People are important, too.

It makes me angry when vegans throw disadvantaged populations under the bus for the furtherance of veganism. I won’t get into a debate about who is more important: people or animals, but I will point out ignorance and prejudice.

First mistake: not everyone you see looking for money on the interstate highway off-ramps are technically homeless; what they are doing is called panhandling. Panhandling does not equal homeless. Remember that episode of The Simpsons, where Homer pretends to be homeless to earn enough money to buy Marge some diamond earrings?

I really wanted to link to a video of Homer singing Mr.Bojangles, but I can’t find one online. At any rate, I digress.

Does everyone who is homeless have the same opportunities that you or I do?

No. I’m sorry, but growing up in a poor community with frequent gun violence, schools that think it’s pretty much normal for kids to test well below the expected grade levels, and not being able to play outside because you might get shot, mugged or raped does not make for an equal playing field, so just don’t even go there. I work with kids who live in such an environment, and you have no idea how much ignorant comments like that anger me at a completely visceral level.

As for not contributing “because I see the same group eating fried chicken under the overpass…” Get off your high horse about animal rights and offer them a bucket of fried tofu instead of blogging your distain about it. If they’re actually homeless and hungry, they’ll eat it. They’re eating fried chicken because it’s cheap and available. Odds are, there’s a KFC or a Popeye’s nearby. Odds also are that there isn’t an equally cheap place to buy vegan foods nearby. Don’t knock them because they don’t have access to filling vegan foods. Yeah, they could get a bucket of fries for probably even cheaper, but fries aren’t going to keep them from feeling hungry more than an hour from now. I don’t want them to eat chicken either, but don’t blame people from disadvantaged backgrounds for problems that are the fault of the system in which we live. They’re just trying to get by as best they can.

Yes, I know that there are bloggers out there from all kinds of backgrounds, including ones that include frequent witnessing to (or experience of) gun violence, poverty, physical abuse, sexual abuse, grossly underfunded educational systems and the like who have “made it.” That’s wonderful that you’re here in the blogosphere. There was something in your life- either your own resilience, a strong community, or someone in your life who made a difference or all of the above, that helped you to get to where you are today. Not everyone has that same opportunities, even when coming from the same background. Yes, there are people out there who make poor choices, and we each have the choice to ignore people that we see asking for money. There are many reasons to chose not to give money, but as a stand for animal rights is a really poor and pretty disgusting excuse. People who are actually hungry would love the Larabar that’s in your pocket. You don’t have to give money, but don’t ignore them in the name of “animal rights.” That’s the kind of thinking that gives vegans a bad name as self-righteous and self-indulgant bullies, and I don’t want to be associated with that kind of thinking or behavior.

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