Vegan Chews & Progressive News {4-17-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews) time! LET’S DO IT!!!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Spinach & Artichoke Soup
Via Connoisseurus Veg

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Do I really need to say much more about this recipe? It’s spinach-artichoke dip in soup form, for goodness’ sake.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Black Bean Brownies
Via Minimalist Baker

Photo via Dana Schultz.

Photo via Dana Schultz.

What does one do when one finds in the fridge an enormous container of cooked adzuki beans that one knows one’s housemates won’t be able to eat before they go bad? One makes an enormous batch of adzuki bean brownies that one’s housemates eat within two days. Mission accomplished.

Must-Read Article(s)

With the Walter Scott police murder weighing on many of our hearts and minds, I want to feature three articles that emphasize the systemic nature of police killings of Black people in a white supremacist society, and that assert an urgent need to move beyond merely circulating videos of such societally embedded violence and toward its meaningful eradication.

White outrage over Walter Scott doesn’t fix black fear of living in racist America
By Steven W. Thrasher at The Guardian

Videos of Police Killings Are Numbing Us to the Spectacle of Black Death
By Jamil Smith at The New Republic

How To Destroy A Black Life: A Step-By-Step Guide
By Aurin Squire at Talking Points Memo

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Poetry by DarkMatter

BitterBanner

DarkMatter is a duo of trans South Asian artists and organizers who write and perform subversive, game-changing poetry that will make you think about the world in whole new ways. I first found out about Janani and Alok’s work when they visited Vassar last year for a performance (fun fact: I had the pleasure of catering a vegan, gluten-free dinner for them!). Check them out at watch all. of. their. videos.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects You ShoulD totally Check Out

Robot Hugs

Photo via Robot Hugs.

Photo via Robot Hugs.

A biweekly comic focusing on cats, identity, gender, sexuality, depression, and mental illness, Robot Hugs provides an honest, genuine take on life with which virtually anyone trying to figure out how to navigate this messed up world can identify. Receiving these image-based stories in my inbox every Tuesday and Thursday truly feels like a big virtual hug.

In solidarity, Ali.

[VIDEO] “Queering Animal Liberation”: A Talk by pattrice jones of VINE Sanctuary

Do you have an anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist vision that needs to get out there in the world? Consider making Chickpeas & Change the platform for it! The blog is now accepting submissions. Check out this page for details.

Welcome to the first video post here at Chickpeas & Change! Last Monday, I reflected upon a conversation that I and my Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) co-leaders were lucky enough to have with longtime LGBTQ, anti-racist, anti-speciesist activist pattrice jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary in Springfield, VT. This conversation took place before pattrice gave a lecture — hosted by VARC — to a room of Vassar community members, and I’m thrilled to be able to share with ya’ll a video recording of pattrice’s lecture, entitled “Queering Animal Liberation”. Please enjoy and share widely.

Untitled

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {4-10-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Just a reminder about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Glad to see ya’ll for another round of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! Today’s recipes are a breakfast-lover’s dream, complete with a savory casserole and decadent french toast. Oh, and of course I had to throw a sandwich in for good measure. As for stories, I’m excited to feature a reminder about the importance of radical humility, an adorable cartoon video about privilege that children and adults alike can enjoy and learn from, and a veganic community gardening project that needs your support. Happy Friday!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Vegan Strata
Via The Leafy Cauldron

Photo via The Leafy Cauldron.

Photo via The Leafy Cauldron.

Traditionally an American breakfast casserole of eggs, bread, and cheese, strata receives a much more animal-friendly makeover in this recipe from the cleverly named Leafy Cauldron blog (any fellow Harry Potter fans out there?). This hearty-looking dish boasts a colorful mess of spring vegetables and whole-grain bread, topped with a creamy custard based in silken tofu. I need to find an excuse to host a brunch party for this one…

Sweet

Brownie French Toast with Salted Date Caramel & Almond Butter
Via Vegan Richa

brownie-french-toast-7633

Photo via Richa Hingle.

Dipping a thick slice of bread into brownie batter, slathering it with nut butter, and drizzling it with date caramel sauce sounds like something that needs to go on my to-do list immediately.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Portobello Truffle Melt
Via The New Chicago Diner Cookbook

Photo via Jonna N. on Yelp.

Photo via Jonna N. on Yelp.

