Fat vs. Race=NO!

MORE PROOF FAT PEOPLE CAN BE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING: Paul over at BFB has responded to this post! Please go over there and see what he has to say! (link).


Fat vs. Race=NO!
Cut by: Davita Cuttita

**UPDATE O8/13/2008: In light of recent events, the article has been revamped for excellence! I welcome all new readers and encourage ya’ll to take a look around.**

**UPDATE 08/13/2008: We’ve been linked over Big Fat Blog! Yay! Unfortunately, it is not a super-joyous thing at the moment but hopefully that changes. Here’s my letter to Paul clearing up this sticky situation**:

Hi Paul,

This is Davita Cuttita of the blog Pregnant Drug-Dealing Prostitutes. You’ve linked me and I have a couple of things to say.

First off: I’ve been reading BFB for about a year now and I like it very much. So much so, I had the link posted on PDDP from the very start. I’m not fat (however my lovely co-writer and best friend is) but I do not see that as an excuse not care about fat people’s feelings, rights and struggles. BFB is a very positive space.

If you took a moment to browse around on PDDP, you would’ve seen that I have written numerous articles detailing my outrage of how poorly fat people are treated and perceived as well as my personal attempts to try and bring about positive change and my encouragement to fat men and women everywhere to continue being confident, beautiful and keep living life to the fullest. These articles/the blog have also been linked to on other sites around the fatosphere (The Rotund, The F-Word.org, etc) for my efforts.

As you can imagine, I was extremely honoured you found me but my joy diminished somewhat as I began to read the commentary.

As a young Black woman, I was absolutely offended by you calling my argument a “pissing match” and telling me to “stop it”. The tone was hurtful, as to say that I was only a child that didn’t know what she was talking about. My concerns were nothing but hot air.

Obviously, what I was discussing is not a rumour. Some people of size do compare the struggles of race and fatness and see them as the same thing.

The point of my article was to say that this is wrong not because the person doing so may be fat but because typically, the person doing so is White and for a White person to tell POC what they are feeling and experiencing rather than listening to their valid concerns and acknowledging the fact they will never truly understand the stigma behind race and it’s implications is offensive, scary and yes; even sad.

Just because you have not seen this argument in the fatosphere, it doesn’t mean that it is non-existent, nor is it any attempt on my part or anyone elses’ to be mean-spirited if we POC choose to discuss it. Because I am Black, I will perceive many things differently from you and images/comments I find offensive may go right over your head. For example, many participants of the fatosphere will agree that the “headless fatties” image on the news is offensive (it is!) but most people don’t see a problem with these images at all or even more inclined to be sizeist because of them.

Oftentimes, whenever POC talk about issues that they have experienced or are having trouble with, it is quick to be dismissed and misconstrued outside of POC circles by Whites(“pissing match” thing again). Once again, this is because our perceptions of reality are different since society has and continues to oppresses us in different ways. Therefore, I am quite understanding of circumstances such as these, where people do not entirely understand what I am trying to say or blow things out of proportion (or even way off topic). At the end of my post, I invited anyone who read to discuss and help me understand this stance of “borrowing” arguments more. Rather, you labelled me, dismissed me, and treated a serious issue to POC as nothing more than a minor annoyance. Hot air.

I absolutely do not believe that you are a racist and I do believe that you do excellent work on this site but am I sure we can both agree that misunderstandings between different groups do happen. It is inevitable in the quest for justice and equality. I would still like to extend my invitation to you and your readers once again to open their minds for a moment to the concerns of POC and engage with myself (or others on the net) about racial issues, if they so choose to do so. If you’ve any questions or comments I or my co-writer would be more than happy to discuss them.

I really and truly do believe we can make a difference and I will continue to be an avid, admiring reader of BFB.

Thank you,

Davita Cuttita


Hey Everybodies!

Regular peoples, skinny peoples, fat peoples. Homies and Homiettes.

Davita has been reading around the precious fatosphere lately and she is not pleased.

Not at all.

Turn me up now cuz Imma break it down like James Brown.

WHY THE RACE VS FAT ARGUMENT IS BULLSHIT:

  • Never, in the history of forever, has a populous been enslaved because they were fat
  • Never, in the history of forever, has a populous been removed from their homes, sent to another country, whipped, maimed, or beaten to death because they were fat
  • Fat people were never regularly beaten to death by a mob, hung till dead, then had their corpse made a public spectacle of and mocked *only* because they were fat
  • There has never been a government sanctioned effort to rid the entire world of fat people via genocide
  • Extinct tribes of Natives and Blacks were not made so because they were fat
  • Police will not respond slower to your emergency phone call (ex: people shooting outside your door) because you are fat. I know—I grew up in an area like this for 10 years.
  • You are not more likely to be arrested for absolutely nothing because you are fat

Let’s go into a little more detail…

Fatness is caused by one or more factors:

a.) Genetics
b.) Medical Condition
c.) Diet
d.) Lifestyle

And that’s that.

