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Replacing racism with sizeism? Not cool, Wonkette

7th June 2010

Replacing racism with sizeism? Not cool, Wonkette

So, the blog Wonkette recently opined on Prescott, Az. city councilman Steve Blair who used AM talk radio show to advocate for the removal of a black child’s face from a downtown mural.  Arizona isn’t exactly considered a bastion of racial tolerance right now, what with the passage of SB 1070, a stringent law many (myself included) would argue only legalizes racial profiling of Hispanics.  But the case of the mural, which was drawn from the photographs of actual children enrolled at the nearby, racially-diverse Miller Valley School, is especially egregious.  Blair’s call for the removal of an African-American child figured prominently in the mural was met with a wave of Waspian support, with even the school’s principal pressuring the artists behind the mural to lighten — a.k.a. whiten – the faces of children depicted (the principal has since backed down).  And this is just the latest insult — the children who worked alongside the artists were repeatedly subjected to drive-by racial slurs and epithets during the months-long project.  Read more on this affront to decency here.

Wonkette, like so many others, was naturally outraged by the blatant racism, as was radio channel KYCA, who promptly and appropriately fired Blair from his radio show (he still remains a city councilman).  In an blog update about the firing, Wonkette had this to say about Blair:

HE SHOULD BE DUMPED IN A CESSPOOL FILLED WITH BOILING BP CRUDE, etc.

But whatever, look at this fat fucking hunchbacked pig, and pity him if you have that kind of generous soul.

Not to take attention away from this horrible display of racism, but is anyone else struck by the inherent hypocrisy of Wonkette replacing one form of -ism — racism — with yet another form of -ism — sizeism?  There are plenty of slurs with which to hurl Blair’s way — racist, bigot, uninformed, xenophobic and spineless, ignorant twit, to name just a few — but commentary on his size and appearance should not be among them.  Not only are these remarks entirely irrelevant to Blair’s speech and actions, such comments, in fact, only perpetuates the  exploitive hegemonies and ideology of domination that buttresses all forms of discrimination.  As Shirley Chisholm once said, In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing – antihumanism.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 7th, 2010 at 3:44 pm and is filed under Body Politic, Fat Bias, Race Issues, Rachel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 14 responses to “Replacing racism with sizeism? Not cool, Wonkette”

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  1. 1 On June 7th, 2010, Ashley said:

    What a disgrace! I love that last quote.

  2. 2 On June 7th, 2010, Elizabeth said:

    I see this kind of thing ALL the time. “oh, so and so is racist/sexist/homophobic, the FAT BASTARD!”

    Really. Everywhere. Fat is such an easy insult.

  3. 3 On June 7th, 2010, Crimson Wife said:

    The fact that so many people in this society resort to cheap name-calling instead of offering up intelligent criticism is a sign of intellectual laziness. Can’t Wonkette come up with anything more clever to say than “wingnut”, “idiot”, “fat f****** pig”, etc.?

  4. 4 On June 7th, 2010, Bree said:

    For people who can’t express that eloquently when angry, fat is always used as an insult, sometimes even if the person really isn’t.

    I hate Rush Limbaugh with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but I will never make fun of his weight. If I can do this, so can Wonkette. Come on, show a little maturity when trying to express an opinion.

  5. 5 On June 7th, 2010, Palaverer said:

    Unfortunately, to many people, fat is a moral issue. People are only fat because they are gluttonous, lazy, undisciplined, etc. So to add fat into a litany of immoral charges seems perfectly natural to them.

  6. 6 On June 7th, 2010, Jackie said:

    That’s a whole lot of fail Wonkette just served up there. It’s sad, when bloggers don’t realize, that just because other people treat the internet like a grade school recess yard, ripe for bullying, that doesn’t mean they should lower themselves to that level.

  7. 7 On June 8th, 2010, withoutscene said:

    My favorite part is that you can’t even tell he’s fat from the picture they link to.

    And the irony is that if you Google Image Search for ‘steve blair’ you find this gem:
    http://storage.people.com/jpgs/20021202/20021202-750-206.jpg

  8. 8 On June 8th, 2010, wriggles said:

    “fat fucking hunchbacked pig”

    Not to mention a bit of ableism for good measure.

  9. 9 On June 8th, 2010, Rachel said:

    @withoutscene: Ha! That is ironic. That’s a different Steve Blair, though. He’s one of the ones who promotes the idea that fitness is more important than fatness. He’s on our side :)

    @wriggles: Good point.

  10. 10 On June 8th, 2010, Willow said:

    Don’t like or agree with the Shirley Chisholm quote, to an extent. What if you’re discriminating against known serial killers? Or convicted pedophiles? Is being antihuman a bad thing in that scenario?

    Anyway, Wonkette really had a good thing going until she resorted to grade-school taunts. I know this is preaching to the choir, but Wonkette clearly sees our friend Steve as a morally bad person and frames his moral badness in terms of fat. Well. How very original (not to mention enlightened!) of her.

  11. 11 On June 8th, 2010, Rachel said:

    @Willow: In the case of pedophiles or serial killers, one would be “discriminating” against them based on their actions. Racism, ableism, sexism, sizeism, etc… are all rooted in appearance and/or immutable genetic qualities.

  12. 12 On June 8th, 2010, Willow said:

    That is a good point. Nonetheless, the original quote did not differentiate. Still, it’s an aside – Wonkette’s wonky actions are the key point, and it wasn’t my intention to derail.

  13. 13 On June 9th, 2010, Benito said:

    “All Men are created equal”! The founders had it right, when attempting to form a perfect union and they also knew that they were not there yet but knew we one day would get there. Lincoln moved us forward as did JFK and LBJ. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.

    It is my contention that this AZ law is not constitutional and will fail when challenged (unless, of course, they keep adding more amendments), pretty funny for this so called perfect law, that many internet blogs claim it was copied “Word for Word” from the Federal law, which I frankly do not believe, if it was then no amendments would have been made, right?, of course.

    As for the undocumented workers, as was attributed to Ronald Reagan “It’s the Economy, Stupid”. When the economy is good we say let’s all celebrate “Cinco de Mayo, my brothers” but when the economy is down “it’s all your fault, you damn immigrant”. This too will pass. The real problem is the narcos, arms and people smuggler that’s what the focus should be on.

    Don’t you find it funny that no one ever voted for Brewer for Governor, it’s all about politics and getting elected, do not be fooled. Busy Brewer has passed S.B. 1070, no permit conceal weapons law, the famous Birthers law, banning Ethic studies law, (could she be behind the Mural in Prescott, Arizona) and if history is a lesson she should look up Arizona’s House Bill 2779 from two years ago (which failed when legally challenged) and the craziest one the boycotted Martin Luther King Day, not wanting another holiday, how crazy is that. I believe there is an undercurrent to their enactment of new laws, they real love following a distinct pattern. Poor Brewer, last week, she first she said her Dad had died in Germany fighting the Nazi in World War II (war ended 1945) and we find out her father never was in Germany and died in California in 1955 (watch the spin doctors go into overdrive) and then she went to Washington and came back empty as always, poor dear.

  14. 14 On June 11th, 2010, Julanar said:

    Unfortunately, the “founders” had no interest in acknowledging that all women are equal as well. Or non-white people. Or anyone who wasn’t a property owner. So I don’t think that “they knew that they were not there yet but knew we one day would get there” is an accurate statement. If they’d had THAT kind of insight, they would have declared us all equal to begin with and prevented a lot of suffering in the future.

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