All the “isms” are undoubtably related, underlines by the concept that certain lives matter less than others. Ableism, racism, sexism, classism, anti-queer (as an all-encompassing term for those who identify other than heterosexual), opposing non-cis gendered people, religious intolerance, etc. However, one aspect that is not often brought to the discussion of these forms of oppression, and the liberation that is needed, is speciesism.
Speciesism is the idea that humans, as a species, are superior to all other species, regarding animals. Animals are viewed as lacking internal lives, simply tools for humans to use for their own benefit. Examples of this thinking are endless, from the meat industry, to pets, horse-drawn carriages, fur and leather, etc. While speciesism is not the same as the other forms of discrimination, as it pertains to non-human animals unlike the others, it stems from the same cognitive dissonance of identifying animals as “other” and therefore for humans’ use and abuse.
Liberation is all connected, meaning that the solution for each aspect of oppression is similar: viewing those different from ourselves not as “other” but as equal. Education can allow our society to learn that women are not the “weaker sex”, people with special needs are not “burdens”, people of color are not “lesser”, and animals are not “tools and objects” to be used.
These issues cannot be solved by checking off a list of actions, but I’ve put together a list of intersectional (connecting the “isms”) resources and ways to educate others about these oppressions.
- Vote! Most importantly, vote for a candidate that promotes equality in their policies, not just rhetoric
- Speak up if someone makes a remark/commits an act that discriminates
- Educate yourself on different forms of being, so that you understand different perspectives in the world
- Of course, go vegan
- Participate in a march or procession that challenges your ideas, like the march for science, women, or black lives matter
- Question your prejudices: keep an open mind when meeting others and challenge the generalization of certain groups that you may have