Saturday, December 15, 2018

Teaching ignorance

and distorted ways of understanding and obliviousness to cruelty and suffering begins as soon as we're born and continues throughout our lives.

Most likely, every person reading this post was given the flesh of animals and the products of animal bodies to eat before they could speak. Their parents believed this was "normal" and "good for them" therefore their children should eat this 'food'. Otherwise...their would not be "healthy" and they would be "bad" parents.

No one spoke about the cruelty and the suffering inflicted on the animals, the children were never offered a choice...it was all "good" and "normal" and "natural".

We are corrupted in our thinking and our understandings early on by the examples of corrupted adults who had the opportunity to "know better" but didn't take it. Parents and other adults who "went along" with the status quo...with what everyone else did. Who had "no idea" that confining and killing animals for "food" was unnecessary...but...those adults could have known. It would have taken some effort...some discomfort...some perseverance...but...they could have known.

And should have known.

I remember being in elementary school and clothing drives for the refugee children in Europe (this was in the early 1950s in response to the post WWII refugee crisis) were campaigned for and I remember bringing clothing to school where it was collected and (apparently) sent to Europe. I remember feeling good about helping the children and adults in Europe.

I did this in a nation that was "legally" segregated...I did this in a nation that cruelly excluded children and adults of color from public spaces and societal resources...where poverty and deprivation for people of color was rampant.

I was taught to be ignorant...I was taught to be cruel...I was taught to not think and perceive clearly...and...I was taught to feel good about myself for not being one of the "bad guys". It's not the "bad guys" that are the problem (not that they aren't despicable, but thankfully there aren't many of them and can be dealt with)...it's us.




Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Do you

really think it's all about a "war on drugs" and/or "crime"?


Wakey wakey.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Educate...or ventilate?

One of the quandaries I found myself in (and still do) from time to time is encountering someone who exhibits either ignorance and/or obliviousness re veganism. (I'm always sort of stunned at how many folks that eat animals say they "love" animals...although 20 years ago I probably would have done the same thing.)

It's at that point the dilemma presents itself. Do I want to point out the horrors of harm to 'animals' that a non-vegan way of living causes...and thereby almost invariably evoke defensiveness and maybe anger and/or upset (ventilate)?

Or...do I want to try to educate someone and perhaps nudge them toward behaving in ways that are less harmful?

Do I want to educate...or to ventilate?


The folks over at Faunalytics offer the above image to illustrate the approaches that have been found to be the most effective for educating folks. If you want to ventilate...well...you can figure out how to do that.

Usually ventilating results in feeling self-righteous about yourself and ensures...however...whomever you're going off on will probably forever figure vegan folks are thoroughly obnoxious and weird.

Educating...by the way...is a heck of a lot harder than ventilating...and I'm not kidding. That's probably why so much more ventilating goes on than educating. It's really easy to get the defensiveness going and little learning happens once that occurs.

Someone once said, "Nobody can get browbeaten into being a good person".

So...educate or ventilate?

Each one teach one. (I've liked that saying from when I first heard it)

Just think, if everyone who is vegan managed to get just one other person to live vegan...then a vegan world is quite possible.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The Washington Post

wrote a story that sort of says the same thing I wrote in my last post.

Their headline was: President Trump has made 3001 false or misleading claims so far.

I didn't see their story before I posted...but...there ya go.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The president

lies...a lot. Here's a link to a story on the New York Times website which was posted in December of 2017 that lists some of them. Links to stories that show the untruth of Trump's statements follow each lie.

A few examples from the first part of the story:

"JAN. 21 
“I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)
  JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)  JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.)....."

I clearly remember, from a long long time ago, when President Johnson was castigated for having a "credibility gap" (a euphemism for lying), especially in regard to his statements about the Vietnam war. Looking back, Johnson was a piker compared to the flim-flam artist who currently occupies the white house.

The U.S. has a long long history of our "leaders" lying...Trump isn't the first president to lie...but he might be first one who lies more than he speaks truth. I guess that's "progress".

I'm convinced that "lying" is a foundational organizing principle of this nation. We (the U.S.) began by murdering Native Americans and enslaving Africans and calling ourselves the "land of the free".

With that sort of beginning and then teaching our school children those sorts of awful and absurd contradictions without taking them apart and wrestling with their inconsistencies...it's quite understandable that most citizens don't place much emphasis on truth telling.

