Book Review: A Transformative Journey through "Fearing the Black Body"Jan 01, 2024
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Everyone can be a catalyst for change if we're committed enough to do what is required to achieve health equity. As an essential part of the mission is to revolutionize healthcare for Black women, I always aim to cultivate an environment of learning. While you certainly can learn through attending one of my trainings, we shouldn't diminish the impactful power of books for educating us about equitable practices. Through books, I've learned that an area of health equity that isn't discussed enough is anti-blackness and its connection to anti-bias in healthcare. However, in Dr. Sabrina Strings' "Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia," that connection was made very apparent.
"Fearing the Black Body" serves as a compass that sheds light on the origins of fat phobia and its profound impact on Black women's experiences in the healthcare system. This transformative book is one that everyone in the healthcare space should read, and here's why.
This Book Challenges the Conventional Notions of Health
Even though I have immense pride in my nutrition certifications from the National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association and Precision Nutrition, neither discussed the impact of anti-fat bias on societal health. Dr. Strings' exploration of the preference for slimness over fatness allowed me to challenge the conventional notions of health and engage in a critical perspective shift. The book's first revelation explored how societal biases against larger bodies have seeped into the fabric of healthcare, influencing perceptions of health and contributing to systemic disparities.
The second illuminating insight delves into the intersectionality of fat stigmas and racial biases, weaving a narrative that exposes the adverse effects on Black individuals within the healthcare system. Through reading the book, I was able to understand better how these biases perpetuate a cycle of inequality and hinder Black women's access to adequate care.
A critical revelation surfaces as the book uncovers the flawed foundation upon which health measures such as Body Mass Index or BMI were built. By excluding Black bodies from their samples, these measures contribute to mislabeling Black individuals as unhealthy, perpetuating stereotypes that have severe consequences for their well-being.
Perhaps one of the most shocking revelations within "Fearing the Black Body" is the infiltration of eugenic theories into the healthcare field. Eugenics is a theory that was later disproved and sought to improve humans through selective breeding. It helped perpetuate discrimination, racism, abelism, and colonialism through the treatment of Black bodies as inferior. Unfortunately, eugenics still exists in healthcare, which underscores the urgent need for a reckoning within the industry. Thus, this book serves as a wake-up call, urging healthcare providers to confront and dismantle harmful stereotypes rooted in a history tainted by discriminatory practices.
Despite the Challenges, There Is Hope
Amidst the alarming revelations, "Fearing the Black Body" offers hope. Now that we understand the origins of bias, we can take actionable steps to address it. By arming ourselves with this knowledge, we can embark on a transformation journey, dismantling biases that perpetuate inequality.
For instance, the very existence of Enhance Black Women's Health is because of what I've learned in "Fearing the Black Body." The book ignited a passion within me to guide healthcare providers toward equitable and transformative practices, ultimately leading to the establishment of a movement that seeks to redefine healthcare for Black women. Therefore, despite the challenges of promoting health equity, there is hope that by working together, we can achieve a more equitable system for all of them.
As a healthcare provider committed to empathy, transformation, and inclusivity, it is clear that investing in "Fearing the Black Body" is the next step of your journey. This book is not merely a read but a catalyst for change, a roadmap to a healthcare landscape that prioritizes equity and inclusivity. For educators shaping the future of healthcare, make "Fearing the Black Body" a required book in your syllabus. We can cultivate a transformative healthcare system by equipping healthcare providers with the knowledge and empathy needed to dismantle biases.
In the pages of "Fearing the Black Body," a revolution awaits. It is a journey that beckons healthcare providers to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past, learn from them, and actively contribute to a future where healthcare is synonymous with empathy, transformation, and inclusivity. The time for change is now, and the power to shape that change lies within the pages of this transformative book. Get your copy today!
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