I am Black because of only one factor: Chocolate. Pounds and pounds of delicious chocolate.

OKAY, OKAY!! Genetics.

Now, for you to imply that somehow, my blackness is related to fatness opens up the floor for some very severe and complicated things: it refelects onto me, the exact same baseless arguments the fat community has to deal with on a daily basis from the rest of society. I know some people had trouble with how I explained it with my original post, so I’m going to try to make myself more clear.

If you borrow an argument or the experiences of another group, claiming they are the same and using those things to bolster yourself, IT IS NOT A ONE WAY THING. You cannot just take the “glory of the struggle” and apply it to yourself because once you say two different things are the same, you are also transferring the negative connotations of your group onto the other.

For example; a negative connotation of fatness is that is it a medical condition in need of “curing” through diet and exercise. When you say fatness and being Coloured are the same and their stigmas are the same, you are also subtly saying that we are in need of “curing”. You are also saying that if we made changes to our lifestlyes we could somehow be “less than” we already are.

Some fat people are born to be fat and that is fine. Others are fat because of [insert cause] and have the option to change. I do not believe for a second that they should be forced, pressured, villianized or maginalized to change but my point is that they have an option.

As a Black girl, I have no options but to be a Black girl and if I am somehow not “Black” enough, other members of my race will marginalize me for being “Whitewashed”. I will never have an option BUT to fight the victimhood of my Blackness.

Not only am I Black, I am mixed: My ancestry is Black, Syrian (Jewish) and Scottish with traces of Indian and Chinese. There are Black people who will not accept me because of my “dirty” blood but there are racist White people who will not accept me either.

And that’s OK. I’m not here to make friends with everybody and the world wasn’t made to agree with me or accept me, but I better damn well have my rights.

Even worse, this implication of “lessening” stands with the stereotype that my blackness is only my skin and nothing more. It is only a physical trait. Well, no. It’s a part of who I am too and I will live my entire life and die this way.

I can’t be “less” Davita than I already am and Grandpa Dinosaur can’t be less Asian and fat than she already is and so on. A person’s weight fluctuates between 5 and 10 pounds a day. It can also change from a number of other environmental, surgical (ugh!), dietary and lifestlye factors. Nobody knows 100% for sure that they will be fat the rest of their lives. Some people start skinny and get fat, others are vice-versa and many of our “dieting friends” spend their entire lives yo-yoing; dipping their feet in and out of the pot of thin priviledge.

Racial identity kinda…doesn’t do that shit.

You, fat White homie, will never know what it is like to be Black, Asian, Hispanic, Mixed, Native, Indian, etc (unless you’re this guy). Nor will your non-fat counterparts. AND THAT IS FINE, no one is holding that against you, but please do not hijack our arguments and appropriate them to your fatness because race and fat are not the same.

You will never share in the consequences of the drama, anxiety, the hundreds of years of hatred, segregation, slavery and displacement.

The Loss. The irreversible consequences.

There is no shame in that, and no one is blaming you for anything that happened hundreds of years ago. However, you should take a moment to admit yeah; you’ll never understand or experience racial stigma.

You just won’t.

You are White and the world you live in is White. We are Coloured and have to live in your world because…well, there isn’t really anything else we can do. Or any place else we can go (do I really have to post this link on Westernization?).

Accept that fact, and don’t use us as a crutch for your fat arguments. It’s insulting not because you are fat but because it shows an utter disregard and lack of respect for a group you could never fully understand, do not belong to and…c’mon! If we Coloureds have gotta make our arguments stand on their own merit, why do you get to use us as human shields? It hurts to be stigmatized, I know; but this “borrowing and appropriation” won’t make things any better and will only serve to drive people away.

If people can’t get your point, oh well. Move on. Hang around people who do get you. I get you. Grandpa Dinosaur gets you. The Fatosphere gets you.

But do not pull out the race argument because that’s just a slippery slope you can’t climb. Once again, not because you are fat but because you are White and dominant society is White and has been made to cater to White people for hundreds of years.

Fatness was (and still is in some places) adored for thousands of years. It meant you were healthy, wealthy, fertile and well-fed. I think it can still mean all those things. Only until perhaps 80–100 years ago, but more severely now, has society pressured men and women everywhere to look like stick figures.

But one’s skin colour has always been and continues to be an object of despise.

I am sure that in a Black or White neighbourhood (as a kind commentor pointed out) that a fat White woman walking down the street will be treated and regarded far more differently than a fat Black woman.

