Politics & Policy

Psychologist: Minorities Are Obese Because of Racism

Institutional racism … with extra cheese. (Dreamstime)
Are racial microaggressions making you fat? One professor at an N.J. public university thinks so.

A study by Rutgers University – Newark claims that minorities are obese because racial microaggressions cause them to eat fast food and avoid exercise.

“When you are exposed to negative stereotypes, you may gravitate more toward unhealthy foods as opposed to healthy foods,” said Luis Rivera, the experimental social psychologist who conducted the study.

“You may have a less positive attitude toward watching your carbs or cutting back on fast food, and toward working out and exercising,” he explained.

Rivera said Hispanics who believed negative stereotypes about themselves were three times more likely to be overweight or obese — evidence that the obesity comes from believing the stereotypes.

He said that these stereotypes were spread not only through the mass media, but also subconsciously through seemingly harmless social interactions, including so-called microaggressions.

“There are more subtle ways in conversations and interactions with others,” he said. “Although people don’t say explicitly ‘you are A, you are B,’ there are ways in which those messages are communicated,. It could be teachers. It could be your parents. It could be your friends.”

Rivera’s study appears in this summer’s edition of the Journal of Social Issues.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

 

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