Weight stigma and race: an empirical application of intersectionality

America’s obsession with obesity has spawned increasing amounts of research examining how body size shapes social outcomes. Generally, body size negatively correlates with these outcomes, with larger people suffering lower self-esteem, marriage rates, and wages. However, these outcomes are unevenly distributed among racial groups, as black people counterintuitively seem robust to many of the ravages of weight discrimination. Understanding why black people do not suffer a “double burden” where weight is concerned has baffled social scientists using basic models of intersectionality to explain outcomes. The author attempts to deepen understanding of intersectionality and the structure of race in the United States by examining the combined effect of body size and skin tone or color on individual income for black Americans. The author finds that light-skinned black Americans suffer an obesity income penalty similar to white Americans, whereas medium- and dark-skinned black Americans seem to suffer no obesity income penalty.

That is by Robert L. Reece, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


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