Smoking rates for various racial groups:
Whites = 19.6%.
Blacks = 22.1%.
Multiracial = 24.7%.
Less educated Americans smoke more than educated Americans.
Less than high school = 32.4%.
high school degree = 26.5%.
college degree = 10.1%.
What about obesity in the USA?
White total = 26.8%.
male = 27.5%.
female = 24.5%.
Black total = 36.9%.
male = 31.6%.
female = 41.2%.
American Indian total = 39.6%..
Gary’s original link to cdc data didn’t work (perhaps he could provide it again? Ta.), but I did a quick check on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and found some similar figures:
29% of US adults below poverty line smoke, 18% of those above it.
Percent of adults who smoke by racial/ethnic group
American Indian/Alaska native = 31.4%
Multiple race (non-hispanic) = 25.9%
White (non-hispanic) = 21%
Hispanic = 12.5%
Asian = 9.2%
Percent of adults who smoke by education level
Undergraduate degree = 9.9%
High school graduate = 23.8%
General Educational Development (GED) = 45%
So antismoking and anti-obesity taxes and restrictions and campaigns fall hardest on poor, uneducated, black or multiracial or American Indian populations.
Isn’t that racism? Disguised racism? Perhaps antismoking and obesity campaigns are in part just another way of attacking racial minorities?
Apart from that, from Giles Fraser in the Guardian:
The TV show How to Look Good Naked is an instrument of torture, which is every bit as self-flagellating as the Christian mortification of the flesh. Over the entrance of every gym ought to be written St Paul’s words: “I chastise my body and bring it into subjection.”
I came across the above via Heresy Corner:
All that said, the use of theological language to describe overindulgence in food is telling, as Fraser is right to point out. He might have added that the language of health-scare isn’t just one of personal morality – it also does a nice line in apocalyptic, with the “obesity timebomb” and suchlike standing in for Armageddon. Even more significant is the double-edged psychology involved: it leads to self-hatred in those who don’t possess socially approved body shapes, while those who do are able to feel morally superior, to pity, shun and belittle the less virtuous or less fortunate.
It doesn’t stop with food, of course: the language of sin and guilt is equally used of other behaviours such as smoking, drinking or carbon consumption.
Incidentally, Gary has asked if he can collect some of his links in the comments under Mince Pies To Die For. That seems like a good idea. It’ll maybe become a bit like Rose’s Garden (see right) at Forces.