The exercise in the United States originated from the “White Supremacy” project

Early 20th century pressures for exercise in the United States stemmed from “white supremacy” to produce “more white babies,” according to a TIME Magazine article that also blamed the coronavirus pandemic for “accelerating the ‘fitness inequality’, and argued that it was wrong to assume that fat people are ‘out of shape’ or ‘want to lose weight’.

the essay by editor Olivia B. Waxman, titled “The Origins of White Supremacist Exercise and 6 Other Surprising Facts About the History of Fitness in the United States,” describes the changing trends in exercise in United States, which would have started by “strengthening white supremacy”.

In a conversation with the news magazine, exercise historian Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, a professor at The New School in New York, discussed the issue, which is a featured topic in her new book, “Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America’s Exercise Obsession.”

Discussing how Americans have shifted from a “fat is good” to “skinny is better” mentality, Mehlman Petrzela noted that his intention in writing the new book was to “look at the change in the how we think about our body and what is considered attractive. ”

“Until about the 1920s, being what today would be considered fat or bigger, was actually desirable and actually meant wealth – which is the opposite of today, where much of the discourse on the obesity epidemic is linked to socio-economic inequality and to be fat is often to be seen as poor,” she said.

She claims the shift happened when “caloric foods became more accessible, and more people were sedentary white-collar workers and had access to cars and hobbies”, leaving someone “who could resist to these high-calorie foods, exercising and having a lean body” to also be “more desirable”.

Considering it to be the “most startling” question she learned during her research, Mehlman Petrzela claimed that while fitness enthusiasts of the early 20th century called for women to get rid of corsets ( because they are an “assault on the form of women”) and to start weightlifting and strength training, it was not due to a “progressive” approach but rather “white supremacy”.

“[T]they say white women should start building strength because we need more white babies,” she said.

File/1905: Full-length view of young women stretching with dumbbells during a gym class presided over by a male instructor and two women at the piano, Christ Church House, 228 West 35th Street, New York City. (Museum of the City of New York/Byron Collection/Getty Images)

“They are writing during an incredible period of immigration, shortly after the emancipation of slaves,” she added. “It’s totally part of a white supremacy project.”

Saying that gym use has “rebounded rapidly” since recent coronavirus shutdowns, Mehlman Petrzela lamented how the pandemic “has accelerated inequalities in fitness”.

“You can go home and be part of your platoon if you can afford it, if you have the space, but not everyone can,” she said.

She also noted that running “access,” too, “was never totally equal,” for example, “if you lived in a neighborhood that didn’t have safe streets or streets that weren’t well lit.”

“Women were ridiculed. People of color were thought to be committing a crime,” she said.

“The ‘race is for everyone’ discourse still quite often omits the fact that depending on where you live and what body you live in, it can be a very different experience,” she added.

File/Photo shows Sugar Ray Robinson training on a gym speed bag. (Getty)

She went on to describe the influence of former exercise guru Richard Simmons as “really significant in terms of changing who was welcome in gyms”.

“Today you see quite a few fat people in the fitness industry, who operate from a better perspective, which is that your body size doesn’t necessarily dictate your level of fitness,” a- she declared.

“We shouldn’t assume that because you’re fat or out of shape or want to lose weight,” she added. “And I think we probably couldn’t have had this without Richard Simmons.”

In response, many scoffed at the recent TIME trial.

“The only way to combat the white supremacist roots of exercise is to lead a sedentary lifestyle,” wrote professor and author Gad Saad.

“Say no to exercise as a way to be an ally to people of color,” he added.

“The drill is now racist. We are doomed,” wrote science journalist and bestselling author Max Lugavere.

“The LOL exercise is now also white supremacist,” wrote author and conservative commentator Dr. James Lindsay.

“Paging @TheBabylonBee, they’re stealing your content,” wrote conservative comedy duo Kevin Hodge and Keith Hodge, better known as the Hodgetwins.

“The attack on fitness continues,” wrote fitness podcaster Sal Di Stefano. “People in poor health are easier to manipulate.”

“Be big unless you support white supremacy,” one Twitter account tweeted.

The essay comes as the push to lose weight is somehow linked to racism, and obesity continues to be promoted by many on the left and in the entertainment industry, despite it being of a condition that puts adults of all ages at increased risk of serious illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Wednesday, American Scientist post an essay claiming that the fight against obesity is rooted in “racism” and that black women “constantly experience weighting on top of sexism and racism”, while claiming that the prescription of “weight loss” is has ‘long been proven ineffective’.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein


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