Tip 31: If You Can’t Say Anything Vegan: “Do You Mind if I Eat Meat in Front of You?”

veganmofoPosted as part of VeganMoFo (The Vegan Month of Food) 2014

When vegans are around, things get a little tricky – for all of us. Sometimes non-vegans get defensive or hostile because they think vegans are telling them their food choices are unethical. Sometimes vegans are! And that comes across as self-righteous and snobby.

So, I’m using the Vegan Month of Food – a month during which vegan blogs are celebrated and aggregated in one place – to provide some easy tips for non-vegans and vegans to use, so we can all get along a little better. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t say anything vegan, don’t say anything at all.”

Non-vegans, please stop saying this to vegans and vegetarians.

Because you really don’t want us to give you an honest answer. You just feel weird about it and want us to tell you it’s okay. Usually if a person is vegan or vegetarian for ethical reasons, it means she thinks it’s wrong to eat meat. And usually if that makes a non-vegan uncomfortable, it’s a reflection of her own values, not that of the vegan. Do you feel weird about not being Jewish in front of your Jewish friends? No, because you’ve chosen a different religion, or no religion, and you’re comfortable with your choice. No need to feel defensive, because no need to feel judged. Am I wrong? (it’d be a first – J/K).

What are some alternatives?

  • “Am I comfortable with my choice to eat meat?” (to yourself)
  • “I’m comfortable with my choice to eat meat, and I am comfortable with your choice not to. Let us dine!”
  • “I feel weird about eating meat in front of you, because I’m afraid you’ll be judging me. Can we talk about that?” (the answer is probably yes)
  • Don’t say anything at all.

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