“What we do to other animals informs how we treat one another on this planet”
According to Jai Malhotra of the Cornell Daily Sun, students in the audience found this lecture hilarious and not in a good way.
Veganism a Way to Combat Race-Based Violence, Says Columbia Lecturer
In a packed auditorium on Thursday evening, Christopher-Sebastian McJetters, an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University, presented a talked that alternatingly sent waves of tears and laughter throughout the audience as he discussed intersectional discrimination between class, race and species.
McJetters noted early that “the mainstream vegan movement usually focuses almost exclusively on the consumption of animals’ bodies.”
“I want to talk about the psychology that goes into why we do this, the way that we do this and the ways that animal violence and exploitation manifests itself outside of our food system,” he said.
McJetters addressed how mainstream media, institutions, mindsets and lexicon contribute to the oppression of nonwhite or vulnerable persons and species.
“What we do to other animals informs how we treat one another on this planet, and it is always — always — someone who doesn’t have institutional power, and they’re usually brown,” McJetters said.
McJetters described in detail how the dehumanization of nonwhite persons has become a justification for their discrimination. To drive home his point, he displayed an article about a black man whose murder had been justified by police officers because he was an “animal,” along with various historical examples to demonstrate the significance of black people being denied self-determination.
Humanity itself, McJetters argued, is a societal construction. Prior to the sixteenth century, he said, “we didn’t actually think of human as superior to or separate from everyone else in the animal kingdom. But the adoption of ‘human’ has become kind of a by-word for whiteness because in order to be fully human … one should be white.”
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