Guest Blogger: Vegan La Raza – ¡Vegan La Revolucion!

20 Nov

Today on VBU! we have a brand new contributor who is excited to celebrate her one year of veganism. She was kind enough to give VBU! the Sunshine Award. Please meet Karla of Vegan La Raza. “My name is Karla. I am Mexicana/Salvadoreña and have been a vegan since October 2011. I started this blog to look at my identities as a woman, a person of color-specifically a Latina, and a vegan. Because of these identities I have experienced oppression in many ways during my lifetime. As someone who carries a history of injustice and violence, I choose not to perpetuate violence and exploitation towards other living beings, including human and non-human animals. Something has to change. I want to be part of that change.” We can all agree with Karla’s sentiments. Click here to find her blog and here for her Facebook account. Please welcome Karla!

¡Vegan La Revolucion!

A revolution is the overthrow of an oppressive system and replacing it with a more just, humane one.

I started this blog as a result of the cultural push back I experienced when I became a vegetarian and later a vegan. Compassionate eating felt like swimming against the current— I was made to feel like I was working against something bigger than myself.

Meat has been a part of my identity since I was an embryo and it played a central role in the happiest moments of my life through celebrations and traditions.

I was deeply moved and committed to el movimiento when I was in college and loved learning the “other history”, the non-white history of Los Angeles. I looked forward to spending the month of December at La Placita Olvera, not because I was a devout Catholic, but rather because I loved being around la raza, mi gente. I didn’t question the irony of animals being blessed in the center of the church plaza while everyone else devoured beef tacos.

Birria (goat meat) was the thing to eat at bautizos and weddings. Sometimes, I heard friends would go to church for a baptism, then to celebrate would kill a goat in the backyard and the party-goers would eat it. And yes, this all happened in Los Angeles. It’s hard to understand why learning about an animal being killed in a backyard would make a person cringe. How is that animal different from the thousands of animals being slaughtered everyday? Different from the hundreds of animals dying as I type this sentence?

Vegan La Raza was intended to be an outlet to express my experiences as a Latina vegan in a culture of meat. I’ve continually justified meat eating as a culturally Latin@ thing. Gandhi believed in leading by example not by preaching or ranting. I have successfully done that, but the other day, I was having lunch with a group of vegetarians and for once did not feel censored. This awareness made me realize that eating meat and using it as an excuse that “it’s embedded in Latin@ culture” is a weak and dismissive attitude lacking analysis.

Meat plays a central role in a patriarchal culture that objectifies and dehumanizes women by reducing our bodies to meat. Being a man consists of eating a chicken wing while being served by a woman with teeny orange shorts and a shirt that says, ‘Hooters’. Should the historical and cultural connection between men and meat continue to uphold patriarchy in our society?

World hunger could be addressed if the grains given to nonhuman animals were given to humans. Instead, we (all who exist within this system) choose to give clean water and food to animals who are waiting to be tortured and slaughtered. Should world hunger continue exist because we cannot go a day without eating a slice of bacon?

Deforestation in order to produce grazing land is a major environmental problem. So to all the “environmentalists” out there, planting a tree or starting a community garden is worthless unless we are working collectively to keep corporations from destroying natural resources to profit from factory farming.

Animals are killed by the millions in order to make money. Quality, regulation, life, workers, and the environment are irrelevant—profit is everything!

So, when people of any culture choose to uphold death and consumption in order to justify or cleanse their conscience, I hope they think twice about everything else the dead flesh they are putting in their mouth stands for — herstories and histories of oppression, death, exploitation, and capitalism.

It’s time to become conscious, empowered beings. If humans are considered (self-proclaimed) the brightest animals on earth, let’s take a step forward, put defeatist attitudes of self-control behind us and overthrow dominant cultures.

¡Vegan La Revolucion!


6 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Vegan La Raza – ¡Vegan La Revolucion!”

  1. Ally November 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    [stands and applauds] Brilliant!

    • Xiomara November 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Thank you, Ally! 😀

  2. spinachrevolution November 21, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    Great article, thank you!

    I am based in South Africa and sadly, it is also a very “African” thing to celebrate any event by eating meat (very often the animals are killed in very cruel methods as well – but all acceptable because it is labelled as tribal rituals). No one questions it “because it is our culture”.

    It is very sad, and totally unnecessary. My biggest challenge is how to approach them and discuss the topic with them, without them getting defensive and totally closing up, without considering alternatives. How do you approach these people? How do you go about it, to create an open dialogue that will hopefully make people listen and at least consider changing their “culture” to a more humane culture?

    • thombeed November 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

      I could not agree more with what you said. When I worked in Mexico it seem that latin Spanish people found it hard to image someone not eating meat… I know this is all over the world too, but there was a macho kind of connections between meat and men I saw there (Like here too I guess) gracias por compartir 🙂

      • Xiomara November 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

        De nada, thombeed. There is a strong male -> meat association in most places. I’ve heard Mexico is becoming a veg friendly place though :).

    • Xiomara November 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      Thank you for reading! I find that as long as people keep justifying meat by associating it culture is THE challenge. My thoughts are that people need to know about the many reasons to go.vegan: health, workers rights, patriarchy, etc. and maybe one day, they will internalize one of those reasons.

      Thank you for sharing your experienceS in South Africa!

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