Imagine yourself standing at a podium in front of a vast audience of Coloured People with you, being the only White present. Imagine yourself telling them that your struggles as a fat person and their struggles of being called niggers, chinks, etc are the same. I, for example, as a child have had beer bottles thrown at me, been spit at, called a nigger and cursed at because of my skin colour. My father was beat half to death by police because he is biracial. My mother was kicked in the ribs and called a nigger because she was Black by a hospital patient. My brother was told “niggers shouldn’t date White girls!” in a store while shopping for baby clothes for their then, soon-to-be-born daughter because he is Black and his girlfriend is Portugese.

Would it kill anybody to get into some Coloured circles and listen? Talk to them, maybe?

Just as people say you should only write what you know, you should do the same for arguments: argue with what you know and understand, not what you think you know or understand.

So, my fat homies and homiettes, I just had to lay down the ney-no and call some of ya’ll out on your shit because that’s what Davita does.

Hey, just helping you check yoself before you wreck yoself.

Wanna say something? By all means hit up the comments or send an e-mail because I would really like to know where this mess is coming from.

Until then I’m getting educated.

LASTLY but definitely not LEASTLY, I would like to direct all of you to some absolutely stunning comments from your fellow readers.

{Sidenote: Oh, and Beth Ditto’s photo is totally shitty and pretty racist. I just don’t get it. Cards? White people always got the cards? What? OH WAIT NO–WHITE PEOPLE ALWAYS WIN? Oh no she didn’t…

Way to go with the overworked Spanish cleaning woman look, there. Too bad her glum expression doesn’t match your silver stockings. I am afraid Ms. Ditto’s gotta have a time out in my “Up With This Fuckery I Will Not Put!” file until she releases a song I can listen to more than once on my ipod.}

Advertisements

~ by davitacuttita on August 6, 2008.

32 Responses to “Fat vs. Race=NO!”

  1. You were linked over at Big Fat Blog (http://www.bigfatblog.com/crying-out-loud), and I had to post my response to him over here to you.

    Oh freaking no.

    Ok, so I really do want to post about more than just fat and race stuff, but work is crazy, time is limited, and me getting mad about some bullshit is almost a certain trigger for my writing finger.

    I say “Oh no,” not because of the article linked, but because of the comments likely to follow on BFB, *especially* given some of the BS that I’ve seen there in the past on race stuff. Preemptive outrage, that is where I am these days. Plus, IT IS NOT A RUMOR! IT IS FACT! And, I actually agree with a lot of what Davita says, especially this: “why do you get to use us as human shields?” Indeed, white fat folks, WHY?

    Of course, it is disappointing for her to assume that all fat activists are white folks, but it’s also possible that she wanted to specifically address white FA folks who try to use the supposed amelioration of racism to prove how bad fatphobia is. There is also the dubious claim in her article that weight (at least in the long term) is so mutable, but that has also been covered extensively elsewhere.

    To me, this again proves that there is a gaping maw where fat POC writers should be. Just like how I feel about feminism, fat liberation is important enough to me that I refuse to let the current mainstream movement drown out my voice and the voice of the other fat folks of color who refuse to use our communities as “human shields” to prove the worth of this cause.

    This POC Caucus at NOLOSE )fat and queer conference happening in September) cannot happen fast enough, in my opinion, and I am even more determined to produce something that we can take back to the FA movement and shout, “We are here, and you better fucking listen to us, goddammit.”

  2. I don’t know how you feel about anonymous comments, but I don’t feel like i can have my name attached to this (for reasons that I hope would be obvious by the time I’m done).

    I’ve been reading the Fatosphere for a while now, and when I first started reading, it was more focused on “fat is a feminist issue”. Now it seems like you can’t turn around without bumping into discussions about race and privilege.

    Which isn’t to say that feminism, race, and privilege aren’t valid topics. They are important and valid, and that’s the point. I think the fatosphere is focusing so much on those issues because they are more widely recognized as real issues. But come to think of it, I can’t recall the last time I saw someone talking about how “fat is a feminist issue”.

    To be blunt, I think the fat acceptance groups are talking about fat in the context of feminism and race in order to validate the idea of fat as a civil rights issue. I think that fat is a valid civil rights issue, but we’re not going to get anywhere by borrowing credibility.

  3. Davita, I appreciate the response. I’ll agree on your major points, and will elaborate more later today/tomorrow. Thanks for the insight!

  4. You know I really love your writing style and that of Grandpa Dinosaur and the way you both speak your minds. I don’t comment much because I’m more in “listen and learn” mode but I do read all your posts and wanted to let you know how much I enjoy them.

    I agree with this post, for the most part… comparing fat discrimination to racism is lazy, inaccurate, and insulting to people of colour (especially to fat people of colour who are trying to tell us how the two experiences are different but aren’t listened to). I’m disappointed that Paul dismissed your post without bothering to respond to any of the content.

    I would like to say a couple things though. The first is that fat acceptance advocates don’t like being told: “Cure your fatness, fatty.” FA advocates don’t see fatness as a medical condition that needs curing.

