I can’t believe I just read this. From a thread on Feministing responding to a cute video of Jessica’s puppy Monty, in which several people excoriated Jessica for getting Monty from a breeder, and demanded she justify her decision because she’s a feminist and dog breeding is somehow a core feminist issue:
There is absolutely no need to breed animals for profit, be them for pets or meat. It’s slavery and it’s wrong.
I just — that’s offensive to me on so many levels; I simply can’t imagine how that feels to someone whose ancestors survived the Middle Passage only to be sold at auction and kept in bondage for the rest of their lives; someone whose relatives in living memory were denied civil rights, equal access to education, and subject to lynching for nothing more than looking at a white person funny.
That’s just so willfully blindly privileged, and tin-eared, and utterly cruel, and racist all at the same time. But I suppose, given PETA’s history of racist and anti-Semitic ads, where images of black slaves and Jewish inmates at extermination camps were set alongside images of cattle going down a chute or chickens in battery cages, that this is not so uncommon an attitude among the animal-rights set. From Steve’s* post about Ingrid Newkirk’s dismissive response to the objection of James Cameron, the director of America’s Black Holocaust Museum to PETA’s “Slavery” campaign: (my emphasis)
Remember, [Dr.] Cameron almost died at the hands of a lynch mob. They were screaming “get the nigger” and had yanked him out of his cell. Only the lone voice of a woman saying “leave that boy alone” saved his life. But this harrowing experience means nothing to Newkirk, his pain is irrelevant to her. I thought I had seen cruel responses to Mrs. Sheehan. But this tops them. By a mile.
It’s the same kind of ignorant cruelty Cindy Sheehan is facing. Newkirk is simply incapable, like most fanatics, of seeing any side but her own. And she is blind to the outrage this will cause. She has no idea of how her response is not going to go over with black people. Even her explaination is as tone deaf as George Bush. That may go over well with her donors and allies when she makes a mistake, but it will fall on deaf ears with black people. I dare her to defend this on any black radio show, or even Air America.
Now, not only is PETA refusing to apologize, as they did with the Holocaust ad, they intend to continue the tour, well until they’re denounced on Tom Joyner and from church pulpits. To compare black people to animals is the gravest insult a white person can do, and no matter how “liberal” PETA says it is, this will dog it until their tour is cancelled. Because she is fucking with something she does not understand in any way, shape or form. Angry isn’t the word. I’d be surprised if Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton aren’t outside PETA HQ at the end of the week.
So, given that this is the mentality of PETA’s leadership, do you think it’s fair to call them racist, now?
Somehow, it’s even crueler when the animal in question is not a steer being led to the slaughterhouse, but a well-loved puppy from a responsible breeder.
I’m just gobsmacked.
And after I originally wrote this, the commenter explained herself:
Regarding Zuzu’s comments about slavery: Only people who think their lives are more important than non-human animals’ lives can be offended by the comparison of human slavery to animal slavery. The definition of slavery is to treat another as property. Property is the essential concept of slavery. Property. The only way you can be offended is if you think it’s OK to treat non-human animals as property. I’ve had this discussion on my blog before: http://www.elainevigneault.com/politics-of-power-and-peta.html
so you can read more if you’re truly interested in understanding my perspective. Or you can just ignore my criticisms and right me off as a loon, like you normally do.
I just really don’t know how to respond to that.
* God, I miss Steve.