Black Women: Fat Because We Want to Be

Alice Randall: 80% of black women 'seriously overweight'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2012 2:20 PM CDT
A classic shot of blues singer Bessie Smith, photographed by Carl Van Vechten.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Most Americans need discipline in order to battle today's obesity epidemic—but in black America, "what we need is a body-culture revolution," writes Alice Randall in the New York Times. Even experts "don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be." This goes way back, from the Lucille Clifton poem "Homage to My Hips" (which starts, "These hips are big hips") to fatness as a form of political resistance to "the fit black slave."

"How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one," writes Randall, whose own husband worries when she starts losing weight. But with obesity estimated to cost the US $1 trillion by 2030, "we have to change." Now she walks eight miles a week and eats Greek yogurt with six almonds for breakfast. "I may never get small doing all of this. But I have made it much harder for the next generation, including my 24-year-old daughter, to get large." Click for the full article.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |