UC Berkeley Talk Part II: Queen Afua and Race-Gender Conscious Veganism

Breeze Harper (Sistah Vegan) explains “the Afrocentric approach to veganism that is race-gender conscious, decolonial, and revolutionary black feminist. I did this because I wanted to explain that there are more than just Eurocentric philosophical ‘ethics’ behind why some people choose veganism. By Eurocentrism, I mean the philosophical canon of ‘ethics and animals’ that dominate the mainstream academic literature in the USA. While Eurocentric philosophy focuses on the ‘ethics’ of non-human animal consumption and non-human animal exploitation, Afrocentric veganism (through Queen Afua) focuses on how veganism becomes a decolonial tool against the unethical abduction and enslavement of Africans and the institutional of chattel slavery; an unethical institution that took away their original plant-centered dietary philosophy and “forcing” them to eat a carnicentric diet. This is what a vegan methodology of the racially oppressed can look like!”


Black Folk Don’t Go Green?

Feat. Nubia Sutton, Breeze Harper, and others. Get into it!


Sistah Vegan serving up some knowledge and a Kale smoothie


From her Vimeo video caption:

“In this video I reflect on the past week of people who have written me, conveying to me, "I don’t really get what you do,” because they themselves “don’t judge people by the color of their skin.”

I try to compassionately explain that my research activism focuses on “structural racism” and “racialized effects”. How do these affect vegan philosophies, whether you consider yourself racist or not? How does structural racism (and other “isms”) affect vegan rhetoric, vegan outreach, vegan consumption, the vegan body ideal, etc?

Most importantly, I read from my dissertation intro and share with you the 6 core questions I am investigating in my work. And Lastly, I ask that if you can contribute to funding me to finishing my PhD for 2012 (because my fellowship was not renewed), you can send a monetary contribution to breezeharper (at) paypal (dot) com or offer other ideas if you are unable to contribute money.

Breeze Harper is my new favorite person

Just spent the last hour or so watching lecture on white ideology and racism in mainstream vegan culture and I feel like I’ve had a revelation of sorts about my ideas and concepts of what it means to be vegan, and what steps I need to take to become educated about all aspects of it in order to be the best person I can possibly be.


Veganism is not a “white” thing but “Indigenous” and “Original People’s” Thing: Hood Health breaks it down.

I read from “Hood Health” Handbook, Vol 1.

Book can be found here:


Angela Davis on eating chickens, Occupy, and including animals in social justice initiative of the 99%

On February 23, 2012, at University of California-Davis, I attended the Social Justice Teach-In. Keynote speaker was Angela Davis. I asked Angela Davis about extending compassion beyond humans as part of social justice and making Occupy Movement successful.

I got to ask her my question about something she alluded to in her keynote, that sounded like she is pro-vegan and anti-speciesist. My husband video recorded my question and the answer she gave me. I felt silly that I didn’t have a copy of Sistah Vegan on me so she could have that reference! ARGGGHHH!!!


This is just an open heart stream of consciousness I share with how I am trying to figure out how to deal with the anger and passive aggressiveness I receive, as a black female who engages in intellectual inquiries about race, whiteness, and colonialism. It’s not so much about the online comments and emails I receive as much as I’m interested in how to handle these situations when I’m in a physical location, like after I have given a lecture, or if I’m in a class and a peer or professor displays overtly angry, or passive-aggressive responses to my critical inquiries.


This panel will explore the process of making and unmaking “whiteness” as a latent part of the animal rights movement. It will touch on the shortcomings of animal rights in incorporating critical race politics, geopolitics, and the dynamics of privilege and oppression into its ideological background. In doing so, it will highlight a path to a future, more inclusive, and more successful movement.


Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter

Presented by Dr. A. Breeze Harper

Resistance Ecology Conference 2015.
Portland, Oregon.


Breeze Harper (a.k.a. Sistah Vegan) gives a very contemplative discourse on how and why whiteness and white privilege is antithetical to Buddhism. 

Growing up in the little American town of Lebanon, it was difficult for me to argue with peers and teachers about the importance of addressing racism and whiteness. Simultaneously, I felt isolated and frustrated by speciesism that was also accepted as the norm, and which surrounded me daily. Neither peers nor teachers understood why I refused to participate in dissection, and why I did not “appreciate” deer hunting (a huge “sport” in my town). After I told my fifth-grade teacher that I didn’t want to drop a live worm into alcohol to kill it, and then dissect it, he told me repeatedly that worms do not have central nervous systems; hence, they “do not feel pain.” Only through repeated stories, in my household, which exposed how our people were treated, did I become fully aware that pro-slavery whites deeply believed that Africans could not feel pain; that we were believed to be “just animals” who had no feelings, spirits, souls; we were just machines available to serve the purposes of white America. Perhaps my fifth-grade teacher did not know this.
There are many facets to critical animal studies and animal rights activism. It is important to note that, as an activist, I simply cannot ignore the very clear connections among racism, racialization, and whiteness on the one hand, and people’s treatment and attitudes toward nonhuman animals (regardless of whether they are vegan, supporters of “humane” meat and dairy, omnivorous, or “big game” hunters) on the other. For me, navigating a country in which speciesism, racism, and whiteness are an accepted reality, and to stay silent about these acts of indifference and overt cruelty, would precipitate miserable lives for all beings and would continue to create communication gaps and animosity among racial and ethnic communities with differing perspectives on the treatment of certain humans and nonhuman animals.
So, here I am, asking these questions. If you’re sincerely interested in ending racism, you must recognize racism’s roots in our relationships with, and constructions of, “the place of the animal.” And if you’re sincerely interested in ending nonhuman animal exploitation, you must educate yourself on the connections between the social constructions of whiteness, racialization, and racisms (as well as sexism, nationalisms, etc.) and animal abuse.
—  a breeze harper, “connections: Speciesism, Racism, and Whiteness as Norm” Published in Sister Species page 76
Occupy Wall Street, Occupy White Supremacy

