Black Women Want to Be Fat? I'm Confused


In an op-ed for the New York Times, Erika Nicole Kendall, creator of the A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss blog, explains why she was so perplexed by a piece declaring that African-American women enjoy being overweight.


Alice Randall's recent op-ed confused me. I couldn't quite tell if the estimated 4 percent of the population that is black, female and overweight is to blame for the fact that money goes to obesity treatment instead of education. I couldn't figure out why she thought she should worry about her husband leaving her if her weight dropped to less than 200 pounds, instead of worrying about her entire family leaving her for making them eat a dinner of "sliced cucumbers, salsa, spinach and scrambled egg whites with onions." …

And I really couldn't figure out why it's the "fat" black female body that is considered a political casualty of war against the "fit black slave," instead of, say, women that serve in positions that seem to be carryovers from slavery, like nannies or cleaning ladies, or even women who play those roles on film.

But, most important, I couldn't figure out why these were the reasons black women "wanted" to be fat. It wasn't because "I feel comfortable at 200 pounds." It wasn't, to quote a Destiny’s Child song, "When I whip with my hips you slip into a trance." It wasn't even "I'm just happy here, and I've never really given it a second thought." It was "My husband will leave me if I thin out," and "I'm railing against the man!" Once again, black women are expected to make decisions to change, benefit and satisfy everyone but themselves.

Read Erika Nicole Kendall's entire piece at the New York Times.

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