I had the immense pleasure of visiting the infamous Chicago Diner during a weekend family trip a couple of months ago, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to replicate some of their impeccable dishes when my mother gifted me The New Chicago Diner Cookbook for Christmas. This well-crafted dish from the book features succulent marinated & sauteed mushrooms stuffed between two slices of bread, complimented by a layer of truffle oil-infused vegan mayo and a melty slice of vegan cheese. A messy, totally satisfying sandwich.

Must-Read Article

The Myths of US Exceptionalism
By Jack Rasmus at Counterpunch

Image via CagleCartoons.com.

Image via CagleCartoons.com.

Though this article doesn’t explore in-depth the roots of the insidious ideology of US exceptionalism, it does demonstrate in concrete terms some of the reasons why this belief system is completely unfounded. As I explore more and more my positioning in the world, I’m constantly finding more evidence of the importance of cultivating radical humility; this article conveys a smattering of them.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

‘Sometimes You’re a Caterpillar': A Story About Privilege
By Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey & Kat Blaque at RH Reality Check

Photo via RH Reality Check.

Photo via RH Reality Check.

Adorable yet profound in its simplicity. Take three minutes to smile and reflect.

Book Recommendation Awesome Projects You Should Totally Check Out

Atlanta Black Crackers Lab Camp
Via Eugene Cooke

Photo via Eugene Cooke.

Photo via Eugene Cooke.

With less than two weeks left in his IndieGoGo campaign, Atlanta-based urban farmer Eugene Cooke is requesting support to fund his outdoor community center called the Atlanta Black Crackers Lab Camp. This veganic farm will further the work of Grow Where You Are, “a dynamic full service provider in the field of local food systems” that “partner[s] with organizations and individuals to bring food abundance to communities.” Check out his project and support his financially, if you can.

In solidarity, Ali.

Our Positioning as Animal Activists

Do you have an anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist vision that needs to get out there in the world? Consider making Chickpeas & Change the platform for it! The blog is now accepting submissions. Check out this page for details.

Hi, all! My thoughts in today’s post stem from a conversation I and my Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC) co-leaders were lucky enough to have with longtime LGBTQ, anti-racist, anti-speciesist activist pattrice jones, co-founder of VINE Sanctuary in Springfield, VT. VARC hosted pattrice for a campus lecture this past Tuesday, and we were thrilled to be able to sit down with her for an informal chat before the event. (We were also able to videotape pattrice’s talk, so be sure to stay updated on my blog in the upcoming weeks for info on how to access the recording!)

One strand of our conversation with pattrice that particularly struck me came in response to a question asked by one of my co-leaders in regards to our positioning as animal activists; that is, people advocating on behalf of non-human animals. In her reply, pattrice recalled a talk given by Native Studies scholar and INCITE! co-founder Andrea Smith at the 2007 “Inadmissible Comparisons” conference hosted by United Poultry Concerns. Unfortunately, what I say here will be a paraphrase of a paraphrase, as I could not find a transcript or recording of Andrea’s original talk; nonetheless, I’d like to summarize pattrice’s description of the talk, since I think it brings up important questions of animal activist positioning and non-human agency.

pattrice shared with us Andrea’s observation that, in dialogues with or actions directed toward those who are not vegan or otherwise actively exploit non-human animals, animal advocates will often cognitively place ourselves in the position of the chicken, the cow, the rat, the rabbit, etc. On the one hand, this empathetic ability to occupy another’s viewpoint serves as an important aspect of any type of activism that involves a member of an oppressor group advocating in solidarity with an oppressed group (think white anti-racist activism, for example). On the other hand, Andrea observed that this cognitive shift in animal advocates’ subject positioning tends to lead us to forget that we are not the ones being oppressed, but rather lead rather comfortable lives (at least, most of us) in which we’ve chosen to disavow our species privilege and encourage others to do the same.

pattrice explained that Andrea made this observation in the context of dialogues in which someone who had not yet disavowed their species privilege critiques an animal activist for upholding other systems of oppression (white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, etc.) at least in part by making comparisons between oppressions – in an “oppression olympics,” if you will – instead of focusing on their interlocking logics. Because the animal activist now thinks of ourself as a member of a species-oppressed group – a group in which members of virtually every other marginalized peoples participate in oppressing – we cannot consider our critiquer’s assertions as legitimate. “I can’t possibly be participating in oppressive structures right now, because I’m the most oppressed!!!“…or so the internal monologue presumably goes.