    The other is that fat identity I think is more complicated than just how much you weigh. I could lose 15 pounds and become “less fat” but I would still identify as a fat person, because I would still be treated as such. I could lose 50 pounds and become not a fat person anymore, but I think I would still identify at least partly as a fat person just because… you can’t erase those experiences, you know? That’s not to say it’s the same as racial identity… for one thing you’ve been black since birth and I’ve only been fat for 5 years or so. Even for people who have been fat since childhood, I’m sure it’s different for many reasons that a fat person of colour could probably explain better than I could. But there is still a fat identity that doesn’t go away from fluctuating 5 or 10 pounds.

  5. Hello Everyone! Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment in my space. I really and truly do appreciate it. First up:

    Paul: Thanks for doing that. I’ve been reading the article, doing some tweaking to try and make my point more clear. I really do enjoy BFB and am very happy you linked me. I look forward to reading your elaborations in the near future.

    Tara: Thank you so much for coming to my defense! I have been reading the comments on BFB. Many are positive while others, not so nice but that’s OK because the world was not made to agree with everything I say. I do not assume all fat activists are White but the majority are. My article was addressing a specific minority who think comparing oppressions is OK. I also did not feel the need to constantly write “some” White people, (though I did occasionally throughout the article) as I tend to cater to our already established readers (of all races) who are aware that if they’ve done nothing wrong, they need take no offense. Loved your comment, btw. ^_^

    Anonymous: No, I don’t have a problem with anonymous postings. I don’t subscribe to any movements because my thing is just a no-tolerance policy on bullshit and discrimination in all it’s forms. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned no movement is a bad thing as long as it’s cause for justice but there is always room for improvement and dialogue.

  6. Hi Becky!

    Sorry, that other bunch of comments went up before I modded yours.

    Thanks for reading. As for the example I used, I am definitely going to tweak the “medical” thing, I’m just trying to find the words. Thank you for sharing that with me, and I apologize if it caused any offense.

    With the fluctuation of weight, I used the 5/10 lbs fluctuation as an (albeit) sloppy example of how one’s appearance can change but one’s race cannot. Plus, we are all well aware that appearances and what’s “in” or “out” regarding them can fluctuate, but it is not the same for one’s race. You are what you are and you’re stuck with the historical and future implications of it.

    Lastly, Paul was kind enough to comment here (along with others) and has said he will elaborate. I look forward to reading what he has to say, and I hope you do too.

  7. Hello, Davita. I am one of the people at BFB who was most irate at your original post. (I’m the one who called you out like Beverly Sills.) Your letter takes a much more civil tenor, and I appreciate that.

    As I read your letter and see a different person, I am bamboozled as to how you were unable to see how offensive your original post might be. When you use that “tell it like it is” persona, you gotta be extra careful not to tell falsehoods, make careless statements or advance stereotypes about the very group you are trying to enlighten. Certainly you didn’t really expect to win friends?

    Actually, I gotta say, I think my rant against you shows more respect for you than some of the comments from my colleagues sitting on their clouds of privilege and waxing prosaic about how we can nevah get it, really. There’s an honesty in rage. Condescension has a stench.

    Out of respect, I beg you, before you take your thoughts on this topic any further, please rethink your whole approach and let go of the tenor in your original post. You’re lucky it’s just on a private blog with limited exposure. Your letter’s tenor is much better and that style will advance the cause further. And even as you think this through, you still have a ways to go. Let me present the following irony from your letter:

    “. . . and for a White person to tell POC what they are feeling and experiencing rather than listening to their valid concerns and acknowledging the fact they will never truly understand the stigma behind race and it’s implications is offensive, scary and yes; even sad.”

    This you say after you have admitted that you are not fat. Please tread very carefully on this topic.

  8. Davita, I really appreciate your graciousness throughout all of this. I am real uppity these days, and have a hard time playing nice sometimes. Heh.

  9. Hi Dabra-Sapp.

    Yes, I read your comments.

    My co-writer and I are 21 & 22 and have a little no-name blog. So we write with a humourous tone appropriate to our age group and our quirky personas. We’re rattling the cage but also think it’s important for people to laugh, too. We have regular readers and tailor to them, so I understand first-timers might not get that the quirk n’ sass are just parts of our personas and youthful vim n’ vigour.

    When you say my original post was offensive, I see where you’re coming from. The post has been tailored. English isn’t my first language so once in a blue moon, I mess up “translating” my thoughts.

    Also, those people aren’t waxing poetic at all. If you’re White, of course you’ll never fully understand Blackness/Asianess/Indianess, etc and in my opinion, it takes a lot of courage to admit what you can’t or will never understand.

    I don’t care for the exposure, to tell you the truth. Neither of us do. We’re happy people are reading but in the end, we just wanted a place to put our thoughts and if people want to talk we’re thrilled.

