A few weeks ago I joined popular radio personality Michael Baisden's social network iseecolor. According to him, the premise of the group is to appreciate the world's different races and colors for what they are, and not pretend to be colorblind. I'm not a tremendous fan of Mr. Baisden, but after getting two invitiations to join the group, I folded. The group is not meeting my expectations. It's not terrible, it just doesn't seem to be focused on what Mr. Baisden said it was. It's like it's just there. However, this is not my issue.

A couple of days ago I got an email from one of my group friends, Rusty, discussing a segment he'd heard on a recent show. One thing to know about Mr. Baisden (if you don't already), is that he is trying to steer his listening audience to a more natural lifestyle and that he is VERY opinionated about it (which to me seems contradictory to the stated purpose of his group, but whatevs). Apparently he had a physician on who is vegetarian and mentioned that he supplements his diet with brewer's yeast. For whatever reason, this upset Rusty, prompting the email to his group friends list.

In the email, he says being vegetarian must not be "all that" if the diet has to be supplemented with all the vitamins and minerals found in brewer's yeast. He listed them all in the email. Having been a vegetarian for a few months shy of a year, I felt compelled to respond, because it seemed like Rusty was being defensive about his meat-based diet. I told him how long it's been since I changed my diet, told him that I sometimes supplement my diet with nutritional yeast, and that doing so seems no different than a meat-eater taking a multi-vitamin. I ended my response by saying that I did not regret my decision and that my health has not suffered at all, and that I don't agree with holier-than-thou vegetarians and vegans, because to each his own (because this segment of Mr. Basiden's show probably came across as condescending, which probably prompted Rusty's email).

Rusty replied yesterday in a way that left me wondering what his point was, outside of spewing ignorance. He let me know that anyone who doesn't clean their colon is setting themselves up for failure regardless of their diet (whoa, where'd that come from?), and that vegetables and grain are breeding grounds for parasites and disease because of the pesticides used to grow them. His latter point may have some validity, which is why I try to buy organic as often as possible, but as he cited the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut butter products, he completely ignored the filth and disease-fueled recalls of many meat products. He ended his note by saying that his kids were not vegetarian (neither are mine), that they grew up eating meat and fish, and had never been sick since the age of 3. I think that's mighty lucky, but I'm sure they didn't grow up eating ONLY meat and fish their entire lives - I recall always having a vegetable side dish on my plate in my meat eating years, and I'm sure his kids, did, too. Now that's right hypocritical of you, Rusty.

I am choosing not to respond to Rusty, because it's clear that he is dead-set in his beliefs, and is closed to considering any other perspective. However, I do want to say, if only to get it off of my chest, that we should strive to be as tolerant and understanding as possible of each other's lifestyle choices, even if we don't agree. Bashing them because we don't understand is not progressive, and as human beings, shouldn't we be all about progress?

Views: 6

Comment by Amer Rhys on January 31, 2009 at 1:27am
Great blog.

"we should strive to be as tolerant and understanding as possible of each other's lifestyle choices, even if we don't agree. Bashing them because we don't understand is not progressive, and as human beings, shouldn't we be all about progress?"

This is very well said, and i completely agree.
Comment by Optimus Skiver on January 31, 2009 at 12:52pm
Wow, this is a bit of a paradigm shift for me, I usually see vegetarians that dead set against people eating meat. O.o Diet shouldn't be something to persecute someone or be snobbish about, because it's just as silly to attack as ethnicity or creed. It's true that hominids were largely able to evolve and thrive as they did due to the amounts of fatty meats that they were able to acquire, but we're omnivores and we need to eat all sorts of things to survive--even plants and small rocks. :P The subsistence strategy shouldn't matter as long as the end result is health. Though I probably imagine some of you have issues with cannibalism, so I'm not going to get into that. O.o
Comment by Jef on January 31, 2009 at 1:10pm
this is just sad to hear, having a social network wich should accept everyone for who they are and then doing the exact opposite...
anyway I think you did the right thing not to respond to him anymore, if you think you made the right choice by becomming a vegetarian, it is the right choice. Never really heard any negative side effects from not eating meat anyway. So if he thinks its wrong its his problem...
Comment by Danielx on January 31, 2009 at 8:58pm
I like that you used "hater" because it doesn't attack on the fact that he is practicing something else that you don't follow, but instead it attacks that he is not being tolerant of others. "Hater" works in so many situations and if this word becomes more popular then the society would turn into one that looks down upon haters.

Interesting story as well
Comment by Kenyatta Wilson on February 1, 2009 at 12:41am
Well Danielx, perhaps hater is a stronger word than is necessary, but his ideas came across as hateful to me at the time. As I stated before, he didn't have to agree with my lifestyle, but I think he could have tried to be a bit more tolerant. At any rate I think he was being defensive because of how the vegetarian doctor came across (if I know anything about the show, he probably put meat-eaters down), and took it out on the whole idea of vegetarianism rather than the doctor's idea of a healthy diet.


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