Wednesday, 24 March 2010

the ability to make choices

In the post Elitism and the Movement, Prof Susurro discusses the idea that veganism as a movement has played a role in perpetuating a classist discource. She interrogates this idea, which was a riff off a post at Vegans of Colour asking does second-hand figure into your ethics equation. Prof Susurro's point was that questions that position 'choice' as the key element imply that all vegans have this choice, ie, can afford to/have the ability to make this choice. Framing it in this way erases vegans who don't fit into a middle/upper class position.

Prof Susurro's entire post is very interesting, as are the comments on both posts. The comments especially really interrogate a lot of intersections with veganism, including transphobia and feminism and racism. I know that when I write my blog, my assumption is that my audience are middle-upper class, well-educated, and (based on who comments) primarily white. And for the most part, vegan or vegetarian. I tend to assume that we are all operating from certain privileges regarding free time and class and available cash, but I acknowledge that whilst that is my reader base, that is not the reality of all vegans or vegetarians (or people who would like to be vegans or vegetarians but cannot make that choice).*

A lot of what I read around the blogosphere is about people making 'wrong' choices, and about how veganism is cheaper than other, animal-exploitative options, but statements whose base message is that fail to recognise that for some people, there is no option in there to choose.

Anyway, Prof Susurro's post really got me thinking about the ways that I can a) enable people less privileged than me to be able to make a vegan choice if they want to, and b) make veganism more accessible. It's also got me thinking about the assumptions that I make, and how judge-y I can be as a vegan sometimes. Lots of thinking. It's an interesting post! I really recommend reading it, and the comments (though some of the comments get very deraily and defensive). And if you've never encountered intersections before, it's not a bad post in which to get an introduction.

*an aside: I mostly know Malaysian and Chinese non-vegans! So if you have any Malaysian or Chinese vego buddies, please feel free to hook me up.


nixwilliams said...

thanks for the link - good and interesting reading.

Shaan said...

I'm not Malaysian or Chinese, but I'm Singaporean! I'm studying in Adelaide though. Coming to think of it, I don't know any vegetarians from Singapore either. Strange eh?

So anyway, nice to meet you! :)

steph said...

Hi Shaan! Singaporean is TOTALLY OKAY! :o)