Tuesday, November 1, 2011

“Alabama Voices: ‘Just Sayin’’ Column Unfair to Overweight Children,”

  • Daufin, E-K. “Alabama Voices: ‘Just Sayin’’ Column Unfair to Overweight Children,” December 16, 2010, p. 3C.

Josh Moon’s “Just Saying” Sunday was “Just Stinking.”  Instead of writing that prejudiced, inaccurate, offensive tripe, Moon ought to shut his big obese mouth.  Moon uses the word “grossly” rather than “very” to indicate the level of heaviness for kids, giving the impression throughout the article that he thinks fat children are gross – period.  He refers to heavy kids as “pudgy” and to how they ought to be sent to “waddle” into school. 
Even the headline says, “Let’s get our obese kids active”… as if we should send them on a death march of shame.  Moon reminds me of a video I was shown as part of a nationally syndicated TV dating program.  The video of one potential suitor showed an average looking guy who said he had no problem dating plus size women because he would get in his car and “run them down to size.”  Ehhh! I passed on him and the Montgomery Advertiser ought to pass on any more of Moon’s columns.
I do agree with Moon that those who want to keep Congress from getting junk food out of school lunches are not playing with a full pack of Skittles.  However ALL kids need to be encouraged to be more active, the ones who have the kind of metabolism that allows them to eat packs of potato chips without packing on the pounds and the ones who eat a banana and blow up.  Don’t assume that skinny kids are healthy, active OR eating well.  Even as adults are forced to do more online for work and in life, all of us, fat and thin could use more physical activity as we struggle more and more to keep an offline life. 
No, weight is NOT just a simple equation of too much food and not enough exercise.  Not all fat people have terrible eating habits and not all thin people are at peace with the food pyramid. Shame on Moon for perpetuating that insulting stereotype.
Moon says when he was in school, “No one turned down that hour of basketball, football or dodge ball.”  He goes on to castigate kids who, “…spend the hour walking around the track or football field.”  He probably just didn’t notice the children who may have been more sensitive than him…the ones who didn’t like getting beat up for a ball or battered by sadistic dodge ball throwing demons.  Or perhaps he was one of the kids teasing the fat children about how they looked in gym shorts or giggled when the fleshy kids jiggled in motion.  
As a Native New Yorker, I know that most urban children don’t have safe or pleasant places in which to be physically active, especially if they don’t get a charge out of combative forms of competitive group sports.  Perhaps Moon doesn’t know the humiliation of everyone treating you like a pariah, a gorilla in a gym suit who is a convenient target to vent any misplaced hostility thinner demons may have. 
Moon’s nasty, ignorant, fataphobia only makes more people of size more ashamed and an easier target for the abominable harassment and battery to which we are already subject.  Fat children are the most likely to be teased.  Fat adults are derided constantly in the media and in the mimicking even supposedly well meaning community.  The prejudice against fat people is often called the only socially acceptable bigotry left in mainstream America, and fat females are usually treated more severely than fat males. 
Also African Americans, American Indians and Latinos are more likely to be fat than Whites and Asians.  So Moon’s little tirade was also indirectly patriarchal and White supremacist.    I’ve applied for a sabbatical from my university to work on a guide for journalists to help them more ethically and accurately cover the king and queen sized of our community.  From Moon’s condescending column, it’s clear there a big fat need for that kind of guidance for journalists here on Earth as well as on the wicked dark side of the Moon.___________________
Rev. Dr. E-K. Daufin is a professor of communication at Alabama State University and a national size equity expert.

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