Am I overweight?
Is America a racist nation?
This does not make me a horrible person. It does not mean I don’t have other wonderful qualities. I am a complex person and defining me solely by my weight would be unfair. However, this does not mean my doctor should tell me I am not overweight.
This does not make America a horrible place. It does not mean our nation doesn’t have other wonderful qualities. A nation is a complex institution and defining it solely as racist would be unfair. However, this does not mean politicians and pundits should tell us we are not a racist nation.
That would be a lie.
That would be a lie.
I only need to step on a scale to know the truth.
We only need to look at the vast disparities between whites and people of color to know the truth.
It is not helpful for people to lie to me. It is important I see myself as I really am. It is far too easy for me to ignore, diminish or justify my present weight. In so doing, I avoid those actions and changes that would decrease my weight and make me healthier.
It is not helpful for people to lie to us. It is important we see ourselves as we really are. It is far too easy for us to ignore, diminish or justify the racism in our nation. In so doing, we avoid those actions and changes that would decrease racism and make us a healthier nation.
I have weighed more in the past. This is largely irrelevant. Claiming “I used to weigh more than I weigh right now” is another attempt to deflect attention from my present weight.
Our nation has been more racist in the past. This is largely irrelevant. Claiming “we used to be more racist than we are right now” is another attempt at deflecting attention from our present state.
If I lose a few pounds, that too does not change the reality that I am overweight. I need to lose more than a few pounds.
If we address a few instances of racism, that does not change the reality that we are a racist nation. We need to address far more than the most blatant examples of racism.
Are there others who weigh more than I do? Obviously. This too is irrelevant. This does not make my physical condition any less healthy. It does not justify me remaining overweight.
Are there nations that are worse than America? Obviously. This too is irrelevant. This does not make our nation any less racist. It does not justify us remaining a racist nation.
My weight is not going to magically go away if I ignore it.
Racism in America is not going to magically go away if we ignore it.
I must acknowledge I am overweight. As long as I convince myself that my weight is acceptable, I will not lose weight. As long as a I pretend being overweight isn’t really a problem, I will not lose weight.
We must acknowledge we are a racist nation. As long as we convince ourselves that our present level of racism is acceptable, we will not become less racist. As long as we pretend being racist isn’t really a problem, we will not change.
However, acknowledging I am overweight is only a first step..
However, acknowledging our nation is racist is only a first step.
The only way I lose weight is if I take the actions necessary to lose weight. I must begin the long and difficult commitment to become healthier. It will require work and sacrifice. I must weigh myself periodically to measure my progress. I can celebrate lost pounds, but I can’t stop until I have lost all my unnecessary weight.
The only way our nation becomes less racist is if we take the actions necessary to be less racist. We must begin the long and difficult commitment to become anti-racist. It will require work and sacrifice. We must honestly and periodically measure our progress. We can celebrate steps toward equality and equity of opportunity, but we can’t stop until we have been freed of the weight of over 400 years of systemic racism.
I must continue to do the actions that have made me healthier until they become habit.
We must continue to do the actions that have made us less racist until they become systemic.
Then and only then, will I be able to say, “I am not overweight.”
Then and only then, will we be able to say, “We are not a racist nation.