Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/BlackWomenOWN/status/1173695998989721601
Last month, Rutgers University gender studies professor Brittany Cooper appeared on an episode of the Oprah network’s show “Black Women OWN the Conversation.” She participated in a panel discussion about why so many black women are obese.
In case any of you missed it, she made the connection between President Trump’s policies and obesity rates among black women. Speaking to an audience of 100 black women, Cooper said, “I hate when people talk about black women being obese. I hate it, because it becomes a way to blame us for a set of conditions that we didn’t create. We are living in the Trump era. And look, those policies kill our people. You can’t get access to good health care, good insurance.”
She told the group that when black women follow the same diet as white women, “we lose less weight and we lose it slower.” According to Cooper, “public health practitioners think that our stress responses in the body change our metabolism.”
Drumroll, please. Wait for it.
“It’s literally that the racism you are experiencing and the struggle to make ends meet actually means the diet don’t work for you the same.”
The women in the audience all nod in agreement.
Leading the panel was a very fit young black woman. My heart rose for a moment when she said, “It’s also important for us to note that we have the power,” but fell when she completed her sentence with “to choose how we see ourselves.” What?
She continued “We will be fortified to fight all of these external issues when we pour into ourselves enough to say, ‘I love me. I’m not the conditions that surround me. I am not my experience. I am more than the circumstances I have gone through.”
To say that Trump’s policies are responsible for the obesity of black women is, obviously, ridiculous. I searched the internet for any year-over-year comparisons to see if obesity has increased over the last three years among this demographic, but was unable to find any up-to-date studies.
Studies do show that obesity is disproportionately higher for black women than any other group. Four out of five are considered to be obese. And obesity rates have increased in the U.S. overall in the past two decades.
But these women are preaching a victim mentality. It is self-defeating and it is dangerous. How about instead of telling these women “It’s also important for us to note that we have the power to choose how we see ourselves,” you tell them ‘it’s also important for us to note that we have the power to choose what we put into our mouths, to go out for a walk once a day or to go to the gym.’
To blame obesity on race is self-defeating. To blame obesity on President Trump’s policies is insane.
The U.S. economy is the healthiest it’s been in years. The unemployment rate, both overall and among blacks, is the lowest it’s been in half a century. I doubt very much that economic pressure among blacks has increased in the last three years.
Putting aside any Trump connections, instead of giving these young women excuses for their obesity, thereby perpetuating the cycle, why not tell them it doesn’t have to remain this way?
I know. We are living in the era of Trump. And everyone is a victim.
“I hate when people talk about Black women being obese. I hate it, because it becomes a way to blame us for a set of conditions that we didn’t create.” – @ProfessorCrunk.
— Black Women OWN the Conversation (@BlackWomenOWN) September 16, 2019