Friday, March 1, 2013

Quoted: The Hidden Eating Disorder in the Black Community

One of my favorite bloggers has a piece in the most recent issue of Ebony Magazine about disordered eating in the Black community.  I think The Root's coverage of her essay said it best: "We cannot heal what we refuse to recognize as a wound."
Whenever an article is written about disordered eating behavior in the Black community, it's always written in the context of anorexia or bulimia. It's discussing bingeing in conjunction with purging, or the kind of severe restriction that results in the exceptionally thin, wiry frame attributed to anorexia [even if the alleged sufferer is actually anorexic or not.]

The binary that we create when we discuss eating disorders, coupled with the myth that eating disorders are "White girl problems," harms us more than it helps us. It erases the existence of Black people who binge, and it dismisses the problem before any real attention can be drawn towards it so that people can get help.

But, what's most damaging about the rhetoric surrounding eating disorders, specifically among the Black community, is the inherent denial of the existence of a problem that might require actual psychiatric care in our community. We cannot continue to perpetuate the ideal that psychiatric care cannot and will not help us uncover the tools we need to overcome our battles. This mentality cannot persist.
-The Hidden Eating Disorder in the Black Community by Erika Nicole Kendall

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