Priveleged, White, First World Problems
“Sounds like a privileged, white, First World problem to me,” smirks my privileged, white, First World acquaintance upon discovering my views on factory farming and other environmental concerns.
“Sounds like I can’t think of a witty comeback right now and don’t feel like presenting a sermon on the topic and just want to eat this crappy vegetarian option and oggle your chicken wings instead and stew about this for months and then write a snarky ETR article about it, you son of a beloved child of God,” I don’t reply.
Yes, friends, it appears that caring about Creation is solely the domain of the privileged white person. Being environmentally minded is only to be the concern of those who went to Montesorri Schools, attended expensive Liberal Arts colleges, shop at Whole Foods, and ride in Priuses.
Those poor bastards shoveling coal down in the engine room don’t have time to look at icebergs. What makes you think you’re so doggone special? This ship’s going along just fine.
But what about the fact that “most of the 220,000 deaths that result from pesticide pollution each year occur in the developing world?” 1 you ask.
What about the fact that food deserts disproportionately affect people of color? 2
What about how our food system relies on the labor of underpaid and undocumented immigrants? 3
What about the many people working on factory farms who are living in poverty and are food insecure? 4
What about our neighbors working in the dangerous meatpacking industry who have no access to healthcare because they are undocumented? 5
What about the fact that factory farming has ruined the quality of our food and the taste? 6 What about eating animals that have spent their entire existence unable to turn around and covered in other animals’ feces? What about the fact that factory farming breeds scary strains of bacteria? 7
Taste? Animal rights? Health? Next thing, you’ll be talking about how the presentation looks, you country club yuppie!
More broadly, what about environmental racism? What about the fact that people of color live disproportionately in close proximity to hazardous and toxic waste? 8
How bourgeois. How posh.
These matters are the luxury concerns of the privileged.
These are the concerns of everyone, or soon will be, and in fact, your ability not to be concerned with them are, in fact, a true luxury of your white, privileged, First World status.
But don’t worry. You’ll be okay. Us privileged, white, First World people tend to land on our feet.
Anyways, must run. My latte is getting cold.
- Ellen Davis. Scripture and Agriculture. (New York: Cambridge University Press. 2009), 23. ↩
- Racial Food Deserts, jhu.edu ↩
- The 20 Million, NY Times ↩
- hungerreport.org ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- How Industrial Farming Destroyed the Tasty Tomato, NPR ↩
- Breeding Bacteria on Factory Farms, NY Times ↩
- Huffington Post ↩
- LA Times ↩
- Ocean Dead Zones, Scientific American ↩