Obviously, as Andrea demonstrates, this cognitive shift in subject positioning when advocating for animals prevents us from listening to others who let us know when we’re committing an act of violence in our advocacy. With this mindset, we can never hope to develop the radical intersectional politics necessary to guide us toward collective liberation for all beings.

For me, this shift also brings up questions of agency. In so much of animal advocacy, I see human animals exercising agency and power, while non-human animals are presented as victims who need saving. By putting ourselves into the place of non-human animals when advocating for them, I think we further co-opt their agency, obscuring they who actually face species-based oppression while making the world more comfortable for ourselves. For example, campaigning for more vegan options at restaurants with no mention of the non-human animals for whom we promote veganism presents the campaign as working on behalf of vegans who face “oppression” (imagine GIANT quotations here) at the hands of the restaurant industry, rather than in solidarity with the non-human animals who actually face systemic oppression. (And it also serves merely to shift the capitalist market from an animal-based one to a plant-based one instead of dismantling the logics of capitalism — which exploit all living beings — altogether.)

In part thanks to this conversation we shared with pattrice, I’ve been thinking about how to act from a place of respecting the agency of non-human animals, rather than centering myself as a member of a non-species-oppressed group and turning them into helpless victims. I think that sanctuaries can provide an awesome model for such agency-respecting advocacy, but even sanctuaries tend to strip their residents of some level of autonomy. So I’m still thinking…and will probably be thinking for a while. But I’d really appreciate your help in doing so! Seriously, comment section is wide open (as always). And, if you have thoughts that cannot be condensed into the small space of a comment, please consider submitting a piece to Chickpeas & Change! Check out this page for submission guidelines.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {4-3-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Before launching into today’s #NewsandChews, I want to remind ya’ll about the exciting news that Chickpeas & Change is now accepting submissions! I’m thrilled to be able to open this space up to voices from the anti-speciesist, feminist, anti-racist community. Check out this page for submission guidelines.

Friday means Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)! Thanks for stopping by. :) Today I want to share with ya’ll a surprisingly original and jam-packed sandwich, a decadent yet simply made custard, and unequivocally the best mac & cheese I’ve ever eaten. As for stories, we’re talkin’ Indiana, “feelings journalism,” and postcolonial scholarship. Enjoy!

Favorite Newly Published Recipe.

Savory

“The Veggie” Sandwich: Sunflower Seed Tzatziki, Golden Beets with Sumac, Avocado, & Sprouts
Via Faring Well

Photo via Jessie at Faring Well.

Photo via Jessie at Faring Well.

This rainbow-hued sandwich is bursting in textural contrasts, with creamy sunflower seed tzatziki sauce, tender yet toothsome roasted beets, smooth avocado, and refreshingly crunchy sprouts. I would like to cram this into my mouth riiiiight….now.

Sweet

Pumpkin Seed Butter Custards
Via My Sweet Faery

Photo via Geraldine Olivo.

Photo via Geraldine Olivo.

I’m a huge sucker for creamy desserts (ice cream, pudding, custard, and the like), and this one looks quite versatile. Switch out the pumpkin seed butter for peanut or almond butter, the vanilla extract for almond or peppermint, and of course the honey for maple syrup or agave nectar—and you have yourself an infinitely adaptable sweet treat.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Plum’s Spicy Mac n’ Yease
Via Vegan Richa

Photo via Richa Hingle.

Photo via Richa Hingle.

I’ve made this mac & cheese as a baked dish for my housemates twice now, and both iterations have elicited resounding praise. Seriously, they can’t get enough of this stuff, and for good reason: I don’t exaggerate when I say that this recipe yields perhaps the cheesiest, smoothest, most savory vegan cheese sauce I’ve ever encountered. I prefer to make it a non-spicy mac by substituting the red pepper flakes and cayenne for onion powder.

Must-Read Article

It’s Not Helpful to Tell Indiana Residents to ‘Just Move to a Blue State’
By Cynthia R. Greenlee

Photo via Shutterstock.

Photo via Shutterstock.

In the midst of well-deserved criticism of its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana has been the target of nationwide boycotts and media attention. However, a substantial amount of the backlash has been leveled at Indiana residents themselves, as though their state were inherently “backward” or inferior to more self-proclaimed “progressive” states (who also, please note, deal with their fair share of discrimination against various marginalized groups). This well-written article by Cynthia R. Greenlee eloquently drives home this point, which I feel is a super important one to bring into the debate currently being waged surrounding Indiana.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Sarah Jaffe on Politics and Feelings
Via Radio Dispatch

Photo via Sarah Jaffe on Twitter.

