The Afro-Vegans Dilemma
Updated: Feb 23
Going vegan in any culture can be difficult...but especially in the black community. For one thing there has only been a few examples of what a black vegan even looks like. The only big time vegan I knew before the last couple years was Russel Simmons. But lets be honest Russel Simmons is not your average brotha. Besides him the idea of being vegan and black was absurd....or something that white people did. The lifestyle is as taboo as it can get in the black community. So I wanted to give my top 5 reasons on why I think it's hard to be vegan and black.
#5 Black people are scared of the unknown
For justified reasons black people can be scared of the unknown and will stick with what we know as a defense mechanism. When one of us try's something different than the norm we are soon after denounce and our "black card" is taken away. It takes time for something new to be fully embraced by the community.
#4 Lack of identity to self
It's no secret that as a people we have lost a large chunk of our history from slavery and centuries of systematic oppression. Since then, Soul Food has been the bread and butter of African American culture. Its more than just what we put into our bodies, its about our history and a key piece of our identity. So once someone else wants to add on to that and look through food in a different lens, it tends to be met with resistance.
#3 Crab in the Bucket Scenario
When it comes it comes to people in our community going vegan I believe there is a lack of support that stems from jealousy and self-hate. People hate because they don't have the discipline to do it themselves or they see the benefits of people who are doing it and show bitterness in the form of disapproval. We continue to pull each other down instead of lift each other up out of the bucket of life.
#2 Going vegan can be seen as selfish
We've all heard it before " boy/girl you better eat the rest on your plate, there are kids starving in Africa".Our parents and others older than us may feel disrespected because we come off as ungrateful for not eating the foods they worked hard to put on the table. Its especially difficult when the family has limited resources.
#1 The lifestyle comes off as pretentious
Lastly, people in the vegan lifestyle can come off (how do I say this nicely).....like a jerk. I've seen first hand the elitist attitude of people who have claimed to be vegan. Its personally a pet peeve of mine. Malcolm X once said "Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't know what you do or think as you think or as fast.There was a time when you didn't know what you know today".