Recently, a very prominent website published an article on why Asians tend to be thinner than what I can only presume to be Caucasians (as the writer is Caucasian). It’s not the first article on this topic and it won’t be the last (there is, after all, an entire field of study on comparing cultural behaviours and “health”. Whether this is a worthwhile field or not, I have yet to decide), but the treatment of the material was so completely out-to-lunch racist, that I could not fight posting about it.
The colonial narrative is healthy and strong, even in the fitness world. Other cultures become exoticized and romanticized as though they are not really part of the world of the writer. It’s both disappointing and amusing to read until you realize that the entire premise of such stories is to separate, perpetuating a ‘them vs us’ mentality, particularly when based on a thoroughly inadequate experience of what it means to be of another culture (This petition was created in response to a newspaper article on Filipino cuisine as experienced by a naive Caucasian traveller). It results in the inappropriate homogenization of many cultures under a single, reduced label. This essentially invalidates the richness of what it means to experience any one of those cultures expressed in a myriad of combinations.
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