    I’ve actually been fat before due to a concussion and medical side-effects. I wrote about it on here, actually—and BOY did some people ever treat me like shit. (See: “Thin Privilege, Please Don’t Eat Me!).

    I don’t expect much and I have plenty of friends. I just want to talk about what I see and how I feel and if that bothers some people, I really don’t care. But if they want to talk about it, get off their high-horses and get educated, I’m all ears.

  10. While thinking about this whole thing today, something occurred to me. It’s something that’s pretty damn obvious, and really shouldn’t be all that much of a lightbulb over my head, but it is: I am a fat white woman in a mostly-black part of town, and when I see the reactions I get from the men and women in my area, they are responding to me as a fat white woman. I cannot interpret that as how they would treat a fat black woman, or a fat Asian woman, or a fat woman of any other color than white. My own experiences with being a fat white woman in a predominantly black neighborhood cannot be translated across color lines.

    I’m not saying this because I think I should get a pat on the back for (finally?) realizing the obvious. I’m saying it because I wanted to thank you for making me think in such a way that I learned something that I think is important.

  11. Thank you for commenting, Anonymous.

    You have very keen observations and am glad you took the time to admit what you cannot understand. I’m thrilled my post got through to you the way I intended.

    Tara: I appreciate the compliment! I’m always a polite lady first(a bitch second and a dick third). ^_~

  12. Thank you for responding, Davita! I really apreciate the updates.

    And Debra, speak for yourself, Davita’s confrontational posting style has won her a friend in me (assuming she wants my friendship, which is not a given! Not everyone ranting against oppression is looking for friends, especially not among the group they’re ranting about).

  13. Never, in the history of forever, has a populous been removed from their homes, sent to another country, whipped, maimed, or beaten to death because they were fat

    Not yet, but give them time. (Minor pedantry note: It’s “populace.”) I’d also argue that the mass coercion of fat people into a surgery that kills 2% of the people who have it within the first month, and 16% of the people who have it within 8 years, is nothing to brush aside.

    Fat hate has been escalating to a frightening degree over the last decade or so. We are no longer just being mocked for our appearance like we’ve been for a century now; we are also now blamed for global warming, escalating health care costs, the price of gas, the bankruptcy of the airlines, world hunger and starvation, children’s physical and mental health problems, the erosion of middle-aged libido, hell, even the election of Bush — you name it, it’s the fatties’ fault.

    And to top it all off, large numbers of angry young (and not so young) men take it very personally that women are fat, as if we have deliberately gained weight specifically to stick a shiv into their eyes. They SEETHE with resentment of us, and I can’t emphasize that strongly enough. Read a Craig’s List “Rants and Raves” from any city if you don’t believe me. If we don’t put a stop to it there WILL be mobs of angry villagers after us, sooner rather than later.

    I’m Jewish and I can’t help but note frightening parallels between the scapegoating of fat people and the scapegoating of Jews that took place, especially in Europe, about a century ago. Jewish people of that period were heavily pressured to change their names, join churches, do whatever they had to in order to “pass” for gentile if they possibly could. They too were blamed for their greed and selfishness and self-destructiveness and other-destructiveness, beyond all reason, and the blame game kept escalating. And I don’t need to tell you how THAT turned out. I’m very much interested in stopping the escalation before it gets out of hand. (And if anyone else reading this is going to invoke Godwin’s law about this statement, I want to know if you’re Jewish or not. If not, I really don’t want to hear it.)

    I do understand why it bothers you that FA white people would use a fat/black analogy when addressing other whites. You can’t really ever “compare” one form of hate with another, and of course black people have suffered atrocities that no other group of people has. (And I have to say that if English in fact is not your first language, I’m even more impressed with your writing talent than I was before, and I was already pretty bowled over.)

    But while I would never again, knowing what I know now, say anything akin to, “You’d never say X about a black person,” I have to admit that when I was a noob at this sort of thing, I did. Why? Because it often worked, and almost nothing else did. We’re in a very bizarre place as a social-justice movement, I think, in that more people than ever seem to be involved in it and yet there is more hate and resentment aimed at us than ever, and our civil rights appear to be eroding right before our very eyes — emigrations and adoptions being blocked solely because of weight, fat people getting fired from jobs they’ve demonstrated full competence at solely for their weight or not being allowed to participate in their employers’ health plans, children being removed from their families and involuntarily packed off to fat camps (in the UK, at least), school lunches being slashed to starvation levels of calories and fat because of panic about children’s weights, children getting flunking grades in school because of what they weigh, all these things that weren’t happening 10 or 15 years ago. How can we make people see this? How?

    Most white people seem to be able to grasp the concept that hating on black people is wrong, even if in practice they haven’t exactly weeded out all their color-aroused behaviors, so that’s often the easy shorthand that gets picked out of sheer desperation, sheer terror, sheer panic. That’s why it happens. It’s not because they think what you suffered as a black person is nothing.

