Progress for Science Charlottesville Statement

Progress for Science Charlottesville Statement

In the wake of the events at Charlottesville where hundreds of self-styled First Amendment advocates – Nazis, white supremacists and racists – marched, and where one person was killed, many injured and townspeople and counter-protesters showed up to defend bodies as well as promote messages of peace and tolerance, calls went out for groups of every nature to take a stand and denounce such far-right shows of bigotry, hatred and intolerance. Included in these calls was one by Dr. Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan who asked “USA based animals rights and / pro-vegan organizations to release an official statement and action plan on how they do not support white supremacy/racism”. We responded with the following message on Facebook and reproduce it here. Progress for Science, both as a small grassroots group and as individual organizers, denounces the hate and intolerance, bigotry and ignorance fostered by 45 and the white supremacists that form his core base of support. We denounce the actions of the thugs with tiki torches who virtually goosestepped thru Charlottesville and their like across the country and the world. We salute those who resist them every step of the way. There are today (and have long been) many struggles plaguing our capitalist patriarchal society and the beings who live in it. We are actively committed to fighting these: to fighting racism and to learning how we ourselves unfortunately contribute to the racial hierarchies in our society and how some of us have benefitted from them. We are far far from being “post racist” in the US and everyone does and should “see color”. Refusing to face up...
Show Up and Shut Up: White Animal Activists and the Racial Justice Movement

Show Up and Shut Up: White Animal Activists and the Racial Justice Movement

By Kim Socha A Voice for the Voiced? There is a scene in Spike Lee’s 1992 docudrama Malcolm X in which Malcolm is approached by a young, blonde, white woman who lauds his work and asks what she can do to become part of the “cause.” He responds briefly by telling the eager-to-help woman that there is nothing she can do … and he stoically moves on, swatting her away as one would a fly buzzing in his ear. I always loved that scene, even back in 1992 when I wasn’t an activist of any kind. I still recall my friends and I laughing at that exchange with an attitude akin to “Take that, b*tch.” (I use the edited expletive because it honestly represents our attitudes at the time. We thought it was funny, but we certainly weren’t yet critical enough to understand why.) Over twenty years later, as an activist predominately in the animal rights/animal liberation (ARAL) movement, I have more than once found myself, as that white woman, asking people of color (POC) what I can do to help the “cause.” (Why is “cause” is quotation marks? Because one group’s “cause” is another’s daily life experiences. To me, that word has come to diminish the lived realities of the oppressed, so I prefer the terms “movement” or “struggle.”) As the questioning white woman, I have often failed as an ally within other movements, especially racial justice. I’ve put my foot in my mouth, among other figurative places, quite I few times. I’ve tried to help and wound up feeling like a fly buzzing in someone’s ear. In...