Look at the image below, and then answer the question that follows.
Is this meme:
c) not appropriate for the vegan movement
d) all of the above
e) none of the above
Think carefully now.
You answered correctly (as I knew you would!), if you said: e) none of the above.
The scary part though is that this meme received a lot of negative feedback with different vegans chiming in that it was, in fact, sexist, or racist (because there's no such thing as white privilege), or not appropriate (why can't we just focus on the animals?) for the vegan movement. Wow, is all I can say. Okay, I CAN say more, snort.
Patriarchy is very much alive, despite the claim by some that equality between the sexes has already been achieved (right, what planet are they living on?), and despite the insistence by the men's rights movement that men are the real victims now, and even a minority, thanks to uppity man-hating feminists. (Did you see the eye roll?)
Others took great offence to the second line, because white privilege, apparently, is complete bullshit. And a figment of the imagination. Astonishingly, even some people of colour deny the existence of white privilege, adding that they enjoy more privilege than that of some of their white friends. But I think what can contribute to this confusion is a) not being clear enough on what white privilege actually means, and b) getting it mixed up with class privilege. For example, you can be white but not feel privileged because you grew up poor. An article that explains this really well is one titled Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person. A link in that article doesn't work (at least, it didn't for me), so here's a look back at a previous post of mine that does link to Peggy McIntosh's piece, as well as a few others. Oh, and at a follow-up post as well.
The not-appropriate-for-the-vegan-movement line ties in to the All Lives Matter debacle. Now, to give vegans proponents of this slogan the benefit of the doubt, of course all lives matter in a general sense, and the whole thrust of veganism is respecting all sentient beings. But the problem with countering the Black Lives Matter slogan with the All Lives one is that, among other things, you're negating the real issue of racism. It is, if you're aware of the importance of intersectionality, offensive. And here it can get a bit dicey. Because while all types of oppression are similar (the root being power imbalance), you can't casually compare sexism, racism, speciesism and/or other isms as if they're all the same. There ARE nuances, different experiences, and one of the easiest ways to conceptualize this is with the following image that I first saw on veganelder's blog, who by the way, is doing a lot of thinking and writing about these not-always-easy-to-fully-comprehend issues.
No, we're at a point where vegans need to better understand how these different but similar oppressions interact and reflect a fundamental power imbalance, and listen more closely to those with direct experience of those oppressions. Otherwise, tackling single isms isn't going to get any being very far.