News & Analysis of Economic, Racial, Gender Justice and More

Obesity we are told, is the scourge of health, linked to a large number of debilitating diseases including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer and more. For women especially obesity comes with societal judgments rooted in notions of impossible skinniness.

A new book examines how our attitudes toward obesity and fatness have been shaped by historical biases rooted in race and racism. In Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia, author Sabrina Strings writes, “racial discourse was deployed by elite Europeans and white Americans to create social distinctions between themselves and so-called greedy and fat racial Others.”

Sabrina Strings, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Her new book is called Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia.

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