Linkage: More on race & fat at Shapely Prose

By | August 24, 2008

Pay attention: there is an excellent and thought-provoking post over at Shapely Prose by guest blogger Occhiblu, who takes issue with an article uncritically linked on Junkfood Science on Friday.

Sandy calling this article “profound” and explicitly linking it to weight-based discrimination in the U.S. is problematic, to say the least. Saying that this is where “we’re being led in the name of perfect health and bodies, and in the war on obesity” endorses this view that somehow the Chinese are more oppressively perfectionist than the West and uses the racism of the original column to erase the reality of Chinese culture in order to make a point about fat discrimination. She tosses Chinese culture and values under the bus in her effort to talk about why fat discrimination is bad.

Occhiblu makes some great points, and the post serves as a hard reminder that when folks observe that fat acceptance has done an imperfect job of addressing its racism, they’re not necessarily accusing people of being candidly Racist-With-A-Capital-R-And-A-Pointy-Hat. The failure we’re most often guilty of is not being overtly offensive but simply not thinking critically about race when we’re going about the daily business of FA. This, I would hazard, was a case of someone simply failing to consider the racist implications of the article; for white folks in particular, this is an easy thing to overlook.

It’s a continuing process, and one we all have to recommit to every day, even when we fuck it up. Like riding a bicycle; when I fall off, I don’t throw the bike away – I get back on and give it another go even at risk of skinned knees.

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