We're living in such strange times in the United Staes -- especially in terms of race and social divide (I still think it's ridiculous that race is such an issue STILL in 2017, but that's a conversation for another day). But let me assure you that I'm not writing this so I can vent my frustrations to you. Nor is it to ruffle any feathers for the hell of it. I’m writing this because it’s real, and... what I see and feel. So let me give you a little information that might give all of this a bit more context.
Black people in America
Black people make up around 13% of the United States population. Which is a not a large number considering how integral black people are in terms of U.S. and worldwide social and political contributions.
But when you consider our ‘indoctrination’ (*cough*, slavery) into America it’s a bit easier to understand why, in many respects, we’re not exactly where we’d like to be as a people. It would take forever to get into everything, but when you take into account having been enslaved for hundreds of years and, for so long after that, (and today, depending on who you talk to) being considered second-class or lower -- it's not hard to understand why veganism isn't high on many black people's to-do lists. When you're focused on just merely surviving, many things of benefit go unnoticed... unfortunately.
Why it should be noticed
There’s a famous saying by Harriet Tubman where she says: ‘I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.’ Every time I read that cuts me deep because it's so real and so raw. When you’re mentally enslaved you’re a prisoner to the limitations of your thoughts. So in terms of veganism, many black people can’t see themselves doing it because they would have to give up food that was given to us by slave masters. And others just see it as a ‘white thing’ that’s either too uncool, uncommon, or 'un-cultural' – which also hurts me -- because it's simply not true.
It hurts because I know the catastrophic effects eating ‘soul food’ (how ironic is that name, right?) has had on the black community. All these preventable diseases -- hypertension, heart disease, etc. -- that are the leading cause of death in our community -- that we have let ourselves believe are genetic. ‘It runs in my family’ is something I've heard too damn many black people say. And when I’ve tried to tell them that the only thing that runs in their families is bad diet, it many times falls on deaf ears.
Slavery = animal Agriculture
And let's talk about another terribly glaring reality: Slavery and animal agriculture are one and the same. This is something many black people don't want to hear because for so long we have been characterized as animals, as a way to degrade and dehumanize us. And I get it, cause when you're called an ape or monkey in a derogatory fashion, it f*cking sucks. But let's take our egos and emotions out of it and be real (there's that word again) with ourselves. Being held captive and forced to do something you don't want to do is slavery – human or animal. We have just gotten so used to our behavior that we stopped seeing the other side of things. Those ribs, neck bones, and chicken wings were once living things. Living things that are being held captive like millions of our ancestors were.
But that goes back to mental and social conditioning. How can someone change something when they can’t see it needs to be changed? It’s impossible.
I'm asking for a roll call for black people because we are, in many ways, redlining – ready to combust. I mean seriously, how do we make up such a high number of incredible athletes, but also such high numbers of people dying from diabetes and high blood pressure. The two just don’t add up.
Want, not need
Every day I'm coming into contact with more and more vegans – most of them being white. And let me be clear when I say that I don’t care what race a person is – as long as they’re vegan. But I am focusing on a micro right now, as opposed to macro. And speaking on something that has and is affecting me closely. Black people need to go vegan. That’s as easy as I can put it. Not WANT, but NEED. No more slave food. No more comfort food. No more soul food. Let’s take some initiative and rename the right kind of food comfort and soul food. Real soul food is good for the soul. It makes you alert, healthy, and happy. It's not the remains of a defenseless animal that would have never in a million years try to harm YOU.
Pass it along
So if you’re reading this, pass the message along. Either this blog, or some other way – I really don’t care. I just think it’s time we recognize that NOW is the time change needs to be made. Popeyes, KFC, and every other well-seasoned, quickly made (fast food) slaughterhouse so many of us frequent don't give a f*ck about your health or the animals they murder -- they just want your money. So, black people, wake up! Get your diet right and stop pandering to food that’s crippling our community. That’s all I have to say on the subject… for now.
Peace and love!