Obese Child

When I was a child, I loved the Disney movie Dumbo. I particularly loved the singing, jiving crows. Unbeknownst to my immature mind, the creators of this 1941 film were making fun of my culture, exploiting deeply rooted stereotypes for shits and giggles. But a new study out Rutgers University suggests that American racism is a unique contributor to the health outcomes among minority children.

According to experimental social psychologist Luis Rivera, ethnic stereotypes may contribute directly to some minority children’s ability to cultivate healthy self-esteem:

“When you are exposed to negative stereotypes, you may gravitate more toward unhealthy foods as opposed to healthy foods,” explains Rivera, whose study appears in this summer’s edition of the Journal of Social Issues. “You may have a less positive attitude toward watching your carbs or cutting back on fast food, and toward working out and exercising.”

Just as I passively accepted and laughed at the Dumbo’s crows, this generation’s children tend to agree with the negative stereotypes of their culture, irrespective of socioeconomic status. And tragically, the study found that Latinos who strongly self-stereotyped were more than three times as likely to be overweight or obese as those who did not.

Maybe it’s time to deal squarely with the health issue that is racism in America. Health disparities between whites and minorities begin early in life, as this study asserts. Rivera suggests that parents, caretakers, and teachers can have a positive impact in these children’s lives by “remind[ing] [children] what they’re good at, it works to immunize them from the effect of stereotypes.”

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One Comment

  1. IF that was the case, there wouldnt be so many fat white americans.. It would mean that they are fat because of RACIST stereotypes.. how about everyone is responsible for their weight no matter WHO they are.. quit trying to blame everything on racism.. again, the reason why everyone laughs at the black community.. quit coming out with these “surveys” and studies that make us look bad… I will be damned if i put my plight on another.. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and be the change you want..