Confession: These are some ways I have been racist

I’ve been wanting to get this said and am sorry it’s taken me so long.

For a short period I was influenced by writings and statements from multiracial people who seemed to look very white, who had more complicated identities and didn’t identify as white. I’m 1/64 Cherokee and have some rumors of Iroquois heritage on my mother’s side, but am mostly Scotch-Irish and Swedish. My grandmother and uncles and cousins in North Carolina have all lived on Cherokee land for generations now. I briefly thought I should honor the small part of me which is Native by trying to reconnect with my tribe, but realized that to be adopted as a Cherokee I’d have to give up my vegan ideals. I then read a lot of stuff about postmodern Native identities and for about a month started publicly calling myself multiracial and two-spirit, since these terms seemed to best describe my blended, trans identity. Since then, I’ve realized that my skin is way too white for me to identify in this way, and I’ve seen that my using these terms was racist and a form of cooptation. I’m very sorry and very aware of my error and wanted to say this publicly in case anyone saw me identifying in these ways; that phase needed an explanation.

There are lots of other ways I’ve been (however unintentionally) racist. Maybe I’ll write more confessions like this one, I don’t know. I don’t mean to draw attention to myself; there are probably better ways of fighting racism and even of addressing this particular wrong. Anyhow, here it is. Sorry.

Morning links

News and events:

These links are all Ithaca- or Tompkins County-specific:

Real men cook

The Ithaca Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is partnering with the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC) to host a culinary challenge, “Real Men Cook!” on Saturday, March 8, 2014 from 5pm-7pm at the GIAC gymnasium located at 301 West Court Street (entrance), Ithaca, NY.

This event showcases the culinary talents of volunteer chefs, who prepare and serve their signature dishes for attendees to enjoy. All money collected from ticket sales goes to the scholarship fund and community service projects.

Come out and vote for the best chef in each category. Vegetarian and Vegan samples will be available!

To purchase tickets, email Schelley Nunn at snunn at or Malinda B. Smith at malindab.smith at

Gender Adventure Time

In Idea Channel’s Is Beemo a Third-Wave Feminist?, Mike Rugnetta discusses how the character BMO on Adventure Time is neither male nor female. His switching comfortably between male and female pronouns throughout the video made me cry a little, and I loved the quick, historically contextualized take-down of the gender binary. Thank you world, for changing.

(Uh, this post is related to animals because I’m an animal and my gender is part of my animalness. Therefore I will blog about gender. …See, I need to change the name of this blog to something more generally intersectional.)

Conference: “A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering”

dis-abled dog running with the help of wheels

Dear vegans of today: Thank you for being awesome. This is so incredibly far beyond anything that was happening when I was an 18-year-old baby vegan. How far we’ve all come!

1st Annual Conference “Engaging with Eco-ability”
Binghamton University, New York
April 27 and 28, 2013

A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering

The 1st Annual Conference “Engaging with Eco-ability” will be hosted at Binghamton University April 27th & 28th, 2013. The conference will be organized and moderated by Anthony Nocella II and JL Schatz. The goal of this conference is to lay the groundwork for an edited book that’s part of the Critical Animal Studies series published by Lexington Books.

Sponsors include Binghamton University English Department, Binghamton University, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and Students for Critical Animal Studies.

More info / RSVP on Facebook.

A sandwich that’s bad for everybody

Have you heard about this secret menu at McDonalds? How about the McGangBang? I hadn’t heard of it until the other day when it was mentioned casually in a slideshow of other fast food secret menu items on Huffington Post. Personally, I can’t imagine wanting such a thing, even back when I was an 18-year-old dedicated carnivore: Something about the name just feels wrong.

Thankfully, the fine feminist folks at Shakesville have done a great job of pointing out the sexism implicit in this sandwich name — a sandwich which, I’d like to point out, is neither good for women, or animals, or the men to whom this kind of thing is marketed (and who this kind of food is harming, with all of its saturated fat, cholesterol, and other nastiness).

Masculinity in the kitchen

In Do We Have The Courage To Raise Our Sons More Like Our Daughters?, Lynn Beisner tells a story about how changing gender norms have allowed her to continue a treasured family tradition of passing on a beloved (presumably non-vegan, but that’s not the point here!) toffee recipe — because her son was ready to take up the torch when her daughter wasn’t. She writes,

I love how my son is challenging all of the gender assumptions I didn’t even know I still had. I love that somehow, against all odds, I managed to raise a guy who cannot have his masculinity threatened because it does not reside in what other people think of him.

As I read this lovely post, I thought of all of the amazing vegan men I know, who are willing to stop eating animals, though so many human cultures seem to equate meat eating and dominance over nature with masculinity. I love that so many men are becoming so willing to help build a more equitable, peaceful, cooperative culture, in these different ways. Maybe the kitchen is a good place to start, since it’s a place where women and animals have been oppressed for a long time.

Maybe one day women won’t fear men, and animals won’t fear humans. Can we make that happen, together?

What does it mean to be a vegan animal?

An unexpected part of my vegan journey has been my realizing that I’m an animal, and growing to love that part of myself. Which is surprisingly difficult, since we’re we’re raised to think we’re something special, different, set apart, and are taught that to be called an animal is insulting. But we lose a part of ourselves when we say we’re not animals. More