Writing as a grindstone. Finished writing, unfinished writing, writing ideas, things that I'll never get round to writing, other things. Grinding it out, grinding away. Writing some more.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Break from blogging

I'm taking a break from writing for the next couple of months. My daughter was born nearly a month ago, and that's where all my attention will be for quite some time.


  1. Congratulations to you both! With my absence from Facebook, and my inability to find your e-mail address I've had to resort to the interweb. Sending my best wishes from Coventry to Otaki, and I hope all three of you are doing well. When I re-join Facebook, I expect there to be photos, lots of photos.


  2. Kia ora Kim,

    I am a former student of Jessica Hutchings and she suggested I get in contact with you. I tried to get your email from her but she is in Canada at the moment and hard to contact. I've read your blog and I was wondering if you might be interested in contributing to our conference to be held in Wellington on the 26/27th July. I am really interested in bringing more intersectionality to the vegan/ animal rights movement in Aotearoa. Please email if you are interested in discussing this further

    Nga mihi,
    L. Rangi

    1. I decided to post this (truncated) reply to your comment as well as send you an email because I think it’s important that this is addressed publicly, where it’s accessible to anyone involved.

      While I think the animal rights movement definitely needs to think about colonisation among other issues, I’m not keen on contributing to your conference. This is for a number of reasons, which I think you should know.

      In Wellington, I know several people have tried to raise awareness and develop decolonising practices for the animal rights groups they are involved in, especially the black sheep animal sanctuary. They committed time and energy to this, one even went as far as introducing the group she was involved with to her whānau as a step towards that group building meaningful relationships with tāngata whenua. That commitment, and the risks it involves, were not respected.

      I know Mark Eden is prominent in the animal rights movement, and I have experienced him repeatedly try to shut down debate about things we can do to make groups safer for discussing colonisation, or even ways to stop people saying things that insult tangata whenua. His commitment to doing things the way he wants to do them means I won’t go anywhere near an animal rights conference.

      A couple of years ago, I read this blog post White feminist privilege in organizations. It’s a really interesting piece on the experience of a couple of women doing anti-racism work in mostly white feminist groups in the US. Their results are really familiar to me, and I think to many people who try to talk about colonisation and racism in their activist groups (It’s a really long piece, so I’ve quoted the bits I think are most relevant):

      “More often, however, splits emerge along racial lines -- the white women simply aren't receptive to the core ideas put forward by the women of color. Those ideas are "too expensive" ... outside the boundaries of "the purpose of the organization." The white women "don't think they'll work" or don't feel they're "fair." ... And so on."

      In discussing why most groups choose not to change, the writer said:

      “The core group began by thinking it was easy to go beyond tokenism to integrate women of color into the organization. They ended, however, with the realization that genuine integration means not only attracting more women of color to events, but also shifting the structure of the organization to include women of color as powerful forces in shaping the organization... One Board president told me it "simply isn't worth it" ... because she realized it would take the organization in a direction she didn't want it to go... Other white women said that it would make them "too uncomfortable," ... they'd have to be "careful" all the time, and would be self-conscious about what the women of color thought of them. In short, given the comfort of racism, and the discomfort of active anti-racism, they chose racism, outright. What was there for me to do at that point, except clarify that they had chosen to perpetuate racism, rather than to end it?“

      ... “Anyone who has done anti-racist work for more than a few years has run up against this problem: most racists are happy being racists, and simply don't want to change. But at the same time they want to be protected from accusations of racism, and resent anyone who makes them "feel bad" about it. White feminists are no different from other white people in that regard, as feminists of color well know. A few are truly committed to diversity and anti-racist action, but the majority of us are not, and get angry and nasty when we're driven out of our comfort zone.”

      I hope your conference goes well
      ngā mihi