During an interview with The Guardian Weekend, Morrissey, a white vegetarian and animal rights activist, stated:
“Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific.”
(except he probably didn’t yell it out in capital letters)
Ironically, animal rights activists often complain about “speciesism“, but Morrissey’s statement reveals that not only does he think that Chinese people are of a non-human species, but that there is a ranking of species and that Chinese people are below the human species, assumed to be white. In other words, not only is Morrissey a racist, but he is also a speciesist and hypocrite.
If you consider the fact that animal rights activists believe that non-human animals are not less than humans, the implications are horrendous. If non-human animals are not below humans, but Chinese people are below humans, then Chinese people are below non-human animals. Assuming that Morrissey equates animal lives with human lives, he can’t help but feel that people of Chinese descent are below organisms that belong to the Animal Kingdom, and that we are better classified with plants, bacteria, and fungi.
Vegans of Color condemned Morrissey’s statement, but they do not go far enough to point out the hypocrisy, irony, illogicality, and complete lack of moral credibility of anti-speciesists calling Chinese people a “sub-species”. Despite the condemnation at Vegans of Color, there are still animal rights activists in their comments defending Morrissey:
Don’t be so hard on him…after all it is not HE who is doing the animal torture!Give him a break…shame sometimes changes folks.
In other words, this person thinks that a person shouldn’t shame Morrissey for his racism to make him change, but that “we” should shame “the Chinese” by calling “them” racially inferior, since animals are more important than Chinese people.
Here is another comment by a South American vegan calling for the genocide of Chinese people in the name of animals (emphasis mine):
WHAT?! VEGANISM IS A RACIST THING?? A WHITE PEOPLE THING?????? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR BIGOT MIND?! I am a vegan and I am not what the rest of the world calls white, I am southamerican. The truth is that you give a damn about animals and their sufferings, agonies, tortures and death. You are one more in that pile of indifferent, unconscious, uncompassionate and shallow people. The world is full of that. Oh, am I a racist because of that commentary? CHINA SUCKS. They are an awful and cruel country. If there was a button to wipe China from the face of the earth, would I push it? IN A HEARTBEAT. The things (the completely and totally useless, horrifying things), they do to animals over there are just UNACCEPTABLE! That is, by civilised and moral people which, aparently, are not majority in the world. But we, the vegans, are here to stay. If you just like the stickers to feel or to make believe that you care you are a hypocrite of the worst kind. CHINA SUCKS and it has nothing to do with racism. I tell you this, me, a sudaca, a latin, somebody who knows one or two things about racism.
This vegan with the handle firstname.lastname@example.org, probably a light-skinned Caucasian, thinks that killing animals is wrong, but killing Chinese human beings is acceptable and desirable if it saves the lives of (non-human) animals. Once again, this animal rights activist values the lives of animals over non-white people, as if people of Chinese descent are like plants, fungi, and bacteria.
Veg*nism in China
According to Wikipedia:
Vegetarianism has been practiced for almost two thousand years in China for both religious and philosophical reasons. Its practitioners have included famous historical figures such as Cao Cao, a warlord of the Three Kingdoms, and the 6th Century emperor Wu, the founder of the Liang Dynasty of southern China.
Since Chinese people historically did not eat dairy, and eggs would not be normally incorporated into a vegetarian dish, Chinese vegetarian food was (and is) vegan food in practise. The long history of veg*n food in China manifests in Chinese gluten, an ancient mock-meat made from wheat, believed to be invented by Buddhist monks in China, and the source of protein in many Chinese veg*n dishes. Gluten dishes exist in Japanese, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese cuisines through their cultural origins in ancient China. Today, Taiwan is known for its creative diversity of Buddhist vegetarian food and mock-meat. In almost every Chinese restaurant around the world catering to the Chinese diaspora, you can order the vegetarian dish Buddha’s Delight, which is vegan in practise (perhaps because most Chinese restaurants are not familiar with the English word “vegan”), suggesting that Chinese veganism is quite ancient and predates the Vegan Society’s founding in 1944. Chinese veg*n food is part of traditional religious ceremonies, such as funeral rituals for the departed if they were culturally Buddhist.
Now I have read some vapid PETA booklets giving food advice tips like, “Instead of drinking cow’s milk, drink soy milk,” or “Substitute hot dogs with veggie dogs,” and it seems like PETA has no cultural awareness of non-WASP veg*n food cultures. It is no wonder that so many animal rights activists think “the Chinese” are all the same; that people of Chinese descent normally eat cats and dogs and torture animals; and that white people invented veg*nism while everyone else is unenlightened about the concept of veg*n diets and non-violence towards living things, even though we did it first.
I am not interested in proving my own humanity or that of Chinese people in general, but calling “the Chinese” a “subspecies” and dehumanizing people of Chinese descent to elevate animals is so many kinds of wrong and ignorance and illogicality that I can’t help but feel that veg*ns like Morrissey are fundamentally and irreparably broken.
* White animal rights activists have a history of revealing their lack of empathy for non-white people, such as a PETA campaign that equated animal abuse with black slavery. When animal rights activists argue that lack of empathy for animals is like the allegedly-past lack of empathy for black people, they are revealing their own racism and low empathy for black people, as they are implicitly equating black people with animals instead of equating animals with humans. White animal rights activists might try to convince white people with, “The death of a chicken is like the death of a black slave,” but not “The death of a chicken is like the death of your mother,” because the former requires empathetic distance to work, but the latter does not work because white people strongly empathize with white mothers.