Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GUEST POST: Mystify People With Your Intelligence...If You Can't Do That, Mystify Them With Your Bullshit

{Ed. Note: Today, I am proud to feature this guest post by my dear friend and sister Amichandrn, who originally posted this at her place. The title comes from her very apt icon on that same post, the original was untitled.}

I am a little bit irritated. Ok, more than a little bit irritated. I opened up AOL only to be greeted with "Obama's Pick Caused Debate: New Surgeon General Has Spotless Record: Should Her Weight Matter?"

Guess what, douchebags. No, it should not.

Regina Benjamin is a patient advocate. She started a public health clinic where she treats EVERYONE, regardless of ability to pay, and still holds the position of CEO of this clinic. She was an associate dean for the University of South Alabama's medical college. She was the FIRST black woman to become president of a state medical society, as well as the first person under 40 to be appointed to the board of the American Medical Association. She's also received a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and a Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. When her clinic wasn't making money, she did not take her salary. She has mortgaged her home and maxed out her credit cards to ensure that everyone who needs services in her town can get them. This is a woman who truly cares about her patients.

She also is trained and experienced in the field of medicine. According to Newsweek, "Most previous surgeons general have come from either government or academia."

Benjamin received a B.S. from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1979. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine and received then received an M.D. in 1984 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed her residency in family practice at the Medical Center of Central Georgia, and has worked in ERs and nursing homes in her years of practicing medicine.

Oh, and let's not forget that pesky Masters degree she got in Business Administration in 1991 from Tulane University.

Take a look at her profile. I'll wait.

Ok, So why would people not want this, not just a woman, but a PERSON who has accomplished so much, to be the Surgeon General?

So far, the issues has been weight and to a seemingly lesser extent, race. (The race issue is usually associated with "OMG, OBAMA CHOSE ANOTHER MINORITY!!!!") However, I am not addressing the race issue here, as the weight issue is really what's bothering me.

In the comments sections of various reports, comments have been left by the dozens, claiming that Benjamin is NOT fit to serve as surgeon general because of her weight.

Here are some lovely examples, placed under a cut, as they may be triggers:{Ed. Note: as the cut function does not work so much here, consider this a trigger warning for egregious fatphobia}

Rather than select a fat Black woman Obama should have chose a Black woman with a body mass index of 25 or less. ~ Kevin25

I'm a pediatrician. One of the greatest health threats in our population is obesity. Now we have an obese Surgeon General as a role model. How is she to impact the nation's health if she can't even take care of herself? ~ ctg312

And you just thought that Bob's Big Boy did not have an adopted sister! Man Bob's could not buy this kind of publicity ~ KBlit

Did I see Goodyear painted on her sides. ~ affirmativeactionpresident

she certainly looks overweight..if obama wants to replace health care in the country, i think he should have picked someone who does not appear to be on the verge of a heart attack/stroke and/or diabetes due to life style choices... ~ w04equals666

Then there's my personal favorite “I refuse to let fat be socially acceptable … The President should have known better and picked a doctor who could kick start the debate on fat not perpetuate it,”

Ok, lets get some things straight.

1) The BMI is a guideline, and honestly, must be taken with a HUGE heap of salt. It was created in the 1950s using white middle-aged men from the suburbs as their sample. They never looked at women. They never looked at other races or ethnicities. The statistics were adjusted slightly in the 70s, but really? Not all that accurate.

2) Obesity does not CAUSE heart disease or diabetes. It could be a symptom of an underlying cause (Cushings, Thyroid issues), but it is not a cause, nor is an immediate indicator of a problem. For all we know, it could be that heart disease causes obesity. An example of this would be: A person has heart disease. His heart works harder and as such, he gets tired more easily, so he exercises less, causing him to gain weight. These studies that get thrown at us are correlational studies. They show that two things are likely to be associated, but they do NOT show causation. Do your research.

3) Fat people who like themselves are not in denial. We genuinely do like ourselves. It's a hell of a lot easier than hating ourselves for something most of us can't change on a grand scale.

4) Fat is necessary. We need it to used certain vitamins, as well as for brain function and development. So when you give your one-year old skim milk of soy milk because it's "Less Fattening," guess what? You just hindered them a bit more.

5) Repeated dieting is more likely to cause heart disease than being obese.

And here's a news flash for these people:

I'm obese. I always have been. I'm also healthy. My blood pressure is normal. My blood sugar is perfect. I hate cake, cookies, ice cream and most candy. I don't eat potato chips. I prefer fruit and fruit sorbet to all other desserts. I rarely drink regular soda. I exercise. I'm smart. I'm funny. I like to dance. I have a first kyu brown belt in karate. I took Tae Kwon Do. I liked to tumble when I was in high school, back when I had time. And I like myself. So where do I fit in your schema of obesity?

People assume that obesity has an ingrained link to lack of self-control, eating nothing but junk or stupidity. I want to see these studies, because my research has shown none of this.

In the end, I honestly believe the Regina Benjamin is the best choice for the position. She is well-trained, intelligent, educated, and caring. She is someone who will put the health of the American people first. Her weight is a non-issue. People who are criticizing her for her weight really need to take a look at themselves, because there's something there that they don't like that they need to deal with first.

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