Vegans Co-opting The Term ‘Intersectionality’

Lately there’s been a bit of an upsurge of people using the term ‘intersectional’ to describe their veganism – predominantly white vegans.

And it’s getting a bit problematic.

I want to increase general literacy on what it means to say ‘intersectional’ in context. I’m a light skinned person of colour. I pass as white and as an individual walking around in society have full access to white privilege that many of my family members do not have, but I have a family history of a Nana and Dad and uncles, aunties and cousins being Aboriginal people born and raised in a segregated Australia and what affected them has affected my life as part of my family. I’m also vegan and feminist. I used to call myself an ‘intersectional feminist’ but I don’t think vegans should use this term flippantly with the aim of advocating for animal rights without having a serious comprehension of anti-racism and the origins of that term. I think you gotta be really careful calling your veganism or your group ‘intersectional’ because that means actually being intersectional.

The term is being co-opted by vegans without addressing the ‘white elephant’ in the room – the issue of race in veganism. An intersectional online feminist space is likely to be administered predominantly by non-white (ideally black) people and also has specific philosophical framework around white supremacy and how to combat it; because intersectionality isn’t just a quick way of saying “we’re all equal”, it’s about white supremacy itself and co-opting it is literally the opposite of what it means to be intersectional in your thinking.

Don’t let this dissuade you though, it’s *really important* to *keep talking* about intersectionality. Basically you could as much as possible draw attention to the fact that we’re all living under white supremacy and that’s a good place for anyone to start. Follow: Aph Ko orA. Breeze Harper: Critical Race, Decolonial, & Black Feminist Theorist to understand veganism and how it relates to white supremacy.

This is only from Wiki but it helps.

“The term intersectionality theory was first coined by legal scholar KimberlĂ© Crenshaw in 1989. In her work, Crenshaw discussed Black feminism, which argues that the experience of being a black woman cannot be understood in terms of being black and of being a woman considered independently, but must include the interactions, which frequently reinforce each other. Crenshaw mentioned that the intersectionality experience within black women is more powerful than the sum of their race and sex, and that any observations that do not take intersectionality into consideration cannot accurately address the manner in which black women are subordinated.”

While there is significant relevance to animal exploitation and many black vegan feminists use this term it shouldn’t be used *only* as a shortcut to describe the interrelationship between various forms of oppression (I have done this many, many times in the past and in recent years have made efforts against this and encourage others not to do this without considering what it means). Nor should white passing people use the term flippantly without specific, real efforts to combat white veganism and white feminism.


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