Photo via Sarah Jaffe on Twitter.

Ever since I began listening to her and Michelle Chen on the Belabored Podcast, Sarah Jaffe has become one of my favorite pundits on labor, economic justice, and social movements in general. On this episode of Radio Dispatch, Sarah speaks about the recent upsurge of so-called “feelings journalism,” and critiques it as a privileged phenomenon that seeks to explain away the experiences of others based on how one…well, just feels about it. A great listen.

Book Recommendation

Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
By Dipesh Chakrabarty

Photo via Princeton University Press.

Photo via Princeton University Press.

One of my courses this semester has turned me into an enormous fan of postcolonial scholarship for its views on how to conceptualize the world in a way that radically decenters Europe and Eurocentric thought. In this book, Chakrabarty calls into question the concepts of modernity, historicism, and a rationality that dismisses the spiritual realm (among many other topics). This one will have you rethinking…well, just about everything.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {3-27-15}

Chickpeas & Changes’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which I view as necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Wowza, it’s already the 42nd edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews)?!?!? We’re getting up there, folks. And for good reason, because I really can’t stop myself from sharing all of the hearty breakfast sandwiches, refreshing smoothies, and tempeh-loaded yumminess out there on the vegan blogosphere. And of course, how could I let important stories about U.S.-Israel relations, white male dominance in philosophy, subversive reporting on Africa, or radical vegan scholarship fall by the wayside? Nope, we’re going to have to keep going, waaay beyond 42…

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

Breakfast Sandwiches with Chickpea Patties & Cholula Cashew Cheese
Via Oh My Veggies

Photo via Kiersten at Oh My Veggies.

Photo via Kiersten at Oh My Veggies.

I get pretty enthusiastic about making chickpea-based dishes reminiscent of the texture and flavor of chicken’ eggs (but without all of the exploitation of female reproductive organs and whatnot), and I recently became an aspiring hot sauce aficionado…so this sandwich pretty much covers all the bases.

Sweet

Fennel Smoothie
Via Vegan Miam

Photo via Rika at Vegan Miam.

Photo via Rika at Vegan Miam.

The humble (and under-appreciated, in my book) fennel is right up there with the parsnip on the pedestal of my favorite veggies, so when you throw the crisp, anise-flavored green bulb into a blender with some pineapple and coconut water, well. You’ve made one blogger quite happy.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Cajun Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Via Connoisseurus Veg

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Photo via Alissa Saenz.

Hellloooooo tons of flavor! For serious, though, the pita pocket into which I stuffed this brilliant tempeh concoction was bursting with succulent, tomato-ey, smoky deliciousness (and it was also bursting because I may or may not have crammed too much tempeh in there, but whatevs). This one is an easy and quick hit.

Must-Read Article(s)

Is Obama really going to get tough with Israel?
By Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada

Photo via Pete Souza.

Photo via Pete Souza.

In the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent re-election and his disavowal of a two-state solution, the Obama administration has been claiming that they’re finally going to start taking action against Israel‘s racist, genocidal policies and practices. Sounds great, yeah? Well, there’s always a catch when it comes to American politics, isn’t there? In this article, journalist Ali Abunimah explains why we need to take a critical eye on Obama’s promises with regards to Israel.

Philosophy has to be about more than white men
By Minna Salami at The Guardian

 Aztec thinking was all but erased from history after their defeat by the Spanish. Photograph via Archivo Iconografico/Corbis.

Aztec thinking was all but erased from history after their defeat by the Spanish. Photo via Archivo Iconografico/Corbis.

I really couldn’t resist sharing this second article with ya’ll today, especially because this semester I’ve found myself in a philosophy course overrun with white men who really need to do some serious privilege-checking (like let SOMEONE else speak, bros!!!). Anywho, this article by Minna Salami does an awesome job of explaining the dominance of white men within the philosophic discipline, as well as why it’s so important to look to the forgotten philosophic voices.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Africa is a Radio
Via Africa is a Country

Photo via Africa is a Country.

Photo via Africa is a Country.

I only recently found out about this tongue-in-cheek blog, which challenges dominant conceptions of Africa and its people within Western media sources. Needless to say, I’ve become a huge fan of the blog’s work, not least because of its monthly podcast hosted by DJ and contributing editor Chief Boima. Give him a listen.