    But I would like to find better shorthand, you betcha.

  14. Hey Becky,

    I always respond to my commentators, good or bad!

    And of course I’d like to be friends. I love to love! I hope you and others will keep visiting PDDP, it’s always nice when people hear your concerns and are willing to enact positive change rather than gripe and nit-pick.

    Don’t be too mad at Debra, I think her White privilege may be showing and there’s nothing I or anyone else can do about that but her.

  15. Hey, Meowser!

    Thanks a lot for commenting. However, I feel I must say that yes, I do understand where fat people are coming from but they have to stand on their own two feet when it comes to arguments. I think they are more than capable.

    THAT’S ALL. The entire point of this article was just English 101: “write your own essay”. There are plenty of wonderful arguments all over the fatosphere and in many books and scientific studies, so I really don’t see the point of borrowing from other groups.

    I would also argue that there are a lot of White people out there who don’t fully understand why you shouldn’t treat Black people or any other ethnic group badly. It’s just a motion they go through with. Not to say that’s a bad thing, but facts are always good.

    “Not yet, but give them time.” Um…you were joking, right? I sincerely hope so because that comment put the most fear and yes, shame in my heart all day.

    Will it be legal for people to take away all the rights of fat people, classify them as livestock, completely destroy their cultures, religions, and languages, move them to another country and physically abuse, maim, and murder them (for fun) for over 500 years then continue to treat them like animals for 200 more, keep killing them for fun during that time and STILL marginalize them years after that? I sincerely hope not.

    POC just got all of their rights 50/45 years ago. After over 700 years. And they were beating, maiming and killing anyone and everyone they could who even dared to think they were a human being.

    It is useless to compare struggles. I also think it’s wrong.

    I just…I didn’t find that comment enlightening or even necessary. I have a great sense of humour but…I couldn’t laugh.

    My great-great-grandmother came from an African tribe that is now nearly extinct because of the impact of slavery and colonialism. Another tribe on my island has been extinct for hundreds of years because of slavery.

    There is nothing left of them.

    Entire populations…gone from so many nations, all because of their skin colour and nothing more. Extinct. Human beings. My ancestors.

    In regards to Jewishness, my great-grandma was a Jew. She was great, raised eight kids. Her family disowned her because she married my great-grandfather who was, like my father, Biracial.

    I think the arguments for FA are good enough to stand on their own two feet and if people still choose to be bigoted against fat people after that, they can screw off.

    POC have gotten used to the fact that no matter what we say, do or try, racism will always be around. We accept it, we make do and some people still change their minds (though it would be nice if everyone did). We still fight on.

    People will always expect one to be a certain size. Some people (like me) change their mind and try to help. Others don’t. But the Fat community, I believe, can still march on.

  16. Actually, I wasn’t kidding at all. I wish I was. I wish I could see a potential limit to the escalation. I wish I was just being hyperbolic and hysterical and irrational. I hope, in fact, that I turn out to have been all of those things and that I’ll still be here in 50 years (or hell, even 30) to scoff about how ridiculous I was. But I am scared to frigging death. I can’t begin to tell you how much.

  17. When you marginalize me because I have white privilege, you lose an opportunity, IMHO. I’m sorry I had nothing to offer. I’m sorry I wasted our time.

  18. Debra, I didn’t marginalize anybody.

    But, if you’re going to dismiss a Coloured Person’s shot to try and tell you that something is wrong with how society treats race, swallow your pride, keep a cool head and just listen for a moment there’s nothing I can do.

    How did I marginalize you? All your comments are up and you seem to be displeased.

    That’s OK. I’m used to White people turning away from me when I try to talk about Black people’s problems. Not easy to hear the truth from someone who doesn’t dress it up nicely.

    I didn’t marginalize you, my dear. But your unwillingness to see that this is not a personal attack on you, but rather an attack on the ignorance that prevails in society marginalizes you.

    You can turn away. I have to look at why the margin was drawn everyday in the mirror till the day I die. And so will my children and their children.

    Thanks for participating, even though you felt it was a waste of time.

  19. Meowser, thanks for comin’ back!

    Well, most of the articles saying all these things about fat people have some very interesting things in common. One of them is…

    1.) They are almost all written by White people.

    WEEEIIIIIRRRRRD!!!!!!!!!

    Fatness isn’t marginalized even HALF as much in some non-Western countries but I do see a little progress in them…Hell, Canada doesn’t charge for extra seats on a plane (no more travel shame! It’s about time!) and they practically throw medication and health care at people here. I can’t speak for much else though but at least it’s a start…

    I find Canadians are very good at masking their distastes/dislikes and just saying it when the person is out of the room. Yup the friendliness is just them being passive-aggressive! Or…actually friendly. Maybe.

