072 Colonization, Classism and Fragmentation: The Issues Plaguing Vegan Debates

The princesses recently attended a panel in San Diego focused on debating if we should eat meat or not and were appalled by the level of colonization-minded comments, classism and fragmentation coming from the vegan panelists as much, if not more so, than the pro-meat consumption panelists. To address this, they break down examples of each one, and give resources to where you can get a primer on each one.

Meaty Issues Panel

In This Episode

We are new to some of these concepts, so we tried to tread lightly and we strongly encourage everyone to personally watch/read the resources listed below to start learning for themselves if these concepts are new to you as well. However, despite not having it all figured out yet, we couldn’t not say something after watching in horror as a panel on meat consumption, grossly titled Meaty Issues: Meat – Friend or Foe?, turned into social justice nightmare with some of the vegan panelists being the worst perpetrators of promoting a colonization mentality, classist bigotry, and the objectification and fragmentation of animals.

Before we moved on, we took a minute to acknowledge two people who have helped us tremendously in our continuing journey to being more aware and better activists: Dr. A. Breeze Harper and Christopher-Sebastian McJetters.

Dr. Harper’s Uprooting White Fragility lecture from the Interspecies & Intersectionality Justice Conference gave Nichole the courage to speak up when she sees something wrong and to stop apologizing or worrying about making members of the dominant power uncomfortable.

Christopher-Sebastian’s ongoing published work as well as his amazing Facebook posts gave Callie the ability to see the truth behind what people are saying, to see the underlying issues in many common narratives.

Colonization
Colonization is an ongoing process of control by which a central system of power dominates the surrounding land, its animals and its people. Side effects of colonization include the mentality that people of color or people indigenous to a region don’t know how to manage their own lands, or need to be told the “right” way to live or do things by white people.

We saw this modeled in the panel when Aaron Gross of Farm Forward described going to India to try to convert the people to vegetarianism or veganism, with no awareness of the fact that veganism and plant-based eating originated in India. He also used the fact that the people in India did not bring up classism or racism to him as proof that his actions are valid, not realizing or paying credence to the fact that people who have been colonized learn to not speak up to people who belong to the dominate power.

Resource: Colonization and Animals by Zarna Joshi (YouTube video)

Classism
Prejudice against or in favor of people belonging to a particular social class. The panel seemed wholly unaware that their insistence on grass fed beef, organic produce, and purchasing all food locally as a solution to all food-system ills was incredibly ostracizing to people of low or no resources. It seemed all the ills of the food system were blamed on those who can’t afford the “good” food, and there were many assumptions made about how educated, intelligent and what color those particular people might be.

strong>Objectification and Fragmentation
The process or state of breaking or being broken into small or separate parts. Carol J Adams describes this as one part of a three part cycle of objectification, fragmentation and consumption, that enables women and animals alike to be objectified, broken into pieces, and then consumed, whether metaphorically or literally.

We heard many many examples of this, sadly on both sides of the debate. Terms like, “commodity,” “harvest,” “unit,” “ruminants,” “meat” and “beef” in place of cows, among many others made it clear that the living beings that are farmed animals had been removed from the discussion.

Resource: The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J Adams (book)

Watch for Yourself!
You can watch the whole panel discussion here on YouTube and weigh-in over on the VWPA Society page or here in the comments!

Links and Information

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4 comments

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  • I found out yesterday that Zarna Joshi has become internet famous since you made this episode. The shit that she is getting from internet trolls just for being brave enough to stand up for herself when sexually harassed in public and confronting patriarchal security guards is really disturbing. I’m not sure if you two know about this; I haven’t been able to listen to the podcast weekly since school started but I looked over the show-notes of the episodes that I haven’t heard and didn’t see it mentioned. She set up a crowdsourcing fund here where you can find some more information: https://www.youcaring.com/zarna-joshi-675039 She also released a series of youtube videos about the whole situation and the social implications – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRnRw45AfxiQbPBBLF9P4uQ

    • Wow, we were not aware of this! Thank you for letting us know, we’ll mention it on the show. She’s even more my hero than ever.

      • I looked up her name on youtube and there are some really disturbing hate videos about her with millions of views. It seems that some youtube guy called h3h3productions really capitalized on it and made several videos misinterpreting the situation in line with a really regressive and confusing agenda, I think he is the reason this became viral. I didn’t include that in the first comment but I figured it was important. Also, the youcaring fund got removed because of “controversy” so she made a new one and posted it on her facebook page. Looking forward to hearing about this on your show.

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