Am I A White Supremacist? | Vegan Privilege

Am I A White Supremacist? | Vegan Privilege



Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan and welcome
to another vegan nugget. Today’s video was
going to be a Q&A and I guess in a sense it
still is. Recently there’s been a video
addressed to me concerning white privilege
and my failure to address the issues of other
marginalized groups within my activism. Today
I’d like to try and answer that concern.
If all you have seen of me is my Bite Size
Vegan videos, then you wouldn’t know my
history, the things I did and concentrated
on before Bite Size Vegan, my own heritage,
my own struggles, the things about me that
are stigmatized.
And I’m not here to say that I have things worse
than anyone else because I have no way of
knowing anyone else’s experience. How can
I? The depths of the struggles each of us
go through are never fully evident by looking
at one another. I cannot say what oppression,
desperation, and utter tragedy someone has
been through by looking at them.
I’ve lived and worked with individuals
whose experiences left me heartbroken. I grew
up with foster brothers and sisters who came
from the most horrific of conditions and sometimes,
gut-wrenchingly, had to return to them. I’ve
been judged and slandered because of aspects
of myself that aren’t readily acceptable
in certain parts of the country. We all go
deeper than our exteriors and we can never
truly know one another’s truth.
I don’t talk about my personal background
on this channel, because that’s not what
this channel is about. I’ve done art on
some of it in the past. In fact I’ve had
a whole life before this channel, traveling
to India for my Women’s Studies degree to
work with NGOs in villages addressing female
infanticide and female feticide. Working with individuals
with disabilities for over a decade, researching
transphobia within early feminism and even
early gay and lesbian movements, and fighting
against it’s persistence in the present day,
but Bite Size Vegan isn’t about that. Those
are all things I remain fiercely passionate
about, but my channel is about providing effective
education about veganism. That doesn’t mean
that’s all I am as a person.
Even within my channel, from the start, I’ve
said that anyone, anywhere can be vegan and
that everyone is welcome within veganism.
Some of my earliest videos like ‘The Myth of
Vegan Conformity’ and ‘Why Vegans Are A-Holes’
address this very issue. I do think there’s
an element of elitism within veganism.
There is often, not from all vegans, but at
least some of the loudest ones, an air of
exclusivity that is very off-putting and can
be a barrier to those wanting to learn more
about it. That’s why in those videos and
throughout my activism, I at least attempt,
perhaps not successfully, to encourage openness
and inclusivity for all. I don’t advocate
a specific way of eating because I think the
best way to eat vegan is the way that works
for you and is sustainable.
As I’ve said before, whether you’re black,
white, Asian, Indigenous, Christian, Jewish,
Muslim, Hindu, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender,
Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative,
everyone has the potential to live a life
of compassion, which includes being vegan.
And yes, for some, the struggle to getting
to vegan has far more challenges than others.
And yes, my channel focuses on veganism. Are
there other evils in the world outside of
the struggle of animal liberation? Absolutely.
But not speaking about certain issues does
not mean I don’t find them important. There
are so many things I am passionate about outside
of veganism, but I’ve kept my channel focused
because I cannot be everything to everyone
and I sadly cannot address every issue of
importance. Heck, I can’t even get through
my vegan topics fast enough!
I do have plans for a series on eating vegan
on a budget and addressing the financial struggle
within veganism as I’ve experienced these
myself. Again, I’m not here to get into
my familial economic past or my own financial
struggles, but this is a valid and very real concern.
I have so many topics on my master list that
I have yet to address, but again I am only
one person and I can’t cover everything
all at once. I will say that I’ve long wanted
to do an interview series on veganism within
marginalized populations. However, I’ve
held off because I feel that contacting individuals
and asking if they’d like to be on the channel
for this type of series is, in effect, reducing
them purely to a figurehead of a race or ethnicity.
In essence, I worry such a series would border
on the appearance of parading “token”
members of a group across this channel, which
is incredibly disrespectful.
Though my heritage is not white and I do not
identify as such, I do appear white and I understand with
that comes certain privileges and
certain assumptions, of which I try to be
mindful. But please don’t think that my
not focusing on racial and human issues does not mean
I lack awareness or concern. I, of course,
cannot say that I understand the experience of
anyone other than myself.
But I can empathize. I have seen how people
with visible disabilities are dismissed, thought
of as less-than, sub-human even. Nothing quite
gets me more aggressive in public than when
I’m with someone whose disability is visible
and people ask me questions about them as
if they aren’t there or they can’t possibly
understand themselves.
My own disabilities and the aspects of me
that are in the minority aren’t usually
readily apparent, and again, there is privilege
in that. While I’ve experienced trauma and
those close to me have experienced, I believe
even greater trauma, what the animals go through
is no less horrific and naming it for what
it is, meaning rape, enslavement, and abuse,
does not draw power away from those humans
who have experienced these same atrocities,
but rather gives justified weight to those
non-humans experiencing them.
In regards to my friendship with Gary and
my branding performance, never have I said that
I agree with Gary all of the time. In fact,
I’ve said the opposite. I don’t agree
with him all the time, and especially with
how he sometimes chooses to deliver his words.
The video that has called me out has linked me
to the group 269 as I staged the first North
American branding early in the formation of
their activism
I performed the branding as an extension of
my own art practice but I have no official affiliation
with 269, though I respect all activists attempting
to fight for the animals. This does not mean that
I agree with everyone nor support every tactic,
approach, sentiment, or belief.
Honestly, I’m not familiar enough with everyone
else’s inner workings to even comment.
I try to focus on my mission of vegan education
because right now, that’s my purpose- and
that alone takes all of my time! But it’s
not all that I am and it’s not to say that
I don’t have many other passions.
My art practice before Bite Size Vegan focused
on exposing the things that we don’t want to
talk about as a society, whether that’s
mental illness, sexuality, the fact that there
are more than two genders, class distinctions,
or what have you. And with Bite Size Vegan
I’m continuing to attempt to expose what
is purposefully hidden.
I’m attempting to speak for those with no
voice. This does not mean I don’t respect
the battle raging for those with voices that
simply aren’t heard or acknowledged. Those
screaming at the top of their lungs without
even a turn of the head from society.
Just as the suffering of animals does not
negate the suffering of marginalized groups,
the suffering of marginalized groups does
not negate the suffering of animals. Speaking
up for one group is not inherently attacking
the other.
I don’t know your experience. I haven’t
felt your pain. And you don’t know and haven’t
felt mine. But we can all fight passionately
for healing on a global scale. If I could
be everything for everyone and speak to every
issue, I promise you I would.
I hope that this has brought some clarity.
You can let me know in the comments. Feel
free to like and share and subscribe if you’re
so moved. I will be getting back to my more
typical video schedule soon. Thank you for
your patience with these few weeks of chaos in my life.
Now go live vegan, in the way that works for
you and I’ll see you soon.
There’s this thing in the “vegan community”, I
Iike to refer to as “douchery”. It’s when
people have the elitist attitude that only certain
people can be vegan. Let me assure you everyone,
there are enough animals to not kill
and enough cruelty to not inflict for all of us.
Subtitles by the Amara.org community


Am I A White Supremacist? | Vegan Privilege


All credits go to Bite Size Vegan