In the five months I’ve been blogging for The Root, I’ve already heard from a handful of women who’ve lost 100 pounds or more, and a few of them are African American.
I bring up ethnicity because of the 80-percent-overweight thing, even though it appears people of all colors are stalking me via this blog. (Just kidding. I’ve only identified a few stalkers, and you know who you are!)
Seriously, I’ve pretty much stumbled into women of color who’ve lost significant amounts of weight through changed eating habits and exercise, but if you believe everything you read – and as a longtime journalist, that’s just never gonna happen – you’d think that there was something genetically, clinically, physically, historically, mentally wrong with black women, especially.
Conspiracy? Nothing more than usual. Americans come in a rainbow of colors, but you wouldn’t know it if you let blockbuster movies be your guide. Or network (not cable) shows. Think evening news anchors. Primetime shows. Late-night hosts. There’s evidence, though, that reality is catching up to so-called mainstream media. Viewership of the Big Three’s newscasts and late-night entertainment is steadily declining. Even no-black-princess-until-the-21st-century Disney is taking on water. At least J.K. Rowling was worldly enough to include people of color throughout her Harry Potter books, and Warner Bros. was smart enough to keep it that way in the movie versions.
So why is perception so far behind reality? And what does this have to do with weight loss?
My point is this: A lot of women of color have lost 100 pounds or more, but you never hear about them because the top-level decision makers in the so-called “mainstream” media are look-alike, think-alike automatons completely out of touch with real people like us, who are steadily blogging, friending and tweeting circles around them to get what we want.
Seriously, when’s the last time you bought a magazine?
I was profoundly irked by a magazine rack while shopping with my daughter Monday. I was at my branch office (Barnes & Noble), sipping a mocha and looking for something interesting to read. Every single magazine cover in the health and wellness section featured a white woman. Every. Single. One.
There’s an old adage: In the absence of fact, perception becomes reality.
Folks, I refuse to play a part in our perceived self-destruction by presenting more profiles of women of color who’ve lost a great deal of weight – sometimes 100 pounds or more – a couple of times a month, if not more. I’ve met a few, but if you know of someone, point them my way.
Onward and upward.
It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
~ Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.