Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the need to out ourselves

Here is a generalization, but I think it is true: most people feel very comfortable publicly expressing contempt for animal rights groups, disdain for PETA in particular, and derision for vegans and vegetarians. I've certainly heard it plenty. And I think one reason is obvious: people expressing such attitudes don't think that anybody actually holding any animal rights views could possibly be in their company. Most people, in most situations, seem unlikely to say they hate a group in front of members of that group, or to claim that anybody holding such views is crazy. At least in most polite, sociable or professional situations.

And that's why I think it is worthwhile, in the company of those we are often around but who may not know us well, to out our vegetarianism, veganism, animal welfare, or animal rights views. I think there's value in showing people that somebody quite near to them, and maybe somebody who doesn't seem radically different from them, and probably doesn't appear to be crazy, might hold such views. That people right around them, friends, family, coworkers, teachers, students, readers, might be members of PETA, might choose not to eat meat, is something they might not expect (I've seen the looks and heard the sounds of disdainful surprise). It might be good to show people that a reasonable, calm, maybe even "normal" seeming person might hold views they hate (for some reason) or consider crazy. Or maybe I'm reaching to think I might seem "normal" to anybody.

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