It happens at almost any party I go to. Someone making small talk: “Oh man. You have to check out the bacon wrapped scallops, they are da’ bomb!” There is always a little hesitation. Do I tell him? Thanks, but no thanks. Um.. I’m a vegan. Record scratch! That’s right I don’t eat meat. Or cheese. Or milk. Whenever I tell someone about it, they kinda have an eye roll with a look that says. “Who is this sanctimonious ass who is going to make me feel guilty — like I shot Bambi’s mom or something?” You should seriously see some people’s reaction when I tell them I’m vegan. Defensive. Annoyed. Sometimes even confrontational. Vegan is a loaded word, and I have to ask myself why.
I really don’t think they care what I eat (or don’t eat). The root of the reaction is that people just don’t want to feel like they are being judged. And we, vegan nation, often come across as holier-than-thou judgmental assholes. Let’s change that. It is time for us to become leaders, not preachers. The truth is, lots of people in our culture love animals and the environment. The barrier, to more people becoming vegan isn’t a hatred animals. Most people think that not eating meat or dairy is extreme, unhealthy or just too difficult. That is the perception we must change. Calling people killers, cannibals, or hypocrites will assuredly make it so they WON’T listen to you. We must respect for people with different perspectives and convictions about the world, and remember most of us used to eat meat. If you really want veganism to become mainstream, then we must educate with tolerance and love. Otherwise, we are just living up to the judgmental assholes stereotype and our movement becomes more about us than the animals we are trying to protect.
Image by Sveta Bogomolova