Book Recommendation

The Vegan Body Project: Food, Animals, and Gender in the Age of Terror
By Laura Wright

Photo via University of Georgia Press.

Photo via University of Georgia Press.

This Fall season cannot come fast enough, since it means the release of this long-awaited anthology by Laura Wright. Featuring pieces by Carol J. Adams, Justin Van Kleeck of the Triangle Chance for All microsanctuary (whom I recently interviewed on the blog), Jacqueline Morr of Project Intersect, Greta Gaard, and others, The Vegan Studies Project “combin[es] personal narratives and gender studies with eco-feminism and pop culture […] [to] offer a brilliant analysis of the status of vegans and veganism on America’s cultural landscape” (qtd. Hal Herzog). SO EXCITED.

In solidarity, Ali.

“Trash Animals”: Intersections of Speciesism, Classism, & Racism

Recently, I’ve found myself in a number of situations where those around me (and in one instance even myself) implicitly referred to other animals as dirty, and thus in need of being separated from us “clean” humans. Though I’ve written before about the animals we typically deem as “pests,” these recent situations have prompted me to re-explore the topic.

In one instance, I overheard a conversation that took place in my communal kitchen between two of my housemates. Housemate A was about to place a spoonful of peanut butter into a small cup when Housemate B shouted at Housemate A to stop, warning Housemate A that the particular cup they were about to use had previously been employed to feed the rescued lab rats who live with another housemate. Housemate A thanked Housemate B, expressing their gladness that they hadn’t had to eat from the same cup from which a rat had eaten (even though the cup had been cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher after the rat had used it).

Additionally, my housemates and I have been increasingly encountering cockroaches in the kitchen, pantry, and dining areas of our cooperative household. The majority of my housemates have expressed concern over the insects’ presence, citing health risks and food contamination. I myself played into this discourse by not removing a cockroach trap placed in our walk-in pantry by our college’s janitorial staff — an inaction that, upon reflection, was supremely speciesist, and one in which I don’t intend to engage again. It is with a heavy heart that I think of those beings who met an untimely and violent death in part due to my inaction, and I hope that this post can provide some small memorial to them.

In my view, at the heart of these expressions of disgust toward the rats and cockroaches in our home lies the speciesist assumption that we — the human animals for whose use our house is intended — are cleaner (read: superior) than the other animals with whom we live, and thus that we have a right to determine how they use our house, whether that infringes upon their bodily autonomy or not.

And yet, as the editors of the anthology Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species inquire, “Are animals to blame for flourishing in the abundant habitat we create?” (24). Indeed — to use the case of cockroaches as an extended example — cockroaches probably wouldn’t want anything to do with human animals if not for our “crumbs, scraps of food, and spilled food that they find” (Orkin) (they have existed for 300 million years before us, anyway [Kraus 212]). In this way, are not cockroaches merely cleaning up after our messes?

Because we human animals — and especially those who enjoy ample amount of privilege — are notoriously unwilling to engage in self-critical reflection, we refuse to acknowledge the situations we create as having the ideal conditions for the prevalence of cockroaches and other “pests.” Thus, we attack the symptom — cockroaches — of the manifestation of the messiness at once integral to human nature and demonized out of our fears of appearing “imperfect” in any way. With their astute assertion that “[t]rash is a human creation both literally and figuratively” (7), Nagy and Johnson adequately summarize our construction of certain animals as “pests” out of a fear to acknowledge the mess that we necessarily produce simply by virtue of living (especially in our modern world).

All this talk of human production of trash as the reason for the prevalence of cockroaches is not intended to shame the marginalized groups — namely, economically poor Black people in the United States — who encounter cockroaches on the most regular basis. (To give you some context, a 1996 study by Sarpong et al found that “African-American race and low socioeconomic status were both[…] significant risk factors for cockroach allergen sensitization in children with atopic asthma” [1393]). On the contrary, I want to stress the point that we wealthy white people have a fear of being associated with such marginalized groups due to our historical construction of them as dirty, disease-ridden, and morally inferior (constructions used with high frequency to justify slavery)—a construction that in part depends upon our speciesist understanding of “pests,” since such an understanding allows us to point to the concentration of cockroaches in low-income Black homes as evidence of the latter’s physical and spiritual filthiness. To concretize this idea, it might be helpful to remember that “[p]olitical, ethnic, and interest groups have […] demonized outsiders [such as Black, Mexicans, and Jews] by nicknaming them after [cockroaches” (Kraus in Nagy & Johnson 204).

