The GEM Debate:
Right Or Racist…Can You Call A City Fat?
Somebody said something that pissed some people off, but not me.
Lena Dunham, Girls creator and star, was on The Howard Stern Show and said basically that she wasn’t fat compared to the women in Detroit. According to the the Hollywood Reporter here’s the exchange between Dunham and Stern:
Dunham’s joke — a response to Stern describing heras a “a little fat girl who looks like Jonah Hill” — came in defense of her realistic physique.
“I’m not super-thin,” she told the satellite radio host. “But I’m thin for, like, Detroit.”
So now Dunham is in a little hot water from some. People feel the comment was racist seeing as how 82% of Detroit is African-American. Well, wait. Detroit is also 67% overweight or obese according to the Centers for Disease Control. Now unless every one of those 67% are African-American (they aren’t, although Whites are statistically thinner than African-Americans according to Michigan.gov) then Dunham might have had a problem. However, there are all kinds of people in Detroit that are battling the bulge. So where was the slight in her comment?
I honestly think that we as a culture should always look out to make sure another culture isn’t dragging our name through the mud, but there is another angle. Maybe Dunham just knows Detroit. How do we know all of her friends, her mom and her aunts, and even the teachers she met along the way (if they, too, were White) weren’t all struggling with weight? We don’t. Everything is not racially charged. Not every White person has a slur on the tip of their tongue. It took me a very long time to learn this, and I think we as a culture need to judge people on the “content of their character.” Isn’t that what Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed we would do? That dream wasn’t just for “us” but for all and I think it is high time some of us start making dreams come true.
Stern later apologized for his remark and Dunham accepted.
So what do you guys think? Am I being too forgiving? Was there even anything to forgive? Are we now a society that has to temper everything we say? Let us know!
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Ella Rucker is the mother of one of the smartest, funniest two-year-olds she’s ever met. She is currently assistant to the head GEM which means hats-a-plenty including writing, editing, and producing for Good Enough Mother. An Ohio native implanted in NYC for the last 13 years, Ella has achieved one of her many dreams by writing. Her musings (she’s amused they’d be called “musings”) can be found at other places on the web so make sure you follow her on twitter @ellalaverne for all the information.