PC Culture

Columbia Instructor: Going Vegan Fights Racist Violence

(Regis Duvignau/Reuters)
Are vegans anti-racist warriors, or are they displaying problematic “white masculinity”?

According to an instructor at Columbia University, eating a vegan diet can help fight racist violence.

The adjunct lecturer, Christopher-Sebastian McJetters, made the comments during a lecture for Cornell Students for Animal Rights, according to the Cornell Daily Sun.

“I want to talk about the psychology that goes into why we do this, the way that we do this, and the ways that animal violence and exploitation manifests itself outside of our food system,” he said.

According to McJetters, “what we do to other animals informs how we treat one another on this planet, and it is always — always — someone who doesn’t have institutional power, and they’re usually brown.”

“Whiteness has analyzed us and decided that we are not worthy of our individual selves and our individual bodily autonomy and that we get to be objectified and used,” he said. “Both of us, black people and animals.”

McJetters’s perspective is particularly interesting to me because lately I’ve been seeing people complain that aspects of veganism are racist. In January, a sociologist claimed that veganism had strong connections to “white masculinity” because the male vegans she interviewed used facts rather than emotions to explain the reasons behind their veganism. That same month, two professors wrote an article about how Beyoncé’s support for veganism “reproduces existing patterns of discrimination and inequality.”

So which one is it? Are people who are vegan anti-racist warriors, or are they displaying problematic “white masculinity”? Call me crazy, but I’d actually argue that it’s neither. I’d argue that whether or not you eat a piece of cheese has absolutely no impact on the racial climate of this country. Just like I thought that the veganism and “white masculinity” sociologist was ridiculous — after all, I’d argue that the reason the male vegans she interviewed had facts to explain their diet choices was not their whiteness or their maleness, but that they were vegans and you probably would be armed with some facts before undertaking such a massive lifestyle change — I think that this is ridiculous, too.

Think about it: If what this professor is saying is true, then the inverse must also be true. If eating a vegan diet can help stop racial violence, then not eating a vegan diet at the very least plays a role in perpetuating it. Sorry, but I refuse to believe that my choice to eat an egg sandwich this morning played a role in anything except making me not hungry anymore.

This story was previously covered in an article on The College Fix.

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