In that respect Trump exemplifies what is maybe the central characteristic of a "real" American.

Jeez.

 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Eight years?

Jeez, it doesn't seem like it but I've been posting here since May of 2010.

I watched an interview of youtube recently with Ta-Nehisi Coates wherein he noted that, if we're lucky, we go through several instances of learning enough new things that we become (in many ways) a different person.

I dunno how to phrase it, his way of expressing it is as good as any I can think of. I can attest to the truth of what he's driving at since I can identify 3 or maybe 4 drastic enough changes in my understandings that I think of myself as a "different" person...in some significant ways...especially having to do with how I comprehend/understand human society and living beings.

It's a pain though to go through such changes. I've never enjoyed them and yet never would I do without them. Each shift has been awful and terrific all at the same time.

I was in the midst of one such change when I began this blog and several years ago entered into another consciousness shift. They're not fun...they're interesting...but really really hard.

It's strange to think about the folks who were readers and commented regularly who have mostly dropped away...or...at least they've stopped commenting. There's a thing called "white feminism" and I suspect I've stumbled over a variant of that kind of thing that I'll call "white veganism". It's a "thing" too.

Eight years...wow. Thank you for reading.




Thursday, May 24, 2018

Uh?

Aurora: American white man
Orlando: American white man
Parkland: American white man
Las Vegas: American white man Sandy Hook: American white man Umpqua CC: American white man Waffle House: American White man Texas Church: American white man If only there were some commonality....

Wakey wakey....

Friday, May 18, 2018

The First White President...

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes with clarity and precision like few other American authors. His incisive essay titled: The First White President is required reading for anyone interested in comprehending the U.S.A. (note: Mr. Coates is aware of, and sometimes sensitive to, but often also oblivious to his masculine socialization.)

I strongly urge you to read the essay I've linked above, it is a condensed version of the whole of U.S. history not told from the perspective of white men. That U.S. history (the white man version) is the one most who are educated in North America are familiar with. And...it is dreadfully misleading and shallow.

I was moved to write this post because I spent some time this morning in a used book store and was struck by the amazingly few books that were written by anyone except white men or white women.

If you want to learn about society or culture or history...it is wise to access information from those who are outsiders or victims of that society/culture/history. Because...those who benefit from societies/cultures/histories are going to tell their story and they're not likely to allow themselves to perceive the costs of their benefits.

If you're vegan and only learn from and about humans without looking at and learning from and about those who are harmed by non-vegan humans...you will be woefully ill-informed and deficient in your knowledge.

In general...it's not possible to gain a rich, accurate knowledge of any situation where there are harmers and harmed without learning from the harmed. If you only listen to and learn from those doing the harming...well...you get what I'm expressing.

Read the essay.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Think about it...


 If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.”—CombaheeRiver Collective Statement, 1977

It's true that the destruction of the systems of oppression that harm Black women would likely (it appears that such is true, anyway) free all the human Earthlings...but...it's not so that such freedom would necessarily end oppression for all Earthlings. 
Some thoughts about fully ending oppression for all Earthlings are contained in this article: "Do you include an analysis of animal oppression or speciesism in your anti-racist work? Should we make justice for animals a central principle of Black Lives Matter movement? Aph Ko and Syl of Aphro-ism and Black Vegans Rock think so. In fact, from their perspective, it’s imperative that we do. As far these two black vegan powerhouses are concerned, anti-speciesism does not function apart from anti-racist activism. And your intellectual toolkit is incomplete without a radical re-imagination of “the animal.”"

It's interesting to think about the fact that resisting oppression directed at one targeted group (PoC, women, and so on) does not mean you necessarily are resisting oppression directed at all targeted groups (or that you're even interested in resisting oppression directed toward other groups)

Nope, each manifestation of oppression must be grappled with one by one...no free passes in this sort of work although many of us (me included) fall into the trap of thinking that we're good to go if we recycle or something. It isn't that easy...if it were oppression would have disappeared long ago.

There is no "purity", no end point...while we're alive...we have to work at understanding and resisting oppression else we'll end up upholding it. 








Monday, April 23, 2018

Three black men

who advocated for greater freedom and justice were all murdered within a 5 year span (1963 to 1968) and before they had reached the age of 40.

