I want to say first of all that I have had to disable anonymous comments, because allowing anonymous comments meant also allow an amazing amount of spam. So to leave comments, please sign in (I believe you can also sign in as a guest, though not too sure about that one!).
Ok now we have heard about the latest 'negative' focus on black women and their lives and this time from Kaiser foundation and the survey they have done about black women and their body image. I am glad to see the healthy and diverse debate across the black female advocacy-blogsphere. Some say black women should not have to be focussed on, just like bacteria in a petri dish and this has a lot of truth to it. Others say black women should heed the wake up call and also black women cannot avoid 'media gawking' because they tend to as a demographic, trace out an existence that is just atypical even bizarre to the rest of society. I can also agree with these points.
Some have also countered the secondary argument that arose due to the debate on the Kaiser study (google Kaiser, black women, self-eseteem for more on the study) of black female body atitudes -the secondary argument that it is about time that black women quit being 'happy with fatty'- by insisting that black women who made such remarks are wrong for denying black women their self esteem and the strength that they have shown in and despite their situation. They see black women having a positive self-image even though obese as a good thing.
I want to point out also that black women tend to, for their view points, be entrenched in the liberal position on most things. I can detect the subtext in the ensuing debate, of the liberal canard that people deserve to be who they are and who they want to be without judgement or criticism. Thus black women should not be picked on because of who or what they are. The trouble with this perspective is that it freezes black women in the frame they are currently in and locks out space for any transformation. Are we saying that, (replacing the words people with black women of the liberal position above) black women deserve to be (obese, unhealthy eaters, in denial about the realities of obesity and health) without judgement or criticism.
I also want to suggest that what we deem as healthy self esteem might not necessarily be such. Self esteem also requires an acknowledgement or a 'tie' with reality to be authentic in my view not a dismissing of the end point of a particular course. It is a bit problematic for black women to be happy and comfortable in a situation that is dangerous and damaging and points to something different from 'healthy self-esteem' in my view (possibly an unhealthy high self-esteem might describe the situation!).
Beware of judging black women's self esteem by the same indicators as those used to judge that of women who are not black. It seems it is now necessary to come up with a different range of indicators to test out this supposed high self-esteem among black women.
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