Vegan Teen Perspective, The Most Effective Form of Activism
Welcome to our Vegan Teen edition, where older kids weigh in on what veganism means to them and change the perspective of their outlook towards a growing world of vegans. Today, we hear from Lotus Kay.
I was at a health food store the other day, and even though it claimed to be a health food store, it didn’t have many vegan options. So my dad asked the lady working there for where the vegan options were located, and she had to ask someone what “vegan” meant.
I was away from the situation hiding from my dad so he wouldn’t embarrass me as usual in public. As we were checking out, the same lady asked, “Well, I hope you guys don’t mind me asking, but if you’re vegan, like, what do you eat?”
And I was super excited to answer! I love getting asked questions to help educate people. I explained how you can eat all the same items as most people, and how there are vegan options for nearly everything, such as vegan cheeses and meat. She continued to ask questions and it was such a really great experience, especially as she seemed very receptive to what I was saying.
Then, as we went into the car, my dad was impressed with how nice I was and it started an entire discussion about “encouraging vegans” and “judgmental vegans” or to widen the discussion even more: “encouraging activists” and “judgmental activists”.
Some people, when they are passionate about an issue, get angry, protest, act judgmental to others and seem self-righteous about an issue. They are judgmental activists. The encouraging activists are the ones who instead of judging and getting angry at people, are encouraging to others when it comes to what they care about. Being nice and well-spoken is the more effective form of activism. It has been proven to me time and time again; people react to kindness and compassion much better.
For example, once I was in a comments section on Instagram where I saw someone ask a question related to veganism, and even though some may have seen the question as rude I was able to detect that is was a genuine and innocent question. So I answered nicely and clearly, offering my insights and suggestions, and I kept getting more questions about veganism and it turned into a whole conversation. I found out this person was very much a meat eater and even enjoyed hunting as a sport. But after we had talked (without me judging him or being rude) he had seemed very interested in veganism and even asked me for a list of documentaries he could watch.
After our conversation, I saw another person had witnessed his original comment, going about it all the wrong ways – she got mad at him. And so a fight began. I had avoided getting involved with any of it but was disappointed that I had made a difference in someone’s life and now somebody else was being damaging to the issue. And then I saw the guy I was talking to tagged me in a comment, and he said, “Thank god there are vegans like Lotus Kay.”
I always remembered the situation and the comment because when I reflect, it’s not as much saying, ‘thank god there are vegans like me who can politely educate people maturely’ – anyone can do that. It’s ‘thank god that there are vegans, and activists, who are nice and well spoken to smooth out the roughness of the angry activists, that exist on almost every issue’ especially when the issue is a really bad one.
If you are passionate about an issue, I hope this has taught you to encourage people rather than judge them. I understand how you can feel so passionately about an issue as a vegan teen. I know there’s a lot wrong about the world. However, you will find when you think positively and see the best in everyone, everything in life just seems to work better. My dad has now tried being nicer to people when it comes to issues after watching my example, and it has worked out a lot better for him too.
Contributor posts are not meant to represent the views or beliefs of Raise Vegan, LLC – each opinion is unique and represents the opinion of that writer. An opinion expressed by any contributor does not reflect the views of any organization, employer, or religious congregation that contributor may be associated with unless expressly stated. Stay tuned for more vegan teen insights as our series continues.
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