Why Racism Matters to my Work
Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. I hope you’re all doing well.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you would have seen that from 6/1-6/7, I muted my own content to support #amplifymelanatedvoices, and shared resources and posts from BIPOC. A huge thank you to the wonderful individuals who created this challenge, as well as reflection opportunities on their Instagrams: Alishia McCullough (@blackandembodied), and Jessica Wilson (@jessicawilson.msrd). I was able to take time to listen, learn, un-learn, and reflect.
However the continued education and listening cannot end there and I find it very important to acknowledge that my work as an anti-diet and Health at Every Size (HAES) Registered Dietitian cannot and will not be adequate until all bodies feel represented, understood, liberated, cared for, and safe in our society. So I wanted to take this opportunity in today’s blog to better explain this concept of HAES and how it parallels the work of thin privilege/body liberation. If you need to familiarize yourself with the five principles of HAES, this post from the Association for Size Diversity and Health has a great PDF that can be found and downloaded here.
At its core, HAES has a social justice framework basis. What does this mean? Directly from the HAES community website, HAES “principles help us advance social justice, create an inclusive and respectful community, and support people of all sizes in finding compassionate ways to take care of themselves.” HAES also takes into consideration the broader aspects that impact our health, including access, affordability and stigma (I want to tackle more about this and poor health outcomes in a separate post because it truly deserves its own so please stay tuned!). So it stands to say that white privilege allows an individual to have more resources that allows them a better chance to achieve these broader aspects of health as well
Additionally, I am continuously preaching to my clients and others that all bodies are good bodies. This means including size, shape, and color. However, until all bodies can receive the same rights, care and treatment - again my work to liberate all bodies is unfinished. When we think about health and wellness, it is usually youthful, able-bodied, as well as typically white/Eurocentric individuals, which creates this idea that that is the picture of health and wellness and continues to oppress and inherently leave out those who look different from the conversation.
As I said above, the learning and unlearning must continue regardless of if it is “trending” on social media. I realize this post legitimately only skims the surface, and that is in part because I have continued education to do and in part because many of these topics deserve an entire post of their own.