Sans Cilice

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White Anti-Racism: No Hairshirt Necessary

Race and Obesity in Philly

Soda, Candy, Hoagies!

Nia-Malika Henderson of Politico reports on Michelle Obama’s appearance in Philadelphia yesterday to discuss the national obesity epidemic as it is manifested in Philadelphia.

Though I know childhood obesity is a problem for Americans of all races, my localized experiences¬† have lead me to associate the issues of race and obesity. Whites are not the majority in my city (most estimates as of 2000 say 41% of Philadelphians are white though others say up to 45%) but–not surprisingly–they enjoy better housing, employment, education and health than others. Blacks are approximately 43% (44% if the mixed race population is added) of the city’s population and account for about 40% of the city’s workforce. Despite the essential contributions the black population makes to the city, it experiences twice the unemployment rate of whites and considerably worse health.

Philadelphia has a long history of obesity. Its longstanding position on Top 10 Fattest City lists (#1 in 1999!) is usually explained by excessive consumption of cheese steaks and soft pretzels. These ‘delicacies’ originated in South Philly, originally a melting pot of Irish, Italian and other European immigrants. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Current Events, education, Personal, Philadelphia News, , , , , , , , ,

Constructively Criticising Constructive Criticism of Animal Rights/Welfare Movement

An article titled Five Fatal Flaws of Animal Activism caught my eye. With my earlier post about the mainstream promotion (or lack thereof) of veganism/vegetarianism in mind, I hoped one of the 5 flaws would be the lack of attention and lack of effective/appealing promotion to low-income families and to black Americans. I’m shocked that this idea didn’t make the list. For the shared goals of the animal rights and animal welfare movements¬† to be met, or even just approached, the movements will need to gain traction with people who make food choices based on cost, convenience and habit, with the people who constitue the majority of the country.

Oh well. At least the article slammed PETA for its monotonous naked lady ads… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Media & Culture, Personal, , , , , ,

Any responses to Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” from vegans/vegetarians of color?

I’ve been pescovegetarian for the past four years and after reading Eating Animals, I’ve decided to give up fish and become actually vegetarian. Though the book was a bit overwraught at points, it made me care (in my heart not my head) about animal welfare and species preservation more acutely than I ever had before. My previous eating choices were only ethically motivated insofar as I think it is ethically necessary to take charge of ones health and to make sacrifices for the environment. My decision to forgo meat was only occasionally motivated by emotional responses to animal oppression.

The other day I read an interview of Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan, in which she was asked how the legacies of colonialism manifest themselves in mainstream dialogues and attitudes about what we eat. In her response she mentioned that the most prominent dialogues about veganism, vegetarianism and mindful consumption come from an almost exclusively white perspective that assumes unfettered access to whatever foods one decides are best. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, Books, Personal, Society, , , , , , , , , ,