    In my home country of Jamaica, there’s fat people on the ads and the only waif-thin skinny people one sees in the media are on American ads. I saw an add with a really, really fat lady winning the lotto–money was raining down on her and it was so awesome. People walk around calling eachother “fat” and “fatty” without taking any offense whatsoever. Nobody bothers fat people much in many, many places. BUT don’t get me started on how hard it is to find a job there if you’re really Black and not brown or light-skinned there (internalized racism, thanks for the colonialism, Western world!).

    The whole world isn’t against fat people but your fear has an inch of validity as White people do hold most of the wealth, power and resources (although I doubt it’ll get 700 years ago nigger-get-on-that-boat-or-die-bad because fat people come in all races and once a boat in say, America starts filling up with a certain kind of people only, or even Coloured people only, any kind of coloured people, fat or not, I bet you people will be more up-in-arms than Holy Field after he got his ear bit off by Tyson).

  20. Is it wrong of me to think that anyone who’s felt marginalized by this post (and the ensuing conversation in the comments) should perhaps consider it an exercise in empathy?

  21. Lindsay! Hello!

    Thank you for that comment. It was beautiful and you are absolutely correct.

  22. This is probably the best rebuttal to the whole fat bigotry is just like racism argument that I’ve read. You don’t come off as trying to play the victim Olympics – you just don’t want people to usurp your experience for their cause. Which makes perfect sense to me.

    I think the reason that the whole “Fat is the last acceptable prejudice” gets used at all is because many people believe that, while there are racists still in the world, the “good”, “educated” folks aren’t and that these same folks, who would never dream of calling someone a racial slur, seem to be the first ones to indulge in fat hatred.

    It’s an interesting idea and may be true in some cases but, thinking everything over, no. There are enough things to consider about FA and fat hatred and the dangers that fat people can face without comparing it to racism. We can model our efforts on the efforts made by the leaders in the Civil Rights movement but to do more than that seems dishonest.

  23. First, of all, let me start by saying that comparing oppression is a game for 20 year olds.

    I tell my kids — who are black, Jewish, fat, named after Black Panthers, have grand parents who are gay and a transgender uncle …. that hate doesn’t matter unless it’s institutionalized or inflicted. In other words, you want to call me a fat bitch? That’s fine. You want hold back a job because I am a fat bitch (which I am) then it’s time to kick your ass.

    The truth is that each person feels their oppression in their own way. Which oppression do I choose to work most on? Race issues — because I have to. Because I know when my kids are teenagers they are three times as likely to be shot by cops than their white counterparts. That being said, fat people have an identity, are three times as likely to be turned away in the workplace, are harassed on the streets ramdomly, are beaten and teased at will in schools across America, are more likely to be ignored in doctor’s offices, go to hospitals that are ill-equipped to handle their body types, resulting in death …..

    And the issue of fatness and choice isn’t valid. If fatness were about lifestyle, Oprah would have remained skinny after liquid diet number 1.

    Now as for the fatosphere … are you shocked that you hear racist shit in most white left circles? Look at feminism and the greens movement. It’s like it’s their job to be ignorant to race issues and self righteous about it.

    Peace
    Rivka

  24. Holli:

    Thank you for your kind words and insight. You’ve gotten what I’ve been trying to say 100%.

    I like your thoughts, Holli. I like them a lot. So much so, I think I’ll paste them onto the post (if it’s OK with you).

    Thanks!

  25. Hi Rivka,

    Um, no I’m not shocked. I grew up poor in a fairly racist ghetto. My father was beat half to death by police for being biracial and I was spit on, thrown beer bottles at and called nigger by Whites when I was only eight and learning “proper” English. I lived in this place for twelve years.

    Did you read my letter to Paul at all? Did you read his response on BFB to the article?

    Did you read this post in its entirety?

    I was never comparing oppressions.

    I keep saying it over and over and over so I’m saying it again:

    The point of the post is to say 3 things:

    1.) To tell (the few) fat White people who think it is OK to compare oppressions or appropriate Coloured oppressions onto themselves that what they are doing is unfair and hurtful.

    2.) I also wanted to say to the fat community that they have EXCELLENT arguments that are more than capable of standing on their own merit so that kind of comparison or “borrowing” is unneccessary.

    3.) Lastly, I was trying to encourage FA advocates to keep fighting—not everyone is going to agree with them but those people are assholes and not worth fat people’s time anyway.

    Not everyone agrees with anti-racists either, anti-mysogynists or people advocating for gay rights, etc but that’s because some people are assholes.

    I kind of see a bit of hostility in your post so I hope I’ve cleared that up. English may not be my very first language but I really don’t see how much clearer I can get or how much more eloquently and politely I can say it.

  26. Go for it 🙂

  27. I find Canadians are very good at masking their distastes/dislikes and just saying it when the person is out of the room.

    Heh. They do that in Portland and Seattle, too! Maybe they should let us annex you up there!

