“Veganism is elitist!!” Shouts the PC, young, and most definitely non-vegan part of twitter, but just how much of this is true? Is veganism elitist?
The adjective definition of elitist is as follows;
favouring, advocating, or restricted to an elite.
Therefore, by claiming that veganism is elitist, people are stating that the simple act of not consuming animal products is an action which can only be completed by the elite within society. Read, only rich white people. Although this clearly is not the case, an odd amount of people online seem to think it is. But why?
First off, there’s the stigma that vegan food is much more expensive than ‘regular food’. However, this is clearly not true, and is a false belief that most likely originates from stereotypes of veganism online and in the media. You see an instagram-famous woman living a vegan lifestyle and only eating acai bowls for breakfast everyday and you get the impression that normal people can’t afford to do the same thing.
Yet, most of these people are plant based instead of vegan, and they are by no means the shining light on how you personally have to live your vegan life. You used to have marmite on toast for breakfast? Awesome, keep on doing that, just swap your butter for a dairy free version.
Secondly, veganism in the media is seen as a lifestyle followed by a majority of white people, not those of other races. This follows with the ‘white elitist’ label that veganism sadly carries. Although this may be true, white people being vegan does not mean that they are necessarily wealthy, well off or elite. Media being white-washed is an issue past just veganism. Look at fitness accounts, the world of modelling and even casting roles in films to people purely because they are white. White-washing in veganism is not a vegan problem, it’s a media problem.
I know PLENTY of black, asian, latino and multiracial vegans online, none of which believe that veganism is in anyway elitist. They knock off assumptions that because of someones traditions or history they ‘have to’ eat meat to fit in at family occasions. They also prove that being vegan is not only a thing white people can do. You don’t need to make veganism elitist.
Poverty In The US
Sadly, in the US many of the lower-income areas suffering from poverty are often home to predominantly African-American communities. This is an issue that clearly needs to be addressed, and is one which is extremely serious. However, I truthfully believe that a vegan diet could help those in need. From speaking to people online, many find themselves resorting to eating fat and oil coated fast food, understandably buying what’s cheap and available. Swap these artery clogging meals for budget vegan food, and not only will your shopping bill decrease, but your health will also improve.
By improving the health of those in less wealthy areas, you remove the need to pay for private medical bills such as those for treating heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Is veganism elitist, or is affording high quality healthcare? A vegan diet is as expensive as you choose to make it. I’ve spoken to a large amount of people on low incomes who have made it work for them.
Veganism is not a political belief, you can be vegan no matter your race, age, health, wealth or education, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to do anything time consuming or expensive, and you can make it work in whatever way is best for you. Eat acai bowls every damn day if you really want to, just remember the simplicity of veganism.
So, is veganism elitist?
No. Not eating certain foods is not an elitist thing. It may currently be adopted by a mainly white audience, but why should that stop anyone else from doing whats right for you, the environment and the animals? You are literally eliminating the foods that used to be reserved for the elite. Simple.
What is elitist, is thinking that you are better and more worthy of life than the animals that you eat. Your preference in taste or what you may think is ‘easier’, is not worth the torture and killing of other animals.