White people empathize with animals over people of colour.

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.”

''YOU CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL THAT THE CHINESE ARE A SUBSPECIES.''

(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.

Morrissey does not consciously believe this, but unconsciously, he just can’t empathize with non-white people as much as he empathizes with white people, cats, and dogs.*

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 utmostlimit@gmail.com, 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.

20 Responses to “White people empathize with animals over people of colour.”

  1. Cessen Says:

    Yup. Definitely a problem.

    But just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that advocating for animal rights is somehow a bad thing. It is in fact an extremely good and critically important thing, because frankly the issues involved are horrific and inexcusable.

    Every social reform movement seems to have a lot of problematic things in it. Feminism itself has a pretty long laundry list (transphobia, racism, etc.), especially historically. But I would never discount feminism whole-sale because of that.

    That also doesn’t excuse animal rights activists, just to be clear. I’m just trying to emphasize that their core message about animal rights is still valid and extremely important, as it felt a bit in the OP like you were downplaying that. Though that could be my own mis-reading, in which case I apologize, and you may consider this whole thing not directed at you.

  2. Yan Says:

    You do know what subspecies is? A group within a species, not a ‘lesser species’. Even if Morrisey didn’t know the technical terms and actually meant chinese people were inferior, what he has stated doesn’t actually infer that.

    He is inferring that he can’t help think chinese people are different, but not that they are lesser.

  3. Restructure! Says:

    I know what “subspecies” means in other contexts, but he means “sub-human”, otherwise he would not single out Chinese people being a “subspecies” instead of saying that different races are subspecies of the human species.

  4. 曉安 Says:

    WTF? The screen capture is perfect, BTW. Shows perfectly that he is talking out of his ass.

  5. Sandy Says:

    Thank you for this post. For this blog, actually. It’s so easy to get brainwashed by these people and it helps that you point these things out and expose the truth.

  6. fred Says:

    It’s well known that serial killers often start out torturing and killing animals before graduating to people. If one doesn’t care about animals then they probably aren’t very concerned about people either.

  7. Animal Annie Says:

    Funny, I am not vegan or vegetarian, but when I do want to have something vegan or vegetarian, I may choose a Chinese dish.

    I don’t see how killing an animal for food, because eating it is part of your culture, can be equated with animal abuse.

    In Western Society, we don’t think of people who kill cows, sheep and pigs for food as sociopaths who will go on to killing people (Even most vegetarians who disapprove of eating meat don’t think that.)

    There are people who are concerned with animal welfare who don’t take such extremist views. As Cessen says, every social reform movement has had problems. The problem is that nowadays the nutjobs get to spread their views over the internet, so their voices travel faster and often drown out the voices of more rational people.

  8. fred Says:

    Animal Annie writes, “I don’t see how killing an animal for food, because eating it is part of your culture, can be equated with animal abuse.”

    I don’t think killing an animal for food is abuse, either. But there is a difference between quickly killing an animal and deliberately torturing it because you believe it’s fear & pain (adrenalin) make the meat “taste” better. How is deliberately torturing an animal NOT abuse???

  9. Cessen Says:

    @fred:
    I would say, rather, that the pipelining etc. that happens in the name of efficiency in most animal product industries results in a lot of unnecessary suffering. It’s not sadism, in most cases, that leads to these abuses, but rather negligence and disregard. The animals are not treated with the respect that they deserve. And I don’t consider this reasonable nor excusable.

    I’m vegan myself, but I’m vegan primarily due to such rampant negligence and disregard (rather than due to thinking that animal products are inherently unethical). Especially since the companies that have such practices go to great lengths to obscure them, so it can be difficult to sort out the good companies from the bad. So it seems easier and more reliable to simply be vegan if I don’t wish to be complicit in their abuses.

    Clearly not everyone is in a position where they can reasonably be vegan. But most middle- to upper-class people in the west (sans certain medical conditions) certainly can.

  10. fred Says:

    cessen-

    Are you suggesting that anything like this takes place over here? Because if there is I’d like to know about it.



  11. Cessen Says:

    @fred:
    As with any information, take it with a grain of salt and seek out other sources, but there is a documentary called “Earthlings” which you can view online:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142#

    It’s about animal abuse in various animal industries. It’s not for the faint of heart (it’s very graphic), but worth watching.

  12. Cessen Says:

    @fred:
    I’ll also note, the documentary waxes preachy-poetics quite a bit. So brace for that. ;-)

  13. fred Says:

    Cessen-

    Thanks for the video. It was well done. Like you, I agree with some but not all of it. In particular, the video suggests using animals for any purpose is abusive. They even discourage pets and dairy farms. Some people even think wool is abusive. I certainly wouldn’t go that far. Nor do I think “meat is murder”. I just think there is a difference between killing an animal quickly & painlessly and allowing it to suffer needlessly.

