On yesterday’s post, this comment was left:
Okay… so this was right on time for me. I was recently approached with the comment that my exercise regimen and eating habits were a form of assimilation as well. It was really disturbing because I am seriously striving for a healthier life. To have my ‘blackness’ questioned because I’d rather have a salad than some Popeye’s (and yes… that was the exact situation) hurt. I guess veggies and the stair master make me ‘Euro-centric’ but whateves…
“…my exercise regimen and eating habits were a form of assimilation as well.”
So… let’s follow the logic trail right now.
If Black people eating healthily and exercising are meant to be forms of assimilation…
…then that means that healthy eating and exercise are the realm of white America…
…but if almost 70% of Americans are overweight…
…and Blacks in this country only make up approximately 12.5% of the entire population…
…even if every single Black person in this country was overweight, there would still be – at least – another 55% of overweight people to account for in that tally.
Let’s follow the logic trail in another direction.
If healthy eating and exercise are “white people activities,” then there’s a question that must be asked, here:
What are “Black people activities?” The exact opposite?
So… if exercising and eating healthily is “being white,” is it considered “being Black” to not exercise and eat poorly? It’s “accepted Black practice” to develop the accompanying illnesses and problems that come with both? The heart disease, the diabetes, the high blood pressure, the strokes? It’s “being Black” to have mismanaged your health so poorly that you’re on medications the rest of your life? “We” don’t want to claim healthier and more active lifestyles as our own… “we” want to claim the harmful and dangerous and inherently unhealthy habits for “Blackness.”
Don’t get sucked into this stupidity. It is never ever going to be a legitimate way to “question” someone’s Blackness. Don’t ever feel less than what you were born because someone else feels threatened by your desire for change.
I hate to use this cliche, but… from Urban Dictionary:
A syndrome where a group of like situated people hurt those in their community attempting to get ahead.
Often this is applied to people in an impoverished community where one person is starting to get ahead. The collective community becomes jealous or filled with a sense of self-loathing, so they find a way to pull that person back down to the community’s level.
When harvesting crab, the crab as a group will pull down any crab that starts to climb out of the barrel in an attempt to be the first out of the barrel that holds them in, hence crabs-in-a-barrel. [source]
So… try to climb out of the barrel if you want… just be prepared for someone to – eventually – come nipping at your heels, questioning your Blackness, telling you you’ll look less like a woman if you tone up, challenging your strength as a Black woman if you see a therapist for your emotional eating, telling you your hair looks a mess so stop all that working out and just overall doing whatever they can to watch you fall back in the barrel with the rest. Misery loves company. That’s how its always been and how it will always be… and while you may not be able to rid yourself of it, you may certainly be able to learn how to spot it for what it is and smile because it means you’re doing something right.
But really – am I missing something, here? Is there something out there in that great big world beyond my laptop that serves as proof that exercising and healthier eating is “whites only?” Because, I’m sayin’… I can remember a time when that kind of mentality was considered unacceptable among us…