Dear PETA, Black Lives Matter…So, Where are You in All this Mess?
I ran across this old post from 5 years ago (see at the end of this post). Why couldn’t you make your point without needing to do this? Seriously, it’s 5 years later and I wonder if you’ll ever know that Black Lives Matter and that we’re not just here to promote your white neoliberal racist sense of animal liberation. When I first saw this posted on Craig’s List (see at the bottom) I just wanted to vomit and cry… I thought about how, historically, Black women’s bodies have been exploited, abused, and demeaned in order to maintain white supremacist USA system…and yes, this process still continues. So, this ad below was just heartbreaking to me because it really shows that PETA uses ‘diversity’ in the most white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchal sense; that you are part of the ally industrial complex (i.e. fake allyship).
In the past several months, as I have directed my black feminist vegan work to meet the goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, I wonder if you ever apologized for doing this ad below. I also wonder what your role in Black Lives Matter movement is. Despite your obsession with being ‘post-human” and “we’re all animals”, race matters. Black people, collectively, do not think of ourselves as post-human because thus far, we have not even been afforded the right to be treated as sentient and loving human beings yet. And I don’t say this in as a promotion of speciesism. I say this with the full canon of critical race and Black feminist scholarship backing me up. I know that since European colonialism until now (…and probably tomorrow, and the week after, and the year after) Black people will continue to be treated as animals due to systemic racism and neoliberal whiteness— until post-racial, post-humanist, “I don’t see color” power-holders like yourself, practice the tenets of Black Lives Matter (along with many other anti-racist movements); incorporate it into your vegan actions. And when I write ‘treated as animals’, I’m speaking within the socio-historical context of post-1492, when European colonizers decided that non-human animals are disposable, exploitable, and non-sentient…and then they categorized Black Africans as such types of animals.
As the Black Lives Matter movement becomes stronger and stronger across the U.S. nation, and as I support this movement through my own actions as Black feminist vegan, where are you in all this mess? What have you done to show us that Black Lives Matter? Where are you in finally doing an organizational wide re-vamp to teach your staff and volunteers that a vegan praxis of Black Lives Matters is not only possible, but necessary? That it is far from distracting from your ‘single-issue’ goal of non-human animal liberation? You ask omnivores to stop being silent about the systemic abuses and suffering of non-human animals. I’m asking you to stop being silent and compliant when it comes to systemic abuse and exploitation of Black people. It is possible to focus on animal liberation and be anti-racist without losing your power to affect change. But, I think you know that by now and I wonder if it is easier to give up your speciesist power than it is to give up the collective neoliberal white privilege power most of your leadership HAS and simply cannot revoke.
Like the ad below, will you continue to use our Black and Brown bodies that have white supremacist myths trailing behind them (“they are exploitable”, “they are hypersexual”, etc.) to further your very own and exclusive vegan social ‘just us’ goals; goals that don’t dismantle systemic racism and neoliberal whiteness, but reaffirm and maintain them?
I invite you to attend the Sistah Vegan 2015 Conference “The Vegan Praxis of ‘Black Lives Matter'”. It is online. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by attending. And pick up some books that will help you the learn about Black Lives Matter Movement; how it is a continuum of Black liberation. You will find that list at the bottom of this other Sistah Vegan post.
(Breeze sits here, anticipating the sound of crickets and another 5 years of social ‘just us’ like the ad below)