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RE: Racism

A post on Tumblr had some racist jackass on it arguing that "not all white vegans are racist," completely missing the points others were making. Repeating my response to them here because I was overcome by an uncharacteristicly benign attitude for it, and it explains some things I have had trouble explaining in the past. With some slight modifications that I don't have the energy to make right now, it would be a good all-purpose anti-racist thing. Here you are:

I’m white and I’m telling you you’re wrong. White vegans have proved to me time and again that they care more about animals than they do about the lives of people of color. Maybe not every single individual white vegan is racist, but the majority of them are. It’s just that it’s a damn sight easier talking about white vegans in general than it is to constantly be saying “most white vegans.” Also, if people were to make that distinction all the time, white vegans could comfortably go “Ah, but not me” and carry on without being ruffled. Being ruffled is good, which is why the generalization; it makes you decide to either look deep inside yourself to see if you harbor any racist ideas you may have picked up by being raised in a racist society, or you can decide to double down on your racism.

Arguing “not all white vegans are racist” puts you into the “doubled down on your racism” category, by the way, because racism only goes one direction: from the oppressors down to the oppressed. The only thing going the other direction is Prejudice, which is based on it being safer for people of color to assume that white people are going to be nasty and even dangerous than it would be to assume that they won’t. IE, the worst that can happen by POC being prejudiced against white people is some white person’s feelings get hurt, whereas the worst that can happen to POC by not being prejudiced against white people is they might get murdered by the white person. So no, saying “white vegans are racist” is not racist, and will never be racist unless someone invents a time machine and leads African people to invade Europe and enslave and murder its people and exterminate entire cultures.

If you were really not racist, you wouldn’t have a problem with people generalizing white vegans as racist because you would know it was true, and you would know that you were already working on counteracting the racism that had infected your brain, and you would know that people making this generalization know that some white vegans are fighting their racism, so you wouldn’t be bothered by the generalization. I know because I’m white (though not a vegan) and everything in this paragraph is true for me. I know white people are racist, I see evidence of it all the time. I’m not bothered by people saying what I know is the truth, even though I’m personally fighting my own racism, because I know I used to have all kinds of unaddressed racism in my brain, and probably still do (CONSTANT VIGILANCE!); I know that such a generalization is faster and better than constantly adding provisos.

And anyway, in a racist society like ours, being Not Racist isn’t good enough. You have to be Anti-Racist. Merely being Not Racist is being silent in the face of oppression, which is basically agreeing with the oppression. You have to be vocally against oppression and racism for it to really count.

This was cross-posted from http://alex-antonin.dreamwidth.org/281450.html
You can comment either here or there.

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alex_antonin
Bishop Sanctimonious the Hypocritical

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