That’s right, folks: it was reported by Sandy at Junkfood Science that a group of lawmakers in Mississippi don’t want fat people to be served in restaurants and other food facilities, to be defined after the law is passed.
HOUSE BILL NO. 282
An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.
The implications, of course, are no less than horrifying.
Not only would we have a group of citizens for which discrimination was openly legitimized (some would say it already is, but this would be sanctioned by law), we would also be tying the hands of the non-obese. Restaurants, gambling houses, tourist spots, even rest stops would be hit in the economic cahoonas by this bill. Want to drive through Mississippi? Okay, but you better not stop to eat anywhere if your BMI is 30+. Are you a business traveler? Better bring a boxed lunch to the airport. Do you employ truck drivers who go through MI? Better put them on a weight-loss program (not that it will do any good, since 95% – 98% of diets fail within five years. Better still to just fire the fatties straight off). Do you work as a waitress in an MI restaurant? Better take your meals elsewhere. There’s a Piggly-Wiggly across the street, right?
I could beat the drum of why it is so, so important to preserve individual freedom at the cost of legitimizing discrimination against unpopular groups. This ties in to the preservation of free-market capitalism and our civil rights at all costs. That this bill was introduced in th first place is just a big “fuck you” to the Constitution. How bastardized has that document become, when lawmakers—those who are supposed to be most versed in its clauses, and who have sworn to uphold it—flaunt its moral underpinnings?
Just because “fat” isn’t included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a protected group, that means it’s magically okay to legally discriminate against fat people?
I’m going to include a wide range of comments I made about this on various Fatosphere blogs:
Criminalizing Fat, and its Consequences
BigLiberty on http://www.bigfatblog.com:
My god, thank you for another link for my “Criminalizing Fat” page on my blog (the page of which is still not complete enough to be published, grr).
This is astounding. How can a government recognize that 95% – 98% of diets fail, yet in the same breath host a representative of the people who believes not selling food to “fatties” is going to solve the “obesity epidemic”?
The primary consequences – the forced starvation, i.e., physical abuse, of one group in society by the rest of society, are horrifying.
The secondary consequences – the scapegoatism inherent in legitimizing real physical abuse against one group, the effect it will have on children who are refused food because they’re “fat” even though no growing human should be subject any kind of starvation, whatsoever, is also horrifying. Not to mention the whisper of eugenics hinted at by these kinds of statements — naturally fat people won’t want to have children that are fat, so that they don’t get physically abused, and likely this sort of law would also legitimize the forced removal of fat children from their parents so they can be properly “trained” to be naturally skinny (i.e., placed in weight loss concentration camps until they’re visually normal).
If anyone wants to march on this guy’s office, I’m game. Let’s get a group together. This is dangerous, dangerous stuff. This isn’t just a joke… “Oh, what an idiot LOL” and so forth. There are many hateful individuals out there (just read the YouTube comments on the lovely Joy Nash’s “Fat Rant” video for a quick primer) that see ‘no use’ for fat people, due to ignorance or evil disposition or whatever.
The First Steps Towards Extermination Language
BigLiberty on The-F-Word.org:
The scariest part of this isn’t that it was introduced in the first place — we all know there is a lot of hate and ignorance surrounding fat people.
The scariest part is that this guy wasn’t laughed off his podium. There are others taking this seriously, too…those who have swallowed the Obesity Epidemic Kool-Aid.
I commented about this on Paul’s blog, and I’m going to also write a post about it on my blog, so I’ll keep this short. But I don’t think I’m extreme in saying this is the first step towards “extermination language.” “What, you’re saying that even though we banned the disgusting fatties from the restaurants, they’re STILL fat? Huh. Maybe we should force them to go to weight loss camp. And, if they gain back the weight, they should be institutionalized. And we should take their children away from them because they’re abusing their children by being fat.”
…and so forth. Think I’m radical? Wait, just wait. This is not going to be pretty, unless we get together and really fight back. Not just write about it, anymore. We have to get out there. We need to all be Rachels, Kates, Moniques, Joy Nashes, Sandys, etc. Mobilize our clear, truth-backed statements, and start bringing them in an organized fashion to those who make our laws and sway public opinion (i.e., lawmakers and the media).
This truly, seriously horrifies me. In a visceral way.
Weight-Loss Concentration Camps
BigLiberty, commenting on The-F-Word.org:
After reading that article about the girl who was sent to weight loss camp to “begin her new life” (Rachel blogged about it here: http://the-f-word.org/blog/index.php/2007/08/21/the-sad-consequences-of-the-anti-obesity-hysteria-on-children/) I think it’s safe to say that government-sponsored weight-loss concentration camps are not too far in the future for children who go to public school.
Especially after the anti-junk food, more-exercise, lock-ins during lunch, and other initiatives fail to show any decrease in average BMI.
I don’t want to be there when these parents get desperate, scared like hell that their kid’s going to die at 45 of massive heart failure or crippling diabetes because they didn’t ‘work hard enough’ to make their child ‘eat less and move more.’ That desperation will be reflected in the laws we start seeing passed — first on the local level by these maniacal, ignorant, desperate, scared parents (hmm, no cupcakes in school, anyone?), extending eventually to the state level, and then the national level.
And there isn’t any one party that’s backing the freedom of fat people. So-called conservatives, though they’re supposed to be socially libertarian, want to get re-elected and therefore will stigmatize fat to win votes. So-called progressives believe social change should be enacted through laws and regulations for the “good” of the people.
I think the only party that can really speak for fat people is the libertarian party. Or perhaps our own party with a libertarian, freedom-loving, my-body-is-my-business mentality.
Regardless, it’s important to understand that this isn’t an “evil Republican” or “hippy-dippy pinko liberal” thing. This is about ignorance, hate, and scapegoatism. It crosses party lines. People, if they hate you enough, will find some way that their own adopted moral value set reinforces that hate. Any group we get together will have to first being combating that hate at its source, and second making its political presence known.