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Africa Speaks

Far too many Black Women are overweight
- Part IV

Continued from:
Far too many Black Women are overweight Part I | Part II | Part III

Reply on: Mar 19th, 2004, 3:30pm

Ayinde, I really appreciate your thoughtful comments but the facts remains many sisters tend to overeat and say they never exercise. The health problems, which result from this are staggering! It's thus sounds imprudent to encourage Black women to see no problem in being 200 lbs + overweight when they tend to not exercice unlike the bodybuilders. Supporting the argument that those who care for their health and encourage others to do so is just finding an excuse to recharge their aesthetic concerns is to be in denial of the long-term affects of the numerous diseases that are commonly related to obesity. In my own view indeed obesity (200 lbs + not exercising) is a not a good thing. This is harming us far more than our White counterparts in addition of the harm of oppressive racism and human rights violations.

Bantu Kelani.

Reply on: Mar 19th, 2004, 6:27pm

I do not buy the vague and somewhat biased definitions associated with Obesity, which in my view are not Universally sound.

People who care about the health of others are not running the whole Obesity campaign in the mainstream media. It is a part of a commercial enterprise that thrives on negatively stigmatizing people to get them to spend.

The same fat cats who are pushing the diets and fitness craze also invest in other companies that do tremendous harm to people.

Most of the promotions hinge around a White cosmetic model of beauty and fitness that is not attainable or suitable for everyone. The ads are to negatively stress people so they will rush out to spend. Many people do suffer negatively from putting on too much weight, and many do suffer for taking off too much weight. Self-esteem is the factor that regulates size and health.

However, the negative stigmas in relation to size are not true for many people and they only severely impact on fat people (by varied yardsticks for fatness) because of the silly prejudices of others. So the issue is also about the ignorance/prejudices of others.

According to the fleeting interpretations of Obesity, Sumo wrestlers and many native Alaskans might show up on tests as Obese and unhealthy, but if the wrestler and the native Alaskan are quite healthy and comfortable with their size, who am I to impose a standard on them?

All people do not eat as badly as many may do in the US. Not all fat people lack exercise, overeat or eat poor quality food, and certainly many of the fat people I know are quite fit and mentally sound. On the other hand, many people should look at the issues that may cause them to suddenly put on or take off weight. Quite often the underlying issues are related to self-worth.

Bantu Kelani wrote:
Supporting the argument that those who care for their health and encourage others to do so is just finding an excuse to recharge their aesthetic concerns is to be in denial of the long-term affects of the diseases that are commonly related to obesity.

I don't really know if this comment was directed to I or if it was a general comment. If it was directed to I then read my comments again. "…Supporting the argument that those who care for their health and encourage others…" You may be trying to personalize the discussion, but if not, I fail to see where I took issue with anyone who cares about the well-being of others. Certainly if I happen to disagree with you on anything it is a disagreement with your view or how you express something, and it is not a sweeping indictment on everyone else. A good intention does not in itself mean that what someone is saying is true. I also do not believe that many people, including fitness gurus and doctors, really care about the health of others, and especially the health of Black people. I also do not see how encouraging false stereotyping and negative discrimination is part of the cure for anything.

Other than that, I do not have a problem with anyone getting fatter of thinner if they wish.

The physical attributes of people are not true measurements of their character or ability to learn anything, which includes developing spiritually. People's discomfort with their own bodies, and with the rights of others to be different, can be a hindrance to their own development.

If people are uncomfortable with their weight or feel they are at risk for some diseases then there are things they can start doing about it. They should get as informed as possible (which includes consulting doctors) and act on it as they see fit.

However, many people have prejudicial issues with how they look, and they project them on others. They should work on their own biases. I am not here advocating one size for everyone and those who are unfit irrespective of their size should work on it.

Reply on: Mar 20th, 2004, 4:12am


Regardless of what you say, in industrialized countries Black women have significant health problem due to obesity. For the most part because they do not exercise enough and or overeat. Black women are two to three times more likely than White women to be obese. Black women are two to three times less likely to find treatment and prevention of the harmful effects of obesity. This epidemic will not prolong our lives it will cut life short. Why should we reduce our life span purposely when our fore mothers and fore fathers lived more than 170 years? Furthermore, if I don't like morbid obesity I must be biased in my belief? Fine, you and others can make your excuses. Sorry, I won't be doing that. I went 10 years being obese I have suffered many pains, so I'm not going to encourage people to comply with obesity for political correctness and this whole "It's okay to be yourself" theory.

Bantu Kelani.

Reply on: Mar 21st, 2004, 10:30am

The Right Order: In my view

The first thing people should be addressing before trying to change anything is the prejudices and negative stigmatizations related to their own self-esteem problems. This involves examining the racial issues and untrue stereotypings associated with the particular issue. This is to first correct perceptions before they end up removing 40lbs from their bodies while gaining more pounds on their egos, which is certainly more dangerous.

From the moment people feel they are overweight, quite often they are not in immediate life and death danger, and can afford to investigate the issues thoroughly. Most often, people who feel badly about their bodies do have to develop a positive self-image before they can be sufficiently motivated to do something about it. This is true for most people, and I rather suspect this was also true for Kelani. So improving the self-image usually comes first.

No one is going to get a better self-image if the information they receive is in reality misinformation. They certainly will not be motivated to improve if all they see and feel is the negative stigmatizations from others. They do need to see and feel better through the intervention of others who can identify with the good in them. We all should know that people's own misinformed views about themselves, and by extension others are directly related to the negative stigmas placed on others, and their own bodies.

We encourage Blacks to examine the issues surrounding Racism and Gender discrimination before rushing to bleach their skin. We encourage them to examine Colorism so they don't remain only considering people of lighter shades attractive or better based on the miseducation they received. Today I am encouraging people to examine the many biases about size before continuing to feel badly about their own bodies, and to ensure that if they choose to change, it is either because of legitimate health concerns or because it is in their own best interest.

My approach towards this size issue is totally consistent with how I address many issues that are loaded with prejudices and general misinformation. We certainly do not expect Blacks to change for the better by feeding them more misinformed views about Blacks. We do expect them to get informed (not misinformed) first.

I am not encouraging anyone to put on or take off weight, but I am encouraging people who are not in immediate life and death danger to consider the prejudices involved in the size issue before castigating or negatively stereotyping others.

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Hazard of Weight Gain for Blacks Unclear Associated Press via

This debate from Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum in the Health and Livity section.