Tim Barford – Why We’d all Benefit from a Deeper Understanding of Intersectionality

14th January 2018

Tim Barford, VegfestUK manager, looks briefly at the current issues regarding Intersectionality within the UK vegan community, in his short 15 min vlog.

Some of you may already be familiar with the recent issues surrounding a guest blog written by Julia Feliz, author of Veganism in an Oppressive World, and published by The Vegan Society. My vlog refers to this, please do have a read of this recent blog from Julia to help provide the background if you are not familiar with it already, before watching the vlog:

https://medium.com/@jd.feliz/a-consistent-approach-to-spreading-veganism-on-behalf-of-nonhumans-cedf0d974010

Whilst not wishing to stray out of my lane, obviously as a white male I have little idea of racism and sexism first hand, and am in many ways not equipped to even talk about these things. But am also mindful that the very people who are experiencing the most oppression are the same people expected to do the work to unpick systemic oppression especially, and that there are way not enough white males currently doing this work. This article here articulates very clearly:

‘’Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race’’

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/30/why-im-no-longer-talking-to-white-people-about-race

In my vlog, I emphasise the value of deepening our understanding of Intersectionality, and encourage those within the vegan community to embrace this framework (please see the resources included below which are of immense value), and also emphasise the importance of centering vegan women of colour in conversations around Intersectionality, on Facebook groups focusing on Intersectionality, and with The Vegan Society and their understanding of Intersectionality. I also make the offer of some help, advice and financial assistance to the Vegan Society to help address the problems raised by Julia and many many other vegans of colour to help ensure a robust and clearly thought out statement on Intersectionality as well as potential resources to help equip those within the vegan community that are seeking better understanding and guidance on this area and especially those that are organising events, campaigning and promoting veganism generally.

And we need to be mindful that Intersectionality doesn’t just become another way of silencing women of colour, otherwise it becomes yet another tool of the oppressor – and there is a real danger of this if we resist a deeper understanding of Intersectionality.

And also a reminder that if we want to see non-humans first, as the Vegan Society underlines, we need to be mindful that it is humans that need to change, and that we cannot afford to alienate people by inappropriate messaging, campaigning or promoting of veganism. 75% of the world are People of Colour, and we don’t want to exclude People of Colour. That doesn’t put non-humans first.

 

Resources

Dr. A. Breeze Harper – The Sistah Vegan Project blog:

http://www.sistahvegan.com/

Julia Feliz – Veganism in an Oppressive World:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Veganism-Oppressive-World-Vegans-Color/dp/0998994618

Animal Rights Zone blogs and podcasts:

http://arzone.ning.com

Circles of Compassion: essays connecting issues of justice:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Circles-Compassion-Essays-Connecting-Justice/dp/1940184061

Playlist with videos from VegfestUK’s Pro-Intersectional Vegan Conference 2016:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtLxVyVUfpg&list=PLnDhIVB9OlwDF9DbL_WUsWJidBwo_zqLa

 

Apologies to non-binary people for incorrect use of language, which has been corrected in the written blog but not in the vlog, indicating much to learn still for the author in this process.