chapter  7
21 Pages

“Guns, Race, Meat, and Manifest Destiny”: Environmental Neocolonialism and Ecofeminism in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats


Increasing attention is given to the racial and ethnic dimensions of environmental literature as a means of engagement with multiracial concerns and of shifting from the white-centered environmental movement. As Cheryll Glotfelty in her introduction to The Ecocriticism Reader states, “Ecocriticism has been predominantly a white movement. It will become a multi-ethnic movement when stronger connections are made between the environment and issues of social justice, and when a diversity of voices are encouraged to contribute to the discussion.” 1 Although acknowledging the good intentions of her statement, T. V. Reed fi nds Glotfelty’s remarks “complacent and politically insensitive,” and he stresses the “whiteness” of the mainstream environmental movement and its “unwillingness to grapple with questions of racial, class, and national privilege.” 2 The need to expand the existing paradigm of environmentalism to embrace diverse voices should not be regarded merely in terms of a supplement to white-dominant ecocriticism. In fact, the connection between environmental problems and the environmental injustice infl icted on the poor, racial minorities, and women is already evident; yet, the discussion of environmental inequity and unequal power relations in environmental problems in national and transnational contexts has not fully unfolded as part of the environmental movement.