Not The Same As…

Someone recently wrote:

Saying “I don’t date fat people” is the thing same as saying “I don’t date black people”.

No. No. No. And just no.

First let me state the following is how it looks from MY experiences, others may be similar, but mileage will vary. Every person has a right to date, or not date, within her/his own racial preferences. This is not about that. This is about the apple/oranges comparing/pitting one set of struggles against another. This is about how as a fat woman of color deep in the midst of both struggles, being able to say how and why they are not the same and how it affects me.

For most of history, if you dated/married fat, it was mostly just a descriptive. Yes, being fat has always had its own stereotypes, but until semi-recent times these were based more on the physical aspects of being fat, than on the intellectual or psychological state of the fat person. A simpleminded person was deemed so because of his or her behavior, regardless of size. Nowadays some will determine a person’s intelligence, or presumed lack thereof, solely based on the person being corpulent. It is as insidious as incorrect as the presumption that all overweight people are unhealthy based solely on their appearance. And all of this is regardless of race.

So let’s not ignore the elephant in the room from where a lot of this black/white nonsense springs. Regardless of corpulence, historically here in America, it was not droves of fat white people shipped over to pick cotton, tobacco etc. With our history, white dating color, but black in particular has always been fraught with issues. Some of these issues still persist, on both sides, to this day.

A few years ago, a white guy expressed his understanding of why blacks would want to date/marry white because it is “stepping up”. Conversely implying that we [blacks]-were somehow *lesser than* and should be grateful. He was not grateful for my response.

  • Is saying “I don’t date fat people” the thing same as saying “I don’t date blondes”? No, because a fat person can become blonde.
  • Is saying “I don’t date fat people” the thing same as saying “I don’t date people who wear glasses”? No, because a fat person can get contacts.
  • Is saying “I don’t date fat people” the thing same as saying “I don’t date (insert religion) or people with piercings”? No, because again these are things that can be (granted, not easily) changed, should a person so choose to make that change.

Let’s try saying “I’ll drink Cherry Kool Aid” but “I won’t drink water”. One maybe be somewhat malleable to change, the other is not. As a fat black woman I can, to a certain extent, change my flavor (my weight, my hair color, my hair, and as a person of a certain level of melanin, to some degree my complexion – my l Kool-Aid if you will). However, whether I am a glass or a pitcher, none of that changes the fact that no matter what flavors I choose, at the core I am still Black (water).

When I read someone does not want to date black people, it is a dismissal not just of the outer layer of our physical being; it also dismisses the core of who we are as a culture and as individuals. I don’t mean just the blacks the follow the Hip-Hop/Urban/R&B culture. I know blacks born and raised here in New York City who would recognize the music of Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser of the “Two Cellos”, but if shown pictures would have to guess the difference between T-Pain and Li’l Wayne. Neither of which would matter; to those who would not date them, simply because they are black and therefore will be immediately dismissed. Regardless of where we as blacks are on the socio/ economic/class line, it diminishes our individual experiences, our hearts, our souls, our humanity on top of what makes us black, what makes us – us.

So yes saying “I don’t date fat people” is the thing same as saying “I don’t date black people” is flippant, dismissive and frankly out right insulting.

“I may date a different race or color, it doesn’t mean I don’t like my strong black brother”
“Before you can read me, you have to learn how to see me”
/En Vogue – Free Your Mind


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