I suppose that in a general sort of way I already knew that there isn’t anything that liberals can’t twist into some sort of a narrative on racism, but even I didn’t see this one coming. The latest group finding themselves in the spotlight of potential accusations of racism probably falls into the category of circular firing squads. We’re talking about… White vegans. If you find yourself wonder where there’s any sort of intersection between racism and White people not eating meat, don’t feel too bad. You’re not alone. But over at Vice, the accusations are flying and it’s enough to make my head spin.
When Afia Amoako became a vegan five years ago, she said she didn’t see herself reflected in the community, which was dominated by wealthy white women.
They often touted recipes—”African peanut stew” or “Asian stir fry”—that rely on racial stereotypes, said Amoako.
“One, they don’t look like you, and, two, they are appropriating your food. Those are ways to turn racialized people away.”
So the field of veganism is dominated by wealthy White women? Who knew? Also, when did we start using the word “racialized” to describe non-White people? That sounds a bit more offensive than descriptive, doesn’t it? Anyway, there’s more to the case being made here. Let’s read a bit more.
“These white women, they are the gatekeepers of the vegan movement,” Amoako said. “We Black creators have been here this whole time.”
White women are starting to acknowledge Black and racialized vegans now, following a string of racial reckonings happening in several sectors and communities, Amoako said, but “I’m not gonna lie to you, some of us are still skeptical.”
If I’m following these accusations correctly, it appears that the discussion is centering around social media “influencers” as they are called these days. They are people who go out on YouTube, Instagram and other platforms and develop huge followings. This can turn out to be quite profitable for the ones who rise to the top of the field
But in the case of influencers who specialize in vegan and vegetarian cuisine, it seems that the most popular ones are predominantly White women. Critics focus on a couple of factors to make their case. One is a survey showing that Black Americans are three times more likely than Whites to follow a vegetarian diet. The other is that all of these annoying White women spend a lot of time featuring Asian or African dishes. This is described as “cultural appropriation.”
As to why the most popular social media influencer accounts belong to White women, what exactly do you want them to do? Apologize for being successful? Nobody has a gun to their head and being forced to click the subscribe button. If you want to complain to someone, you should take it up with all of the subscribers. Why aren’t more of them following accounts like Amoako’s?
As to the cultural appropriation nonsense, we’ve been dealing with this for far too long already. Nobody holds any sort of license on a particular style of food. Anyone of any race, gender or religion can take up cooking whatever they like. Arguments to the contrary are nonsense. If you want to complain about non-Asians making General Tso’s chicken or non-Italians making pizza, that’s your right. But it’s the right of the rest of us to laugh at you. Do us all a favor and give it a rest.