So, let’s talk about another OWS….

Occupy white supremacy… and the machinery of whiteness…and structural racism…

When are we going to start talking about why the mainstream media is so ‘horrified’ and concerned, when certain people are 'victims’ of police violence over others? 

So, you say that “We are the 99%” is a particular socioeconimc class who have, thus far , possessed only 1% of the wealth and resources…

But what about those of the 99% who are getting represented in the media who have been victims of police violence? Why is it that it takes police violence against seemingly 'peaceful’ and 'non-threatening’ white students at a predominantly white university campus for the mainstream to suddenly 'wake up’ to the police and state sanctioned violence that us brown, black, red, and/or 'Muslim’ folk have been trying to get mainstream America to give a sh*t about for decades? I think what happened at UC Davis (which is my school by the way), needs to be part of a larger conversation about how the machinery of whiteness (as phrased by Steve Martinot a critical race scholar) still plays out. 

Why are so many in the media giving so much attention to, and are horrified that, this particular group of “innocent” and “peaceful” protestors were pepper-sprayed? 

Can we please have a conversation about how white bodies/white campuses/white middle class spaces are almost always constructed more as “innocent” and “non-threatening” than non-white racialized people who are collectively seen as 'threatening’, even if they are peaceful ? 

I am not diminishing what has happened at my school, but I think there needs to be this conversation, in general, and talk about the racialized politics of sentimentality, and whose suffering is worth more to the media than others. UC Davis and the town of Davis has had its share of racially profiling black and brown people and it seems like no one has really given a care, or that much of a care to address how traumatizing it is to come to university, only to be read as a 'threat’ and 'other’ by police, simply because you AREN’T WHITE.

Why does it take pepper spraying 'unthreatening’, 'peaceful’ and mostly white/light (because not all who look white or/are lighter are necessarily identifying as 'white’) people for the USA (well, mainstream) to realize that the police can and do use 'violence’ against human beings who aren’t physically threatening or violent? 

Once again, I’m not diminishing what has happened at my school, but I am bringing up questions that aren’t just in my head, but are shared by a plethora of my black, brown, and/or Muslim friends and family; most of which who have been racially profiled and/or recipients of police brutality when they have done absolutely nothing wrong… but when we tell most of our white colleagues, friends, acquaintances, they can’t believe that the police would do something like that, unless we had done something “wrong ” or “threatening." 

I don’t think we can really begin to talk about Occupy Wall Street as only a socio-economic class 'war’ until we hear the mainstream media also becoming horrified by how the machinery of whiteness operates.

If people want the chancellor to step down, this is not going to resolve the larger problem. 

There are plenty of people in high administration and/or faculty positions at universities who have used the "taken for granted narrative” that “white” bodies are “innocent” and “non-threatening” while darker bodies are the opposite. They have felt “threatened” and use police and/or some component of the criminal justice system to assault this “dark” threat, even though this racialized person has done nothing wrong. Most recently, a black male student at University of California was trying to get into a building for a job interview, couldn’t get in because it was locked, and knocked on another door to have access to the building. A white administration woman working there thought he was a 'criminal’ and told him to go away numerous times or she’d call the police. She called the police. Well, so much for him trying to be judged by the content of his character, and not, what Frantz Fanon calls, “historico-racial schema” that his skin color conveys to most white women he will encounter in his life… Let’s be straight up and say that she would not have done that if he had been a conventionally beautiful young white female college student. This is not disconnected to what happened the other night at Davis (pepper spray) but part of a grand and intricate narrative of police violence, how criminal justice system is used within the machinery of whiteness, and how a plethora of white people may intellectually know it is WRONG to be racist, but nonetheless respond to “dark” people in a somatic and dysconsciously racist way; yet, simultaneously, would not have such a deeply “threatened” and somatic response to someone who looks like Paris Hilton. 



Critiquing Privilege in Animal Advocacy Circles

Presented by Jacqueline Morr, Breeze Harper, lauren Ornelas

Resistance Ecology Conference 2015.
Portland, Oregon.


Breeze Harper from the Sistah Vegan Project discussing the ways in which “cruelty-free” should be more inclusive. 


Breeze Harper’s Scripps College Talk 9/25/2013:
Trayvon Martin, PETA & the Packaging of Neoliberal Whiteness, Part I

Part II here