Corey Wrenn of Vegan Feminist Network, Dr. A. Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan Project, lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project, and I have been speaking up about pro-intersectionality issues in the vegan movement so it makes sense that pro-intersectionality, as a topic, has been making its way into advocate’s conversations on Facebook (and elsewhere). But of course, as with any attempt to bring in radical discourse, it is often misunderstood. I think the following excerpt from Butterflies Katz’s public Facebook post and my response illustrate that and hopefully provide clarification on my perspective.
Marcia Katz: “Seems that the ‘hottest’ topic in vegan education these days is whether to include all oppression – one struggle – anti racism, sexism, speciesism – all in one called intersectionality of oppression.
But others feel very strongly that we should not be bringing racism and humans into our vegan education – and keep it solely about nonhuman animals and their rights. They need our voice so much.”
Sarah K. Woodcock: “With respect, I have not observed anyone frame the situation such that we need to bring ‘racism and humans into our vegan education.’ To me, the idea is that veganism rests on the principle of justice, and justice is not fully realized until it is granted to all sentient beings. This does not mean all vegans need to become anti-racist or anti-sexist educators; we cannot possibly be experts on all of these forms of oppression. But right now, the vegan movement is outright hostile to justice to people of color, women, larger-sized people, etc. We have ‘leaders’ spouting off ableist terms [like ‘moral schizophrenia’] and ‘followers repeating them without question. So, it is inconsistent, to say the least, to claim to be a social justice movement while egregiously perpetuating other oppressions. Why would other humans, most of whom are neck-deep in several forms of oppression themselves and who we need to convince about nonhumans, take us seriously when we speak about justice when we are perpetuating injustice to *them*? We need to situate the vegan movement in a pro-intersectional environment, not only because it is the right thing to do but because if we do not, it will not be successful. It cannot be successful.”
– Sarah K. Woodcock, Founder and Executive Director of The Abolitionist Vegan Society