Monday, October 7, 2013

“Never Be Silent: On Trayvon Martin, PETA, and the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness”

Here’s video of a recent talk by A. Breeze Harper, founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, part of the “Re-visioning Food Sovereignty” symposium at the Scripps College Humanities Institute. The first several minutes, in which she’s explaining her terminology, are somewhat confusing and this should probably be translated into less academic language even in this context. But after about ten minutes, when she starts focusing concretely on PETA’s Vegan Shopping Guide, their use of Trayvon Martin’s killing, and their response to an accusation of racism from the NAACP, it really gets going.

It sensitized me to some issues that are important to recognize for those of us talking about interlocking oppressions.

If you watch, you should watch all the way through, including the 10 minutes of Q&A that make up the second part. If you don’t, you might get the impression that she opposes animal rights or veganism, when in reality she’s an animal rights vegan. She follows her criticism with some suggestions for what she sees as better approaches – for example, she recommends the Food Empowerment Project and their food guides (they have a blog, Appetite for Justice, which I think I’ve cited in the past).

The post she wrote the day before the event is also worth reading.

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