By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses
I was just watching the women of the ABC show “The View” and the topic that caught my interest was a statement that the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, made in response to a fellow republican talking about his weight.
According to nydailynews.com,
“Former White House physician Connie Mariano told CNN that she’s worried Christie may die in office if he’s elected president.”
Christie, in short, told her to “shut up”.
Some of the most negative feedback that I have gotten as a commentator and blogger has been in response to posts that I have written that discuss weight issues and how we can not continue to pretend that being overweight is an issue that needs direct and immediate confrontation.
Do black people have a choice about being Black? Of course, not! Do Gay people have a choice about being gay? I am inclined to say no, but I recognize that there are arguments supporting a conclusion that says, yes, they have a choice. Do fat people have a choice? Again, I am inclined to say yes, and again acknowledge that there are those who argue that obesity is a disease and those that suffer from it have no choice.
I think what we need to do, first of all, is stop lumping all these groups together. Yes, all these groups of people share a common experience-they tend to be discriminated against. That being said, as a Black person, I can not hide being Black and I generally don’t have a choice about whether or not I choose to disclose my race; a gay person has the choice to disclose their lifestyle. Also, I can NOT stop being Black (nor do I want to). I argue that an overweight person does have the choice of taking some course of action that will eventually change their circumstance and I would also argue that an overweight person typically wants to be at a healthy weight.
No matter how many people get mad and throw mud in my face and toss rocks my way, I stand by what I say in relation to weight issues-you can not change what you don’t acknowledge. I would be a poor excuse for a life coach and educator if I encouraged this passive approach that a lot of people seem tot be comfortable with. Overweight people are discriminated against, but the difference between them and a Black person is that they CAN change the group they belong to-they have a choice.
Did the physician, Connie Mariano, have the right to speak about Christie’s weight? I would say that she made some very valid points and even if Gov. Christie tells her to “shut up”, the points that she made still stand. She is a physician and not only that, she is a physician who has experience with treating and maintaining the health of the President.
When President Obama decided to run for President, he decided to quit smoking because he understood that it would become a major issue when he was President. If Mr. Christie has his eye on the White House, his weight will be an issue and if his only response to it is “shut up”, he will probably end up saying that a lot!
Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter