Can you get into the vegan club? Exclusivism within the vegan movement harms not only those excluded, but also the movement itself—everyone and everything benefits the more vegans we have.
Exclusivism within veganism harms not only those excluded, but also the very movement itself, and all that we’re fighting for. tweet this (Check out the video intro for the tongue-in-cheek illustration.)
The vast majority of society continues to kill and consume animals, to the detriment of our planet, certainly the animals, and very often the people themselves. Veganism is part of the solution to these pervasive ills of our culture, a path of healing, and a lifestyle of compassion. We have strength in our numbers and everyone and everything benefits the more vegans we have. (Except, of course the smug problem…that may be an issue.)
So why would we want to limit our numbers in any way? Who exactly is that benefiting? Certainly not the animals! They don’t care what you look like, who you voted for, where you live, what you earn, who you love, how you identify. They just want their freedom and safety, and I’m pretty sure they’d be just as happy to be not eaten by a Liberal as a Conservative. tweet this
There is no prerequisite for living compassionately, no background check needed for being vegan. Exclusivity only benefits the excluders by affording a sense of superiority, hence the vegan smug problem. tweet this
Given that veganism is all about having respect and compassion for beings who don’t happen to look like us or communicate in a way we can understand, does it really make sense to bar others from veganism or make them feel unwelcome based on how they look or aspects of themselves that we don’t understand?
Shouldn’t we be helping anyone and everyone become vegan rather than keeping people out and bickering amongst ourselves about semantics and insignificant dietary differences?
When people are struggling to become and stay vegan, isn’t that the time to lend a hand with helpful suggestions rather than dismiss their challenges and tell them “it’s easy- just do it!”?
Shouldn’t we learn from one another on how to be the most effective advocates we can be for the animals, the planet, and the people? Wouldn’t our varied voices from countless backgrounds, sexes, races, classes, genders, religions, orientations, cultures, differing abilities, and unique struggles make the vegan message that much more relatable?
The answers, if you’re curious are no, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
(Oops…got a little too proud of myself.)
And not to burst anyone’s bubble, but there are conservative vegans, economically challenged vegans, vegans of color, Christian vegans, homeless vegans, Muslim vegans, gay vegans, differently abled vegans, vegans on food stamps, vegans in Majority World countries, transgender vegans, autistic vegans, vegans in the military, vegan slaughterhouse workers (yes, you heard me), vegans with mental health struggles, and on and on and on. tweet this
So vegans, we’ve got the whole being nice to animals down pretty solid. Now let’s be sure to extend that compassion to others who want to be nice to animals too. Let’s help them if they’re struggling. Let’s celebrate our own differences as much as we do those of the various species we defend. Think of what we can learn from one another if we get out of our own ways.
We’re all going to misstep and we’ll all forever be imperfect. But perfection is not what the animals and the planet need.
So for all that is holy in this world, let’s focus on that and stop fighting amongst ourselves like pre-pubescent girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Is that…is that reference still relevant?
As I’ve said many times, and now emblazoned on a T-Shirt:
“Veganism welcomes all kinds: there are enough animals to not kill and enough cruelty to not inflict for all of us.” tweet this
You like how I plugged my new T-shirts there. (Yeah I feel kind of gross about it.)
We don’t have to be best friend and sing Kumbaya, but we can unite under our common cause. In other words, as my video of old concluded: “When it comes down to life and death, does it really matter? So come on vegans! Stop it! Stop being douches!”
I hope this video & post were helpful or at least entertaining. If you liked it, do give it a big thumbs-up and share it around to help everyone join the club.
— Emily Moran Barwick