Medgar Evers, aged 37.

Malcom X, aged 39.

Martin Luther King, Jr., aged 39.

I was transitioning from childhood to adulthood during those 5 years.

It should also be remembered that JFK (age 46) was murdered in 1963 and his brother, RFK (age 42) was murdered in 1968.

So, in that 5 year span, 5 prominent political figures were murdered...3 black men and 2 white men...and...each one of those political figures were (to a greater or lesser degree) advocating against oppression and for greater freedom and justice in the U.S.

And...they were all murdered...here...in the "land of the free".

Wakey wakey.

P.S. One way to think about these men is that they were all engaged in efforts to interrupt/disrupt white supremacy (JFK and RFK less so than ME, MX and MLK). Often (always?) when oppression is resisted, if that resistance is perceived as threatening...then violence is inflicted on those who resist. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Time for a quote

"An astute colleague of mine once observed that liberal democracies in the West were generally run for the benefit of the top, say, 20 percent of the wealth and income distribution. The trick, he added, to keeping this scheme running smoothly has been to convince, especially at election time, the next 30 to 35 percent of the income distribution to fear the poorest half more than they envy the richest 20 percent."

pg 18-19, Two Cheers for Anarchism, James C. Scott.

Several years ago I very much thought this was good stuff...now...while it looks good (but is erroneous) it is very obvious to me that it was written by a white man presenting the thinking of another white man.

I seem to be getting into a place where I can usually tell what race/sex positions someone occupies by reading some of their thinking.

It's rather disorienting.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

I've been

trying to figure out how to think about "identity" for a long long time. (and still am)

I ran across this quote from Patricia Hill Collins that makes it make better sense to me. She wrote:
Intersectionality has attracted  substantial  scholarly  attention  in the 1990s. Rather than examining  gender, race, class, and nation as distinctive social hierarchies, intersectionality examines  how they mutually construct  one another. 
A couple of years ago I was sort of stunned by reading the statement that there has never existed a woman in the U.S. who wasn't also assigned a race...or a man either nor has anyone, of any "race", who wasn't also assigned to the category of either woman or man. It's impossible to separate them. I'd never thought about race/sex that way...but the truth of it struck me immediately.

Dr. Collins' writing expands on and fills that idea out. The key operation here, I think, is the notion of mutual construction. Our "identity" is a project of mutual construction and thinking about it (them) without this in mind is misleading. No one floats around who is "just" their class or "just" their race or or or. There is no "just"...all these factors occur simultaneously and constantly.

But...thinking that way is really hard (for me anyway)...it's so appealing to thing about one thing at a time...it's also misleading as hell.

The English language is rather poor at assisting us in considering stuff like this. I'm beginning to think that's not totally accidental. The language itself works to make this invisible...or at least really really hard to comprehend and think about.

English is a language created by and maintained by western European white men and those are the folks who brought us the abomination of colonization. It would make sense for their language to make it hard to think about systems that support awfulness that 'benefits' white men. White men couldn't see themselves as "good people" if they thought what they were doing was bad...so...a language they created would, of course, make talking/thinking about this stuff really difficult and misleading.

In case you're wondering what in hell this has to do with veganism, it was those same white men (back in the "enlightenment") who came up with the idea of "race" and they also came up with the notions of "human" and "animal" and that somehow "humans" are superior to "animals".

All the systems of oppression are connected and mutually constructed.

Our "identity" serves to locate our position(s) in power hierarchies (systems of oppression) and our place in those hierarchies determines (or at least profoundly influences) how human society values us and interacts with us. (note: identity would include not only such categories like race, sex, gender, class and such but also species.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

I found this photo


on facebook...and I couldn't resist. It was captioned: "Cat Vader".

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I read this quote and

marveled that it's true that we know all we need to know and have known it for a long long time.

The problem isn't the knowing, it's the remembering and the acknowledging and the doing.

Christopher Lebron wrote in an essay back in January of this year:

"In her alarmingly relevant book, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), political philosopher Hannah Arendt writes, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exists.” "

We white "Americans" (well, many/most, anyway) have been just waiting for what's in the white house for since the beginning of this country.

I write that because the "liberty and justice for all" meme always was fiction (in greater or lesser degrees depending on your group location and history) but was/is paraded around as if it were...in fact..."for all".

Saturday, February 3, 2018