As a lesbian, I was pleased that columnist Leonard Pitts spoke out against the raft of homophobic legislation that has emerged in the wake of the legalization of gay relationships [“Doesn’t Mississippi have more pressing concerns?” Opinion, April 10].
However, as a fat woman, I am pained that Pitts found it necessary to lump fatness in with poverty, cigarettes, and a substandard education system as one of the things that makes Mississippi “the worst state to live in.” He mentions fatness not once, but three times, among the failures of the state, driving home the point that fatness is a negative attribute, on a par with a low literacy level.
In fact, fatness is a physical attribute, like height or eye color, and is often genetic. Poor nutrition may contribute to weight gain, or to weight loss, but one rarely hears thinness cited as a negative result. Many fat people eat healthy diets and lead healthy lifestyles. To assume otherwise is ignorant and damaging.
I, too, deplore the efforts of reactionary state governments to avoid the law of the land. I grew up in the South during the 1950s and 1960s, where examples of state-sanctioned segregation were the norm, long after they were supposedly illegal, and I applaud Pitts’ attempt to call attention to these injustices against gay and lesbian people that are being carried out in the name of religion.
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However, pointing a critical finger at fat people, another oppressed group, is thoughtless and short-sighted — qualities I don’t expect from the generally insightful Pitts column. Fat people are often targets of ridicule, discrimination and “scientific” attacks. Pitts, perhaps your next column could investigate some of these abuses, rather than continuing them.
Tina Gianoulis, Indianola