Monday, May 3, 2010

Pervaisive Nature of Prejudice

A report was published today informing us that over weight kids are more likely to be bullied in school than other kids - 63% more likely to be exact. In the report, 45 percent of the 821 mothers, from ten sites around the U.S., reported that their school age child had been the victim of bullying. How well the child did in school or other areas did not seem to affect the risk factor of being over weight.

The study author Dr. Julie Lumeng, an assistant research scientist reported that one of the reasons she believes the findings were so consistent is that prejudice against overweight or obese people is "so pervasive that it's acceptable." But, she added, "Obesity is really complex. It's not all about willpower. It's a brain-based disorder, and I hope that message becomes clearer." The full study completed by Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be published in the June 2010 Journal of Pediatric Medicine.

I am not surprised by the report but I am saddened. Fifty percent of American children are over weight or obese and it is somehow acceptable to discriminate against someone because of their weight. Since when is it okay to disciminate against anyone???? Kids learn this kind of behavior from their parents. What are we saying to make our children believe that it's okay to judge another kid by their weight? Skin color? gender? Religion? Really, what are we teaching our children about grace and love?

I wear my short comings on my rear end, chest and thighs. My weakness is easy to see and speculate about, but the fact of the matter is that everyone falls short of perfection. If a child is taught to be so critical of another child because of their weight, how will they deal with their own short comings? Will they internalize it and strive to appear perfect?

I was recently asked if I am an Angry Fat Person (AFP). It was a term I hadn't heard before that particular conversation. I don't think that I am. (although articles like the one referenced above can get me pretty volatile) If anything, I would say that I am a saddened fat person; perhaps just emotionally tired. I often feel like I am not included in events or wanted in many social situations because of how I look. I often tell myself that it's more likely that I not included because I am kind of a jerk but truth be told, I'm not a jerk. I WAS a much bigger jerk when I was thin ..... and I definitely judged someone for being fat when I was thin ...... and felt justified in my judgement because THEIR appearance repulsed me. Wow. That's certainly a harsh reality.

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