Your Blackness Ain't Like Mine

"He's reading the Times...does he think I'm fat now?"

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displays a bit more productive and beneficial to the community-at-large. Instead of speaking out on the dating woes of Black women or why we can’t just lose that last 115 extra pounds, why not talk about the systematic challenges that make it difficult for Black women to access health care—a huge factor in our obesity crisis—or how to combat our lack of easy access to healthy options in the “food deserts” many of us call home? What about depression? Where is the talk of depression?!?

Where’s my critical beatdown from a race scholar --“Why White People Are Racist”? The Times don’t wanna go there? Where’s “Why Black People Can’t Find Jobs?” Where’s “How the Prison Industrial Complex—and Not Bad Attitudes and Over-Achieving—Keeps Black Women Single?” I won’t hold my breath, as I am sure “Why Black Women Are Sassy,” “Why Black Men Are Violent” and “Why Black Rappers Are From Brooklyn” will emerge sooner than anything I could deem worth the Times’ time. The Inherent Deficiency Industry is just making way too much money to change the game. Hey, maybe our next romantic comedy hit will be Why Black Women Are Fat or Think Like a Fat Woman, Act Like a Thin One and we can get the two White guys who wrote Friends with Benefits to do the screenplay and take Hollywood by storm once again! 

Meanwhile, we writers have to stop holding up our unique experiences as the truth for all Black people and we certainly need to chill on doing that for ‘mainstream’ media outlets. Alice Randall’s husband wants her to stay chunky, but what about Alice Wallace of St. Louis who feels like her weight has kept her single for years? Or Alice Jenkins of Tampa who can’t gain an extra pound to save her life? Or Alice Russell of Boston who has never had an issue with weight one way or another? Did they just get kicked out of Blackness? No fair, Alice Randall, no fair. 

We certainly have some specific shared struggles (and sparkles!) as Black people in America, but not all of them look or feel the same. Thus, trying to diagnose or discuss all Black women or men or children as a whole does little more than simply forcing us in a box that is just too small for all of us to fit. Especially the sisters.

Because, you know, we’re all fat. 

Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. She tweets: @jamilahlemieux