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Why fewer black people are vegan

Discussion in 'The Vegan Forum' started by Indian Summer, May 20, 2016.

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  1. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer Administrator Owner

    More: Here's Why Black People Don't Go Vegan (20. May 2016)
  2. beancounter

    beancounter The Fire That Burns Within

    From the article:

    Encouraging black people to go vegan “for the animals” might show just how disconnected you are from the black experience.

    Lead with health benefits instead. Every African American has an uncle with high blood pressure or a diabetic grandmother, so highlighting veganism as a panacea will be better received.

    This is what I've been saying for years as a way to promote veganism, but have gotten a lot of push back about how "health benefits are not a worthy reason". I've even heard some vegans say that eating meat is healthy and they went vegan for a "higher cause". <=== and such an attitude ties in with another current thread...
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  3. Danielle

    Danielle forever seeking fire

    I think promoting veganism for health reasons only reduces it to a fad diet. People are very skeptical of those. If they're even willing to follow it, they'll probably cave and go back to eating how they're used to.
    What kind of culture isn't meat obsessed?
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
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  4. David3

    David3 Well Known Member

    Do a Google search for "Rastafari Ital nutrition". Vegetarian eating is popular within the largely-black Rastafari community.
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  5. David3

    David3 Well Known Member

    I read the article. I don't think that this author, though black, has a very good awareness of the black vegan community. She mentions a few black vegan celebrities, but neglects to mention at least a half dozen more. How is it than I, a white man, am aware of more black vegan celebrities than she is? Right off the top of my head are Stevie Wonder, Michael Dorn (Star Trek's "Worf"), three members of Wu-Tan Clan (Masta Killa, Red Man, and Method Man), and Samuel L. Jackson (OK, he quit veganism last year).
    • Like Like x 1
  6. David3

    David3 Well Known Member

    Oooo! Also, Forest Whitaker.
  7. One of my favorite restaurants is a little Jamaican place with live music and great food. They have meat dishes, but lots of vegan choices just naturally occurring, with the great veggies, fruits, rice and peas, these perogi like things, the best steamed cabbage.
  8. "In general, the black community doesn’t understand what veganism is all about."
    Is n't it nice to know, that one person can talk for the entire "black community" (whatever that is) :rolleyes:
    "veganism is for the privileged..."
    Poor Indians or Buddhists don't seem to have that problem.
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  9. Amy SF

    Amy SF Dweller in nature

    There is a wonderful vegan restaurant in Inglewood, California, not too far from Los Angeles International Airport, which is run by a lovely black woman in her fifties.

    Stuff I Eat Vegan Restaurant

    (I should mention that most of the population of Inglewood is African-American and Latino, although the restaurant also attracts a lot of visitors from outside the Inglewood area for various reasons.)
  10. Indian Summer

    Indian Summer Administrator Owner

    I think veganism in India is almost negligible. They have a very large vegetarian population, yes, who are vegetarian because of tradition and religious reasons. From what I understand, the vegetarian population in India tended to belong to the privileged classes / castes, whereas the poor had to eat whatever was on offer.

    As for Buddhists (in Asia), my impression is in general there is less of a class aspect with regards to veg*ism and in general more vegan dishes, but again not a huge amount of poor people who are vegans that I know about.
  11. Andy_T

    Andy_T Addicted Poster Forum Moderator

    Hannover, Germany
    Why does this always have to be an either-or situation?

    That reminds me of the sometimes heard accusation "Why don't you do something for people who are in need instead?
    Eating vegan does not prevent anybody from fighting for equality. Well, here's another newsflash ... researchers found out that people who are vegans typically also care more for other worthy causes than their non-vegan counterparts.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  12. Joe

    Joe Celebrity Member

    Didn't members of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. family become vegans or vegetarians? I think Coretta and at least one of King's sons were or are veg*ns.

    Martin Luther King, Nonviolence and Veganism
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  13. Joe

    Joe Celebrity Member

    Dick Gregory is a vegetarian.

  14. beancounter

    beancounter The Fire That Burns Within

    I think the lack of vegan blacks is combination of culture, environment, and education differences.

    I would expect to see that change/improve over time, but it is certainly true of my generation and earlier.
  15. Joe

    Joe Celebrity Member

    US Senator Cory Booker has been a vegetarian since 1992 and became a vegan in 2014.

  16. Andy_T

    Andy_T Addicted Poster Forum Moderator

    Hannover, Germany
    I watched the movie "12 years a slave" when it came out, and I found it totally heartbreaking.

    However, what hit me most were possibly not the scenes with extreme violence and oppression, but the part where the protagonist (a coloured man born free in the North) gets kidnapped and is transported to the South.

    The simple fact that the slavers would routinely use a boat fitted with "pens" and chains to imprison human slaves during the transport (quite probably there was a completely legitimate industry building such boats and other paraphernalia of slave trade at that time), and the existence of central auction facilities where the human slaves were routinely traded, the children separated from their mothers - and the clear understanding that everybody nowadays (at least sensible persons) has that this is outrageously wrong - reminded me so much of the fact that the average human today looks at animal transport cars or "factory farms" and does not see anything wrong with it - just like the people in the South of the United States in 1850 did not see anything wrong with imprisoning and using their fellow human beings.

    To be honest, I am quite dismayed that whenever somebody points out the analogy of the slavery of nonhuman animals today to the slavery of coloured people (who were not considered human by some parts of society) 200 years ago, a lot of people only see this as an "insult to coloured people" and outright refuse to discuss it, while IMO they should be seeing why it is wrong, just like many Israeli people nowadays see that eating animals is wrong because they remember the injustice of the holocaust (which is by far not as close an analogy to animal agriculture as the slavery of coloured people is).
  17. Amy SF

    Amy SF Dweller in nature

    Andy, when animal rights activists make a connection between how the Nazis treated Jews and how humans treat food animals, there is a similar reaction from certain groups of Jews, especially the older generations who remember the reports and films coming out after the war detailing what the Nazis did. They feel that it's offensive to equate Jews and animals, knowing full well that such an approach is part and parcel of the mistreatment and persecution of the Jewish people, not just from the Nazis but throughout history. Interestingly, there is at least one Holocaust survivor I can think of (although I can't remember his name) who agrees with the connection because of his experiences.
  18. Andy_T

    Andy_T Addicted Poster Forum Moderator

    Hannover, Germany
    The holocaust survivor most often making that analogy is called Alex Hershaft. Another vociferous author is Charles Patterson, and Isaac Bashevis Singer is also an important Jewish author and holocaust survivor who became vegetarian for that reason. (I strongly endorse his book "If this is a man", one of the strongest books on the Holocaust, mainly because it is written very dispassionately.)

    To be honest, I personally do not like to use the Holocaust analogy, not only because it can be seen as insulting, but also as it is IMO factually wrong. The Nazis did not want to "use" Jews, they wanted to "exterminate" them, kill them and eradicate them from the face of the earth.

    Slave owners, on the other hand, did not harbor any ill will towards their slaves. Many are reported to have treated their slaves "compassionately", they simply wanted to use them and did not think that they did matter morally. For that reason, IMO the slavery of people of colour has very many similarities to the slavery of nonhuman animals.

    In Germany, there are many left-wing people who adamantly reject the documentary "Earthlings" because it references the holocaust and even call everybody who refers to "Earthlings" as a Nazi or right-wing person. (Unfortunately, there also ARE right-wing and anti-semitic animal rights activists in Germany who use rather unsavoury comparisons, which does not make the whole thing easier). As I said, I do not like to use the Holocaust analogy, but I can only find it ironic when Germans tell Jewish people (Hershaft, Patterson, Singer) using that analogy that they are insulting Jewish people...

    And no, I am not equating either Coloured people or Jews with animals. I am actually comparing white, yellow, green, purple, brown and whatever other kind of human animals (in short: EVERYBODY) with nonhuman animals.

    Everybody who is insulted by being compared to animals is IMO only speaking from a perspective of speciesm. You would have definitely "insulted" a Charlotte, NC, slave owner in 1830 by suggesting that coloured people are just as human as he is.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  19. Joe

    Joe Celebrity Member

    I agree with you Amy that trying to draw analogies between black people in slavery and the treatment of animals today is likely to backfire when presented to perhaps most black people. At least that would be my guess. The same would apply to the Jews during the Holocaust.
  20. Amy SF

    Amy SF Dweller in nature

    Wrong on both counts. The Nazis saw Jews and other "undesirables" as subhuman, without the breeding, culture, refinement and full thoughts and feelings of the so-called "Aryans" and were encouraged to treat them accordingly. Everything about the Final Solution was geared towards treating their victims like animals. However, even though the ultimate goal was extermination, they also used thousands of their victims as slave labor. They not only stole their possessions from them but also used their hair and skin, just like we do with animals. Entire families were separated from each other, and mothers had their babies torn from their arms and never saw them again. Sound familiar?

    And yes, some black slaves were treated well, but most were not. White people, even those too poor to own slaves, were told to think of the blacks as subhuman, without the breeding, culture, refinement and full thoughts and feelings of white people (Europeans) and encouraged to treat them accordingly. Entire families were separated from each other, and parents saw their children sold off and never saw them again. Sound familiar? All of that is part of the legacy of slavery in the US.
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