Vegans, or at least the ones I know, do not represent the typical stereotypes people associate with them.In fact, like the ones in the above photo:
They don't harass people.
They don't engage in violent protests.
They don't hate on people who consume meat and dairy.
They are not out to brainwash you or your progeny with slanted propaganda.
They don't speak ill of others except in self defense.
(Even then, they make a sincere effort to be kind. At least initially.) LOL Let me explain.
Vegans are human beings, you guys. So yes, some of us become defensive when our way of life is insulted or laughed at. Which it unfortunately is, quite often. Oh, we're not as persecuted as some, for sure. I would never say that. But the bias is there and it hurts. Even worse, unlike other forms of discrimination, it seems to be widely acceptable to bash vegans. That is, discrimination against vegans is not looked upon as the bigotry it is. A lot of people think that's funny and acceptable. No idea why.
But back to the subject at hand: Vegans may not be who you think they are.
There are a wide variety of religious beliefs among vegans. Some are even atheist or agnostic. Veganism is not a religion.
Vegans are vegan for a myriad of reasons. Some people adopt a vegan lifestyle for the health benefits. Others are vegan for environmental protection. Others do it for the animals. Still others for the preservation of natural resources. Some are vegan for all or several of those reasons combined. Some have other reasons too.
Vegans come from all walks of life and every race, creed, color and sexual orientation.
Vegans are not self absorbed, obsessive preachy naysayers. Their sole purpose in life is not to make other people miserable or convert everyone to their way of thinking.
Vegans don't talk nearly as much about veganism as they are thought to, except maybe to spread awareness on social media.
Believe it or not, being the center of attention and playing “20 questions about my choices” at every gathering you attend where food is involved is not really our idea of a good time.
News flash: We have other qualities and interests, aside from being vegan. Let's talk about those for a change, shall we?
But not here, because this is about who vegans are.
As it turns out, vegans are no different from anyone else in the world and just as varied as anyone else in the world too. Except for one thing. They don't consume or use animal products.
But just as sometimes happens with other groups of people, vegans are often judged by the actions of a few extremists, even though only an insignificant number of us actually engage in negative extreme behavior, violent demonstrations, etc. Most of us do our best to adhere to the principle of kindness.Violence isn't really our thing.
So, vegans are not who you think they are if you think they're all pushy, judgmental extreme weirdos who spend every walking moment trying to convert you. Seriously? We have lives of our own. We have other things to do, you guys.
But if you post or say something bashing our way of life, the food we eat or make a running joke out of us, do expect us to call you on it. Not because we hate you. Nope. Because we care about everyone. We don't like to see our friends engage in bigotry, especially if they're not aware that what they're doing is hurtful. In fact, if we bother to comment on something you post or verbalize, take it as a compliment.
It means we believe you're a good person who does not consciously realize what they're saying is discriminatory. It means we love you enough to let you know when you're being hurtful and that we have faith you will stop being hurtful when you realize it.
Remember, whether you think your “joke” is harmless or not, it's the feelings of the people it's directed at that determines whether or not you should say it.
Lastly, and perhaps, most importantly:
Vegans are really not who you think they are if you expect us to be OK with bigotry toward anyone. Come on, dude, Do No Harm is our mantra. We wouldn't let you poke fun at anyone else and we're certainly going to stick up for ourselves. It just makes sense.
So, rather than insisting that you meant no harm or going on and on about how horrible we are in comparison, why not actually listen to what we're trying to say? Which is that no matter your intent, you have insulted us with your cute little jab. Cheap shots do not become you. They don't become anyone.
Please think before you speak. Play nice or I'll have to ask you to leave my sandbox. This is a peace zone. Bigotry of any kind is not welcome here. Vegan or not.