I hear this complaint about vegetarians and vegans all the time, but I have only run into one in 15 years of being one. ONE! (She worked for PETA and scowled at me while I was eating Doritos.) I run into way more omnivores who love to run meat under my nose, twirl around in fur and tell me all about how much they don’t like vegetables like that. It’s weird.

When I go to vegan events though, I dodge all of those creepy slaughterhouse videos. No thank you. I’ll pass. For the most part — specifically at African-American vegan/vegetarian events — it just feels more like a cookout. We’re talking about what we like and don’t like. We’ll talk about music. We’ll constantly debate about music. But there’s not this THE POOR ANIMALS outrage that I keep hearing about.

Then again, I think I’ve naturally gravitated to people who became vegans and vegetarians for dietary reasons. I was an accidental vegetarian. I just went to college and stopped buying meat. I didn’t intend to. I just realized I wasn’t into it. And it took me months to realize, “I think I’m a vegetarian now. Wow!” The ethical stuff came later. But when I got home, it was all my omnivore family members who teased me and complained. I had to have a few one-on-one chats with them to tell them it was getting exhausting. Strange part is they started gravitating toward what I was eating. My parents went to the Veggie Fest without me this year — and those are some steak n’ potato folks. My grandfather said he’d drink “soy milk when I see a soy cow.” Then I open the man’s refrigerator one day, and it has soy milk in it.

I think moving in silence works so much better than nagging people to death.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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