To give pain is the tyranny; to make happy, the true empire of beauty.
- Richard Steele, English Essayist and Playwright (1672-1729)
A new study conducted by James White of Cardiff University and Russell Jago of The University of Bristol, found that black teenagers between the ages of 10-14 were not positively affected by physical activity as much as white teenagers. The study was done for the National Institute of Health who followed 1,148 girls of African-American and Caucasian descent from the time they were 10 years old, checking their height and weight again when they were twelve, and then again at fourteen. The study revealed that by the time the girls reached fourteen years old, 16% of the black girls were obese as opposed to just 5% of the white girls.The study also showed that the physical activity of both groups of girls did not vary much. Considering that both groups ate similarly, this study proves that black women are built differently than other race women and would have to apply different measures to their health.
I have to tread very carefully commenting on this one, but first I should say that I can speak about obesity as someone who’s been there. At my heaviest, I was 250 pounds on a 6’2″ frame, which makes for a body mass index (BMI) of 32.1, above the BMI obesity threshold of 30. Thankfully, I’m getting myself down near a target weight of 194 which would put me in the normal weight range again, but I have stuggled with weight myself, so I can sympathize with others who also struggle.
It seems dangerous to even suggest any differences exist between the races for risk of someone getting offended. As a nation, we’ve been so concerned with promoting equality in America that we often lied to ourselves and tried to believe there were no discernable differences between the races in any way.
In 1988, the twelve-year television career of sportscaster and oddsmaker Jimmy the Greek came to an end in a single interview when he got fired for telling the truth in attributing at least some of the dominance of blacks in athletics to slave owners buying and breeding the bigest blacks to make for an even stronger upcoming generation of slave labor. He could have gone even further by saying it started even further back in their homeland of Africa, when the slave traders would pick only the strongest to be captured and shipped over and then from that group, only the strongest of the strong survived the brutal journey across the ocean, rowing in the disease-ridden galley of the slave ships. It’s a fact that’s horrific and distasteful to even contemplate, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
A 1991 poll indicated that half of the respondents agreed with the belief that “blacks have more natural physical ability.” It begs the question – what planet are the other half living on? Have these people ever seen a track and field event either on a national level or at the olympics? Have they ever seen how the typical NBA game has five black starters on one side and five on the other with maybe one or two white guys coming in off the bench?
There are real physical differences between the races, why do people feel compelled to deny that? African-Americans are more likely than whites to suffer from kidney disease, stroke, premature birth labor, high blood pressure and diabeties. On the positive side however, with the exception of Asians, blacks are less likely than all the other races to have substance abuse problems.
Whites are about twice as likely to have multiple sclerosis and much more prone to developing cystic fibrosis.
When the white man brought his firewater to the New World, Native Americans didn’t have the two millennia that Europeans had to develop the genetic mutation which allowed the Europeans’ bodies to break down the alcohol, the result being that “Indians” get a lot more hammered off the liquor than the white man does.
And returning to the subject of black women and obesity, I think most of us have noticed a bit more prevalence of it among the black women we’ve encountered in our lives than the white women. I used to think maybe it was because so many black women go for those bureaucratic jobs with the government and those call center jobs which keep them seated behind a desk all day, but this study points to it being something more physiological than anything that can be attributed to lifestyle choices. It seems black women just have a harder time keeping their weight down than all those evil skinny little white bitches. LOL.
So it must have sucked being a big black girl growing up a few decades back and all around you, all the magazine covers and billboards you saw were filled with the smiling faces of skinny white chicks. And while that probably sucked for the black girls, perhaps it was even worse for the white girls considering the fact that I’ve probably met over a hundred anorexic and bulimic white girls in my life, but if I’ve ever met an anorexic or bulemic black girl, I never knew about it. (An article from The American Journal of Psychiatry seems to confirm anorexia and bulimia as an almost exclusively white phenomenon.)
The fact is, big can be just as beautiful as skinny, and while some prefer one or the other, I love them both. I think it’s a healthy thing for the country as a whole that where once all the models were white and emaciated, now we also have a lot of beautiful brown and black and curvaceous women like Beyonce and J-Lo and Jennifer Hudson to show the world a different kind of beautiful. (Don’t get too crazy on that Weight Watchers, okay Ms. Hudson?) So there’s big and beautiful, but there’s also even bigger and unhealthy.
So I offer up a little prayer here for the black ladies of America, that they may realize that they just have to work a little harder than some of the white ladies do to get themselves to a healthier weight. I say a prayer that they can make peace with the fact that God gives some of us a little more predisposition to one thing and a little less to the other and that this is how He made most of you black ladies.
I hope and pray you listen to Michelle Obama and exercise a little bit more and eat a little bit more healthy and thereby avoid diabeties and all the other complications that arise from being overweight.
You don’t have to try to be some twiggy, bony little thing now, Michelle and I just want y’all to be healthy, okay? *