“Curvy. Thick. Brick house. Bootylicious. Voluptuous. Phat. These are some of the words commonly used to describe black women’s bodies, but rarely do we hear about black folks’ complicated relationship with food.”
These are the words of Clutch’s talented editor Britini Danielle, who posted a video from the thought-provoking Black Folks Don’t … series. This particular episode tackles the taboo issue of black folks and eating disorders.
Self-medicating with food is definitely an issue in all communities, especially in a society that subsidizes all the cheap, tasty salt-fat-sugar combinations, but — and there is a large “but” (no pun intended) — we are hearing the same discourse concerning eating disorders that perpetuates the myth of the weak woman that falls victim to a ever-encroaching white standard of beauty. (In the piece, apparently, the term “African-American” was an euphemism for black girls, as not one man admitted or was featured as suffering or recovering from an eating disorder.)
As we continue to exclude the myriad of differences and experiences in each eating disorder case for a more easily digested model, the roots of the problem will stay simplistic — “oh, I hung out with white people too much,” or my favorite, “we eat too much soul food.” This allows our cultural dialogue to be reactive instead of proactive.
No one broaches the subject of black psychology from a non-scientific or scholarly standpoint. Most black folks who will watch this type of video have already heard or read about W.E.B. DuBois’ groundbreaking theory of double consciousness, but when are we going to ask if our minds are inherently programmed for destructive, suicidal behavior? For heaven’s sake, we live under the constant, imminent threat of nuclear war: this proves without a shadow of a doubt humans are intrinsically psychotic on some level.
Additionally, as long as black folks dismiss that the importation of cheap, legal consumerist ideologies in the form of fast-food diners and bargain-based material depots bludgeons the fabric of black culture and communities, regardless of class or rural area or cityscape, we will continue to witness the disappearance of effective methods to stop the institutional assaults on our collective body.
Well, enough of my rant. Take a look at the video and tell us what you think.