    There were a few specific points I thought the video misrepresented. For the sake of brevity I won’t get into all of them. But I particularly think the video misrepresented slaughterhouses. When an animal is stunned with a bolt gun it loses consciousness immediately. If it doesn’t then someone screwed up. They use it because its the quickest and most cost effective. But being quick also makes it the least painful. If there is a better way to do it then I don’t know what it would be. The kosher / halal process isn’t as quick. But its not that bad, either. When an animal’s throat is cut the drop in blood pressure renders it unconscious within seconds.

    I’m not thrilled with overcrowded chicken houses and debeaking but if done correctly its not the worst thing in the world. I consider it along with some of the other procedures to be necessary evils. And I think that’s where the difference of opinion comes from. One group thinks any amount of suffering is permissible. Another group thinks no amount of suffering is permissible. And the group to which I belong thinks a minimal amount of suffering is permissible provided the benefits are sufficient.

  14. Adam Says:

    What Morrisey said doesn´t mean ALL WHITE vegans or vegetarians are like him. That’s his opinion, not PETA or other people, it´s just him. And Altough in China might not care for most animals, The West also has horrendous practises to animals, but it´s getting better, as more westerners feel there needs to be change, and thing are changing, altough very slow for many of us. And comparing animal abuse with slavery is infact quite good, because we all have to remember that humans and animals are all living beings, and are very much the same , at least the way we are made, our bodies, actions, we eat, drink, walk, have babies like animals, we breathe, but we are more advance having a bigger brain and selfconsienceness. But this should make us treat animals and living things, trees, plants etc, in a good way, but you can see we don´t and that’s why we are so many problems. Climate change, violence, killing, etc..

  15. Restructure! Says:

    Adam,

    If you read the footnote, you’ll see that I talked about PETA-specific racism and why comparing animal abuse with slavery assumes empathetic distance from black slaves.

  16. Sam Says:

    The subject of the story was the nutty comments made by animal rights radicals, but the headline of your story was, “White people empathize with animals over people of colour”.
    Come on.
    That’s like writing a story about pimps and giving it the title, “Black people make money by pimping”.
    Grafting Morrissey’s stupid comment about the Chinese to some animal rights radicals’ belief that animals are just like people and then concluding that they therefore think the Chinese are sub-non-human, is…well…
    Doesn’t it hurt to tie your thinking in knots like that? Ouch.
    I understand your being offended by a PETA member equating the abuse of animals to slavery, but since PETA is about defending animals, not oppressing minorities, it seems far more likely that the statement was an attempt get sympathy for the animals than to imply that black slaves were the same as animals~ the former is actually in line with their agenda while the latter does nothing to further it.
    It WAS a thoughtless faux pas, though. Why don’t you tell them?
    Oh yeah, you’d rather declare that whites like animals better than POC. Evil, blue-eyed devils! Damn them!

  17. jesus Says:

    we are all animales

  18. Sam Says:

    “we are all animales”

    That’s a line from a movie, isn’t it?

  19. BLESSimmigration Says:

    I swear WHITE men and women do love and care for animals on planet earth MORE than non white human beings! This is not new! IF i was born white, i would have emphasized with my ”dog” more than any human on earth that is NOT WHITE SKINNED. Watch the news, youl find animal rights on tv everyday, at the same time A white soldier just shot a 4 year old little girl in afghanistan and iraq! Whites will never ever change. IF I WAS A SLAVE AND THE YEARS 1788, MY WICKED WHITE MASTER WOULD TREAT ME LIKE A SUB HUMAN , and at the same time he would take care of his hound dog and love it more than me and my family! Im not a human in the eyes of whites. Coloured PPL are not humans in the eyes of whites, dogs an cats are humans in the eyes of whites. SEE YOU! the truth always HURTS white humans!

  20. Ariell Choy Says:

    I agree with BlessImmigration. Truth hurts white folk! You see the way Africans treat animals…they DON’T love them up like babies…they treat them as animals should be treated (at a distance) but Africans NEVER go overboard with the animal-loving, hug them like small four year-olds! I agree with that and while some Africans eat animals, the others don’t (vegetarianism is a cultural practice as well). BlessImmigration you are too right, slave masters actually did treat their dogs better than their slaves (bless the few slave masters that let their “Negroess” go free). Animals are humans to them.


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