Sonntag, 13. November 2011

Vegan Intersectionality

Let me apologize in advance if this post is going to be somewhat incoherent. There are a lot of cool new ideas in my head at the moment and I just have to sort them in some way. The result might be a bit messed up. ^^

I've learned a lot in the past few weeks and months. It's funny how sometimes everything happens at once. Or maybe it isn't.
My decision to finally become vegan happened during the research process for my bachelor thesis and this really opened more eyes than the two I have. Somewhere in one of those books about language and gender, I read something along the lines "As long as there is racism, there will be sexism." In the following days, I slowly grasped the full meaning of that sentence by realizing, how much women are still discriminated and how little most people seem to care. I know several people who are passionate fighters for freedom and justice, or at least they claim to be. Yet, when it comes to certain topics, they suddenly shut up and aren't interested anymore. It seems that for some of these people, political activism is a hobby. They pick out the things that seem interesting to them, so they have something to talk and think about, and ignore the rest.
Maybe that is not their intention, maybe they just didn't think - just like me until recently - but whatever the motivation, the result is the same. We draw lines. Sometimes knowingly, sometimes unconsciously. We draw lines between who should have justice and freedom and who shouldn't. The point is that those lines are fundamentally unjust. As long as the notion exists that it is OK to oppress certain beings because... uhm... well... we can and it's always been that way there will be discrimination. Equality will not be achieved by fighting only certain kinds of oppression. Either there is oppression or there isn't and as long as we keep drawing lines, there will be oppression. Fighting only for justice for certain groups will result in injustice (see also history) since justice can by definition only be for everyone.
So, after I figured that out and felt all clever and enlightened and wanted to spread my great new idea, I realized that the idea came up long before I was even born (though maybe not in relation to veganism) and by now even has name. It's called intersectionality.
Anyhow, this made me question a lot of things. For example, I did learn at some point, that racism is bad but I more or less left the issue to people who are directly affected, not realizing that it affects everyone. This one of the rare either-or-cases. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Why? The world isn't neutral. Vegans and feminists for example are accused of preaching an ideology while the status quo is seen as normal and ideology free. Yet, promoting the consumption of meat is just as well an ideology. Same goes for sexism, racism, ableism and so on. Just because we grew up with something doesn't make it a law of nature. So, you can either stick to the status quo and thereby support it or start to do your own thinking. Nonpolitical does not exist. This is something that every vegan, every feminist, every anti-racist should be aware of. As long as we turn a blind eye to certain issues, all of our efforts are null.

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