wel doelen op het nog steeds afgesloten discussie gedeelte. ga er is eindelijk wat aan doen, stelletje luie donders!


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