Jonathan McCormick, Campus Reform
A New Jersey professor suggested on a TV program that racism and President Donald Trump’s policies are responsible for black female obesity.
Rutgers University women’s and gender studies professor Brittney Cooper made the argument during an appearance on “Black Women OWN the Conversation” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
“I hate when people talk about Black women being obese. I hate it, because it becomes a way to blame us for a set of conditions that we didn’t create.” – @ProfessorCrunk.
— Black Women OWN the Conversation (@BlackWomenOWN) September 16, 2019
“I hate when people talk about Black women being obese,” Cooper said on the program. “I hate it because it becomes a way to blame us for a set of conditions that we didn’t create.”
“We are living in the Trump era,” the professor said. “And look, those policies kill our people. You can’t get access to good health care, good insurance.”
Cooper said that research points to black women losing less weight and at a slower rate than do white women, claiming that public health practitioners tie increased stress to a change in metabolism.
“It’s literally that the racism that you’re experiencing and the struggle to make ends meet actually means the diet don’t [sic] work for you the same,” she adds.
Campus Reform followed up with Cooper about her appearance on the show and the professor suggested there was a scholarly basis for her remarks.
“I wasn’t making an argument about Trump admin policies and weight,” the professor said. “Dr. Arline Geronimus’ research from the 1990s argues pretty convincingly that black women have physiological stress responses to racial stimuli and this affects our long term health. I was citing this body of work and the president’s status as a racially polarizing figure that contributes to issues of racial stress for people of color.”
Campus Reform asked Cooper how she promotes her values in her professional life.
“What I hope my students learn in my classroom is how to be good scholars, critically informed thinkers able to come to well-researched and accurate conclusions, and discerning evaluators of what are credible versus less credible news sources.”
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