I generally agree with you but disagree with arguments that make it seem that it is irrelevant to curb harmful behavior when possible. I am vegan because I can be and it would be bizarre of me to accept that food practices that utilize animals are painful and unethical to the animals, destructive to the environment, create additional health and safety risks to food workers that already deal with horrible conditions, etc. and to do otherwise. Most of the people I have met since going vegan seem to operate similarly and I think understandably expect other people to come to the same conclusion when and if they are able. I was not vegan my entire life because I didn’t have the knowledge available to me that I needed to understand the pros and cons of my food choices and I don’t blame myself for that just as I don’t blame people that are currently in that situation or are in some other situation that affects their ability to make choices about their food.
That still doesn’t mean that there are any good reasons to discourage people from making ethical choices when they can just because other people cannot, or (and this is really what I feel is being communicated and what makes me uncomfortable) devaluing and dismissing ethical choices others have made because others cannot or because it does not entirely solve a complicated issue. I find this especially strange because I like to think that, especially for people that have limited abilities to contribute to causes and movements that they find important, every small contribution against a harmful practice is valuable.
“That still doesn’t mean that there are any good reasons to discourage people from making ethical choices when they can just because other people cannot, or (and this is really what I feel is being communicated and what makes me uncomfortable) devaluing and dismissing ethical choices others have made because others cannot or because it does not entirely solve a complicated issue.”
and this is where reading comprehension is a hell of a thing.
nowhere am i discouraging people from making “better choices” if they are able. please point to the paragraph or sentence where you managed to arrive at that conclusion.
i am saying “ethical” is relative to a person’s ability to survive
and the notion of “ethical consumption/abstinence from unethical consumption” isn’t a holistic tool of social change considering most people are going to put their need to survive over adhering to a person’s notion of “ethical” who is probably not in their socio-economic situation let alone cultural context.
you mention being vegan because you find the practice of eating meat and the ways in which meat production causes harm to people/the environment/animals objectionable
let me ask some critical questions:
does your veganism work to end food deserts by bringing healthy and fresh foods into places where access to such things are limited or non-existent?
does your veganism work to expand food stamps and federally funded food assistance programs so that per month budgets for food are way larger than they currently are across the board and participants are given incentives to buy healthier food?
does your veganism seek to decolonize itself and locate itself in an anti-racist praxis through the way you engage with recipes, ingredients, alternative healing methods, alternative skin care/beauty methods from the global diaspora of color? meaning if you’re buying recipe books, “health books”, whatever, where white authors have appropriated these elements from cultures of color and subsequently are profiting off them. more so than a person of color would. then you’re choices aren’t as ethical as you’d make them out to be
because if not your choices are not necessarily more “ethical” than others. they’re really just located in an individualist “ethic” where you prioritize certain things over others, and there is still room to poke holes in your notion of ethical consumption.
i’m not out here to stroke the egos of people who think of themselves as “ethical consumers”. i’m out here to interrogate an individualist politic that is classicist and by and large racist and is being used as a rhetorical device of change.
instead of “discouraging people” from making unethical choices, provide them with more affordable, economically sustainable, and culturally relevant choices.
do that work and then i can pretend to give a damn about your “ethical choices”
a better response than my medication-addled sleep deprived brain could compose.