Just like not all white people uphold white supremacy, not all white vegans adhere to white veganism. Similarly, just like some people of color and individuals of marginalized groups uphold white supremacy (hello gays for tr*mp and Latinos for tr*mp!), perpetuating white veganism doesn’t necessarily mean that you are white. Upholding white veganism just means that you support a system that excludes (and oppresses) other people who aren’t white / in a position of privilege. White veganism is not intersectional and it’s time we address this problematic subsection of veganism.
White veganism is that veganism that fails to recognize and hold space for the breadth of human experiences that exist outside of a white perspective. It’s that vegan who says shit like “what’s your excuse not to be vegan?”. It’s that vegan who genuinely believes that there’s no legitimate reason not to be vegan as though food deserts, eating disorders, and people who are dependent on others to survive do not exist. White veganism turns most people away from veganism because it is exclusionary. White veganism is something that most people of color do not perpetuate because we know better.
Nonwhite vegans and/or vegans who belong to marginalized groups know first-hand how living at different intersections complicates our existence because we face the consequences of racism, islamophobia, ableism, transphobia, anti-blackness, and more on the daily. As a result of this, we are less likely to say insensitive and narrow-minded statements that shame and demean others for their habits because showing compassion to humans comes naturally to us. We understand the nuances of the human experience which can complicate (and in some cases, prohibit) someone’s ability to go vegan. Upholders of white veganism on the other hand lack this same understanding.
People who uphold white veganism act as gatekeepers of veganism: they are (usually) the ones to call someone’s veganism into question as though they are the ones who dictate who is and who isn’t vegan. This, of course, should come as no surprise seeing as the act of gatekeeping is a central component of whiteness.
White veganism is not intersectional and it’s problematic af. It’s this thing that people engage in so that they can feel morally superior to others. It enables folks (usually white vegans) to belittle others under the guise of “fighting the good fight” aka striving for animal liberation. The thing is, you do a poor job of advocating for one marginalized group (non-human animals) if you cannot extend that compassion to other marginalized groups (humans). You cannot end the exploitation of animals if you’re spending your time discussing what is and isn’t vegan based off of your narrow-minded understanding of veganism. I get it though, people who uphold white veganism have no interest in dismantling other systems of oppression (white supremacy, systemic racism, etc.). Therefore, shaming vegans for eating at non-vegan restaurants, purchasing second-hand leather, and warping veganism into this exclusionary holier than thou cult is to be expected from many white vegans; they have a lot of free time and misplaced zeal about ending (non-human) animal exploitation.
If your veganism isn’t intersectional, please reconsider why you are vegan and how you are influencing others because it just doesn’t make sense to fight so fiercely for non-human animals whilst actively silencing POC, disabled people, poor people, and more. If you’re going to care about animals, care about all of them – humans included (and not just the ones that have the same lived experiences as you which would make it easy for them to go vegan)
5 thoughts on “White Veganism”
As a white vegan, I really appreciate how you broke this down, and explained it. The ones who are offended, are part of the problem. Nuances exist everywhere, and I definitely agree not everything is in stark contrast to each other, and there needs to be room for that uncomfortable middle where it might not fit one person’s narrative of what SHOULD be, but rather, what is. For a hot minute, this is something I had to learn, because I have had to teach myself and learn from others the concept of nuances that are not polar opposites, and if more people would just learn to listen, then the world would be at least a bit kinder.
Thank you for the time and emotional labor that you put into this post! I subscribed, and I can’t wait to read more of your content!
I’m glad you agree! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks for posting this! White veganism, as you put it, is a really difficult obstacle for so many people who want to switch to veganism and for those who can’t. It’s so difficult to have a conversation with those who feel they are morally superior just because they live in a major city with a great job and enough free time to educate themselves about the ethical, environmental, or health benefits of veganism. This is a great reminder to me, as a white vegan, to not get trapped in my own little world of food related politics.
Yes! I am so glad you agreed. It is really a difficult subject to broach with many people but having these conversations are very necessary.