This story is unavailable.

I don’t really know what you mean by that. Many vegans are not white.

This is precisely my point. That cartoon was white-centered because it failed to acknowledge that black people today are still victims of white supremacy. Black people are still murdered and pigs are still murdered. The victims are the same. What’s more, black people never participated in the systematic oppression of black people under American slavery, yet there are black vegans today, so how is this cartoon possibly speaking to them? In reality, what hasn’t changed is that white supremacy was oppressing people and animals back then and white supremacy is oppressing people and animals now, and that not enough has changed. That is the message that should be conveyed.

If you don’t understand why this is white-centering, it is preicsely the phenomenon the author of the original piece was pointing out: normative white culture. Veganism has been coopted and defined through the lens of this normative white culture, so a white vegan might get the idea that it is acceptable to analogize the plight of black people under slavery to the plight of pigs in factory farms. The reason this is racist, though, is that we live in a speciesist culture, and America has a history of dehumanizing black people, referring to black people as more animalistic or as lesser humans, and producing an image like this calls up that type of language — language that was and is used to justify large scale oppression — and fails to acknowledge the injustice of dehumanizing one race in a speciesist world.

I am. So what? All humans are animals. You are outraged by this because you are a specieist who believes in human supremacy above all other animals. I don’t believe in that, so I feel as comfortable comparing a human race to cows as I would be comparing Poles or Brits to Canadians or Jews.

I am opposed to racism because it is an injustice. I am not opposed to racism because I am a speciesist. I can be opposed to multiple forms of injustice at the same time, and I don’t need to throw one group under the bus to lift up another group. The cartoon specifically analogized lynched black people to animals. It said nothing of Poles.

The author of the original article found the cartoon to be racist and offensive. So, even if you disagree with that and think it wasn’t racist and offensive, you have to at least acknowledge that it epic failed as a piece of vegan propaganda. If your propaganda is insulting entire groups of people, it is not going to turn them onto veganism, and you are not doing any good for the vegan cause if you make enemies out of potential allies and annoy people.

Thus, even if a vegan can’t be anti-racist because it’s the right thing to do in and of itself, said vegan can at least be opposed to racist vegan rhetoric because it is suboptimal at combating speciesism. Why only target a fraction of potential new vegans with your message instead of all potential new vegans? Why use rhetoric that actively turns people off from your message? That is suboptimal and, in light of knowing that it will not combat speciesism as effectively as inclusive efforts, racist vegan rhetoric is immoral on that count, too. Racist veganism is immoral for being racist and for not doing enough to combat animal cruelty.

If veganism is going to get sufficient traction to overcome the evils of the factory farming system, it has to be intersectional. White-centered or racist veganism is counterproductive. You can be anti-speciesist without being racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or anything else. You do not have to oppress people to liberate animals.

To see what veganism that isn’t white-centered looks like, go here.