While the transition from meat to fish was relatively smooth, outside reactions from the black community continue to be my biggest challenge. The only thing more awkward than my first kiss is going to a gathering where the table is covered in meaty eats like fried chicken, roast turkey and everyone’s favorite: bacon (soggy or crispy). The moment I hesitantly say, “I can’t eat that,” the environment suddenly turns hostile as women smack their lips and stare like I stole their man. Other times, exchanges are playful and lighthearted. Regardless of the situation, I’m made to feel “uppity,” “conceited” and left out for doing something “different.”
No matter what end of the spectrum, I can’t help but ask: why does it matter in the first place?
I don’t get mad at anyone for judging my eating habits. As someone who wears their emotions on their sleeve, I’d be crazy if I were to tell someone they can’t have an opinion. I get it. Being a pescatarian goes against what we (black people) are used to- meals with heart healthy carbs, proteins and sweets. We’re groomed to know that those things constitute a good meal….and they do. But, I certainly don’t need them to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle. My hope is that vegetarianism can stop being labeled as a “white thing” and be accepted and inclusive of beautiful brown folks.