    And, like I said, I hate sounding like some tinfoil-hat conspiracy nutjob, which I’m always afraid I will when I write about this stuff. But rest assured that I want more than anything to look like an irrational idiot in 50 years. 😛

  28. Davita, your editing in your new post shows a lot of growth. I’m not 100 percent satisfied, but the offense that remains is so small compared to the original that I can’t bring myself to pick at it.

    Yes, you made me angry, first in your original post and then later in your comments. I don’t like being talked about behind my back in front of my face. That’s what I meant by “marginalized.” When you told someone behind my back yet in front of my face that “I think her White privilege may be showing and there’s nothing I or anyone else can do about that but her” I felt marginalized. Do my feelings count? I think you may be able to relate, since you have had the joy of watching yourself talked about behind your back and in front of your face for a couple of days now. I, like you, can speak for myself and don’t need you to apologize on my behalf or to analyze that my “white privilege is showing.” In my opinion, speaking for myself, it wasn’t white privilege showing; it was rage. Pure rage. But now I’m not so mad. Your post is much better. And I don’t think you have compromised anything in your efforts at clarity.

    Have I grown too? Maybe. I will be reluctant to draw comparisons between black experience and fat experience. And if I see another person doing it thoughtlessly, I will say something to the person doing it. It is a risk, you know. As one poster at BFB said before the thread was shut down, one of the most agravating and prevalent aspects of racism is when blacks are excluded from a picture where they belong. I still think there are times when drawing comparisons can be done thoughtfully, with respect for the historical struggle of black people. But, like I said, I will be hyper careful.

    Here’s one that comes to mind, that I can do nothing about, but maybe you could. While I am “calling out” my fat brethren and sisterns for carelessly engaging in racism, would you consider doing the FA movement a favor, please? As a thin POC maybe you could get through to Eddie Murphy that it is never truly funny for a thin man (of any color) to dress in a fat suit and wear garish clothes and act out every fat stereotype that has ever been thought up. (I’m thinking of Norbit.) Tyler Perry also went there to a lesser degree with his character Madea in Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The fat suit to people in the size acceptance movement, evokes (here’s a dangerous comparison) the blackface of vaudeville days. Another movie in which POCs (this time brown) made fun of fat people was Nacho Libre. The fat woman had the gall to think she was sexually attractive. They played that joke to the absurd degree as she chased the skinny guy through the house, breaking through walls to get to him.

    Well, I’ve given you an assignment, it’s only fair to accept one from you. Please feel free to name a specific person you want me to address and pull into line. I’ll do what I can.

  29. Oh, and don’t get me wrong, I really only think you need to talk to Eddie Murphy. The others are just additional annoying examples. One assignment is enough.

  30. Hello again, Debra-Sapp.

    Thanks again for commenting and taking time to read the edit.

    Hahah, I’m just a girl in a whirl so I doubt I could ever, talk personally to Eddie Murphy but I will definitely post an analysis between Perry’s Madea and Murphy’s characters as yes, they are both wearing fat suits but their actions and dynamics are completely different. I will go into detail about this in a new post on Monday, so thanks for the suggestion. I hope you read it.

    I apologize if I made you feel marginalized. Perhaps that was a knee-jerk reaction on my part as we’ve had people come here in the past touting their White privilege and just wanting us to shut up and discontinue all because they didn’t like what we were saying. I’m sure as part of the FA movement, you’ve had your share of trolls as well *sigh*. It can be trying at times.

    I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment and read. I am also glad that you will make an attempt to quell this type of thing in the fatosphere should you come across it. I’m sure other Coloured people will appreciate your efforts as well.

    I see you’ve asked for something of me…I have none but thank you for the offer.

  31. Just to help you with your post, because I’ve been doing some thinking on it. While Tyler Perry at least shows respect for the character, he, nonetheless, has robbed some fat black actress of an opportunity. He is NOT the only person alive who could have understood and played the humor, pathos, rage, love and other dimensions of that character. And once he donned the fat suit he was making an additional, unwelcome statement.

    I look forward to reading your post.

  32. Oh, and while you’re on the topic of fat suits, you may wish to contemplate the “instant expert” appeal they have engendered among some who have good hearts but are insensitive. Miss Tyra can put on a fat suit for a day and immediately “gets” it. And people listen to her because she has credibility — she’s not some fatty in denial. Why don’t people just talk to fat people? Listen to fat people? Why this sudden “Fat Like Me” phenomenon? (I just drew another dangerous comparison, didn’t I? I think there isn’t a clear correlation here, because the “Fat Like Me” people only do it for a day and don’t write books about it. I don’t know how black people feel about “Black Like Me.” I read it as a sixth-grader and liked it, but I was just a kid, white at that. Maybe there is no universal opinion on the book from the black community. I would think it would be positive, but I don’t know.)

    Well, good luck with your post.

Comments are closed.

 
%d bloggers like this: