Canít, Wonít, or Donít?
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Jason Doucette on

One of the things thatís fascinated me over the years is the reaction I hear from vegans when they scan an ingredients list on a new product and find an animal product. It might just be an innocent choice of words, but I always think thereís something more going on:

ďI canít eat thatĒ: this is the most common, and I think the most limiting of the responses. ĒCanítĒ is a limit, imposed by a rule. Itís arbitrary. Sure, you could finish the sentence with ďÖwithout violating my core beliefs,Ē and when used in other contexts it makes sense (such as ďI canít stand burnt toast,Ē) but generally ďcanítĒ works globally when itís a situation accepted or understood by the majority of society, which, sadly, veganism really isnít.

ďCanítĒ also implies lacking, sacrifice, or regret, and thatís why I always cringe when I hear it.

ďI wonít eat thatĒ: here, itís more of a statement of will, and I waver between this and the next one. To me, veganism is more than a choice; itís an expression of my core values, so ďwonítĒ is acknowledging that while I could eat something, Iíve made a deeper decision not to.

ďI donít eat thatĒ: this is a statement of self. There are things you do, and things you do not do. Itís binary, itís universal, and generally when you donít do something itís because itís not part of your identity.

There are contextual differences, of course, but I think Iím about 60% wonít and 40% donít, on average. What about you? Canít, wonít, or donít?

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