Why Racism Matters to My Work
Over the past week, I have been filled with a flood of thoughts and emotions related to the death of George Floyd and the resulting groundswell of anti-racist protests.
While issues of race in America might not seem directly related to my work as an eating disorder specialist, I wanted to share with you why issues of race are central to the mission of true body healing.
My life’s work is centered around bodies – making peace with, honoring, and respecting all bodies. What began as a career in helping individuals feel safe within their own bodies through proper nourishment, movement, and rest, has evolved into something far more complex. I have come to appreciate the vital intersectional lens that impacts my clients capacity to feel safe in their own skin. This means I must consider issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religious practice, access to healthy supports, and so on. “Bodies are sites in which social constructions of differences are mapped onto human beings.” In order for body healing to happen, the whole of one’s embodied experience must be considered.
Many of you have heard me say before that one of the greatest gifts of my work is that I am a better person for it. And I’ll say it over and over again because it is true. My role as nutrition counselor mandates that I listen more than I talk. And over time, I am improving my capacity to listen with deep curiosity and a genuine desire to understand another person’s experience. Because it is our nature, as humans, to listen defensively, to try to “catch” another person’s inaccuracies and insert our own “knowing,” I am continually humbled by the lessons I have learned by sitting back and listening with an open heart.
So this week, I hope you will join me in listening, deeply listening, to the wisdom of the lived experience of individuals who are different from you. For me, this means joining the campaign developed by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Jessica Wilson (@JessicaWilson.msrd) and Therapist, Alishia McCullough (@blackandembodied). This campaign can be followed at #amplifymelanatedvoices. In the service of centering the voices of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), I am sharing a handful of fantastic individuals and resources to follow and learn from. The offerings below are a drop in the bucket – dig in and start curating your own path to learning (or unlearning as the saying goes).
Social Media Accounts
Courses, Books, Podcasts
- NPR’s Code Switch Podcast
- Rachel Cargle’s (@RACHEL.CARGLE) The Great Unlearn Monthly Syllabus (@THEGREATUNLEARN)
- Ijeoma Oluo: “So You Want to Talk About Race”
- Sabrina Strings” “Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia”
- Sonya Renee Taylor: “The Body is Not an Apology”
- Layla Saad: “Me and White Supremacy”
Whether it relates to size, skin color, or any other difference between us, may we all remain ever committed to unlearning our biases around bodies and advocating for equity in the ways that we can.
 Body Politics by Nadia Brown and Sarah Allen Gershon. Access 6/1/20.