Yet just as humans create just the conditions in which cockroaches and other “pests” can thrive, wealthy white people create the conditions in which economically poor Black people face institutional barriers to securing housing that supports their wellbeing (i.e., by not being infested with cockroaches, who have been consistently linked with carrying asthma-related allergens). For example, the housing that is economically accessible to economically poor Black people due to vast structural inequality is often in disrepair, making it incredibly difficult to maintain a “clean” home (how can your food stay safe to eat if your cabinet doors are falling of their hinges, or if your refrigerator can’t maintain temperature? And how can you avoid mold if your pipes leak?), and thus one less likely to attract cockroaches and other “pests.”

Cockroaches do not inherently cause asthma, but individuals living in areas with a high cockroach presence for a prolonged period of time have a far greater chance of becoming sensitized to cockroach allergens (aka, becoming allergic to cockroaches), and developing asthma in part because of them. So, instead of demonizing the individual non-human animals who seem to me pretty harmless in and of themselves, perhaps we should instead devote our energies toward working in solidarity with marginalized groups to dismantle the structures that reinforce the white supremacy and poverty that forces economically poor Black people into dilapidated housing, prevents them from accessing adequate healthcare, etc. Part of this dismantling, I believe, needs to involve a confrontation of our fear of being associated with beings whom we regard as dirty and inferior — whether that be economically poor people, people of color, or “trash” animals.

In solidarity, Ali.


References

Arruda, L. Karla, Lisa D. Vailes, Virginia P.L. Ferriani, Ana Beatriz R. Santos, Anna Pomes, and Martin D. Chapman. “Cockroach Allergens and Asthma.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 3 (March 2001): 419-428. ScienceDirect. Web. 20 March 2015.

Garcia, F., M.J. Notario, J.M. Cabanas, R. Jordano, and L.M. Medina. “Incidence of Bacteria of Public Health Interest Carried by Cockroaches in Different Food-Related Environments.” Journal of Medical Entomology 6 (November 2012): 1481-1484. BioOne. Web. 20 March 2015.

Jones, Robert Emmet and Shirley A. Rainey. “Examining Linkages between Race, Environmental Concern, Health, and Justice in a Highly Polluted Community of Color.” Journal of Black Studies 4 (March 2006): 473-496. JSTOR. Web. 20 March 2015.

McConnell, R., J. Milam, J. Richardson, J. Galvan, C. Jones, P.S. Thorne, and K. Berhane. “Educational Intervention to Control Cockroach Allergen Exposure in the Homes of Hispanic Children in Los Angeles: Results of the La Casa Study.” Clinical and Experimental Allergy 35 (2005): 426-433. EbscoHost. Web. 20 March 2015.

Nagy, Kelsi and Phillip David Johnson II. Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. Print.

Nalyanya, Godfrey, J. Chad Gore, H. Michael Linker, and Coby Schal. “German Cockroach Allergen Levels in North Carolina Schools: Comparison of Integrated Pest Management and Conventional Cockroach Control.” Journal of Medical Entomology 3 (2009): 420-427. BioOne. Web. 20 March 2015.

Oldenburg, Marcus. “Occupational Health Risks Due to Shipboard Cockroaches.” International Archive of Occupational and Environmental Health 81 (2008): 727-734. EbscoHost. Web. 20 March 2015.

“Cockroaches.” Orkin. Orkin. Web. 20 March 2015.

Rauh, Virginia A., Ginger L. Chew, and Robin S. Garfinkel. “Deteriorated Housing Contributes to High Cockroach Allergen Levels in Inner-City Households.” Environmental Health Perspectives 2 (April 2002): 323-327. JSTOR. Web. 20 March 2015.

Sarpong, Sampson B., Robert G. Hamilton, Peyton A. Eggleston, and N. Franklin Adkinson. “Socioeconomic Status and Race as Risk Factors for Cockroach Allergen Exposure and Sensitization in Children with Asthma.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 6 (June 1996): 1393-1401. ScienceDirect. Web. 20 March 2015.

Stevenson, Lori A., Peter J. Gergen, Donald R. Hoover, David Rosenstreich, David M. Mannino, and Thomas D. Matte. “Sociodemographic Correlates of Indoor Allergen Sensitivity among United States Children.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 5 (November 2001): 747-752. ScienceDirect. Web. 20 March 2015.