Erika Nicole Kendall: Black Women Want to Be Overweight? I’m Confused

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Erika Nicole Kendall speaks to Alice Randall’s recent piece in which Randall argues that African American women are choosing to be fat.   She says that there are multiple perceptions of black female identity, and that Randall’s viewpoint is just one of them.


Alice Randall’s recent op-ed confused me. I couldn’t quite tell if the estimated 4 percent of the population that is black, female and overweight is to blame for the fact that money goes to obesity treatment instead of education. I couldn’t figure out why she thought she should worry about her husband leaving her if her weight dropped to less than 200 pounds, instead of worrying about her entire family leaving her for making them eat a dinner of “sliced cucumbers, salsa, spinach and scrambled egg whites with onions.”

Once again, black women are expected to make decisions to change, benefit and satisfy everyone but themselves.

And I really couldn’t figure out why it’s the “fat” black female body that is considered a political casualty of war against the “fit black slave,” instead of, say, women that serve in positions that seem to be carryovers from slavery, like nannies or cleaning ladies, or even women who play those roles on film.

But, most important, I couldn’t figure out why these were the reasons black women “wanted” to be fat. It wasn’t because “I feel comfortable at 200 pounds.” It wasn’t, to quote a Destiny’s Child song, “When I whip with my hips you slip into a trance.” It wasn’t even “I’m just happy here, and I’ve never really given it a second thought.” It was “My husband will leave me if I thin out,” and “I’m railing against the man!” Once again, black women are expected to make decisions to change, benefit and satisfy everyone but themselves.





5 Comment

  1. LOL.OK I SEE WHY THERE IS NO COMMENTS ON THIS VERY STUPID AND SILLY ARTICLE..Many of us walk in this world as seeing people..not blind , there are many, many , many, over wieght women in this world of all nationalities..lets get off the sisters..As a young black woman that was thin, when when i married, my husband although liked the fact that i was silm..when we met… but could not wait to see me pregnant and thickin up in the breast and the hips i can still see his mouth watering..our black men have always liked us a little thick in the hips and healthly..we are not the white race our bodies are buillt to carry more wieght..black women are not tryng to be wafer thin..its not cute or attractive..we do dont buy into that bull the magazines are trying to sell us..i see white women that would cheat, rob, and steal for my body and still would not come close to being on my level…no its never good to be obeast..but honey.no one wants a bone but a dog..sistas if you feel your wieght is a problem do something about it but dont you ever let these folks tell you not to love yourself and conform to thier standards always remember they want to look and be like us..

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