Obesity is the new minority
By Paul Moomjean 05/16/2013
Over the years, there have been numerous groups that have been OK to make fun of, stereotype or discriminate against. African-Americans, the LGBT community, Chicano groups, even those associated with religious affiliations such as Christians, Muslims and Jews have been teased, mocked, spat on and discriminated against by large chunks of society. During particular eras of time, these groups have been treated horribly with no consequence. In the 1960s, people could say horrific things to a black co-worker without being fired or sued. Today that same person would be fired for such slurs. We don’t tolerate gay bashing on TV today, and if you associate Muslims with terrorism, you are labeled an “Islamophobe” immediately. While there has been much progressive reform in discrimination with numerous groups, today we have a new “everything goes” group to make fun of: fat or obese people. Of all groups to make fun of, fat people are today’s new “minority of the month,” and the proof is in the pudding (pun not intended) with the recent news of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his recent lap band surgery. He wants to be president, and he knows there are about 150 reasons many won’t vote for him.
Personally, I feel Christie would be the best man in the world to run America right now. He’s a hard-line conservative on the fiscal issues and moderate on many social issues. He’s a guy’s guy. When the movie of his life is made, Kevin “The King of Queens” James will win the Emmy or Oscar playing him because it would be such a colorful role to play. He’s passionate, forceful, intelligent and yet clinically obese. Many recent commentators have said his recent lap band surgery is proof he wants to be president. Christie says it goes deeper.
“For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them,” Christie told reporters once the news broke.
The truth is, Christie knows his weight would be an issue. And the data proves it. In 2010, Daily Mail reported Slimming World found, in a poll of 200 bosses, that a quarter of men said they would turn down a candidate purely on his or her weight, and one in 10 admitted to having already done so.
“It’s unfortunate that only 16 percent of people who are obese feel supported by their work colleagues in their efforts to lose weight, and disappointing that one in four say they have suffered negative comments about their weight while at work,” said Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research.
But why wouldn’t people feel free to make fun of fat people or comment on a person’s weight? With shows like The Biggest Loser, fat people are made to feel as if their obesity defines them, and that if they become thin they will then be better people and more inviting to love and acceptance. Go watch an Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy or Disney movie and count the fat jokes. Granted, many fat actors play it up, but it isn’t right. And when actors wear fat suits for laughs, it’s the new “black face,” in my opinion.
With 2016 around the corner, Christie is doing everything in his power to improve his chances. Currently, his approval ratings in New Jersey are hovering around 70 percent and he’s become the poster child for bipartisan reform, but he knows that people still won’t vote for him until he’s “normal,” or aka “thin.”
Heavy people deal with discrimination in social and profession environments all the time. Many do not desire to be overweight, but there are numerous reasons for their weight. Genetics, biology, working conditions, health education and income are among numerous factors. Being heavy reveals nothing about a person’s heart, intelligence or ability. Every time you judge a heavy person, you are essentially doing what you know would be wrong if you applied the same conclusions to another group of people.
Over the past 200 years, America has progressed in accepting different groups, and here is to the hoping that the size of the man will soon not trump the soul of the man.