Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What constitutes discrimination?

1. In the darkness of winter, some colours are harder to see at night. That's why the council of Limburg has decided to donate safety vests to refugees of a darker hue.

2. Then, this column brought my attention to the fact that some gravitationally-challenged folks are claiming they are targetted because of their weight.

Sooo... are the Dutchies discriminating against darkies in Limburg? And... should victimisation of fatties count as discrimination?

I know how I feel on the latter and am ambivalent about the former. I don't have an objection to safety vests being given to the immigrants. What makes it an issue is that the people of Limburg have actually specified that only black immigrants will receive this freebie. Completely disregarding the fact that most people - black, white, local or otherwise - wear black or dark colours in winter. I'm about as pasty pale as you can get, but in the middle of winter all you can see of me are my eyeballs - as the rest is smothered in hat, gloves, scarf, coat, boots etc. So I guess, well-intended and misguided though it may have been, I think the Limburgers discriminated.

Now onto issue number two. The one that I feel is black-and-white. I am a fattist. Or a weightist. Or an adipophobe (new word I'm trying out... "fear of excessive adipose tissue"). I really struggle to sympathise with the obese. I know that some people are just bigger, much bigger. Some people have hormonal imbalance and medical reasons for why they rapidly gain weight and then cannot lose it. But I think for most, weight gain is something that is just too much effort to consider fighting. A former colleague of mine is 5'6 and weighs over 100kg. He constantly complained about his discomfort, his heart pains and his sweating. He's 28. One particular meal I saw him put away - fast - was a full plate of fries topped with 500g of minced meat and cheese. Then he would tell us that he didn't know what to do about getting healthier. Lose the fries and try eat a tomato or two, for a start.

Weight you can do something about. Skin colour (Michael Jackson aside), you can't.


Champagne Heathen said...

That is a very weird gesture. Maybe they could only make so many of those vests, and then had to play with all sorts of demographic numbers to see which group came closest. And they made up the reasoning after that.

kop said...

Well, well, well it's good to see you writing consistently again.

Bravo on this post!

Koekie said...

Champers - you appear to be in the mind of a bureaucrat. Gasp! Are you one of Them..?

Kop - thank you, I'm trying ;-)

Champagne Heathen said...

I'm trying Koeks! For a job & income, I am willing....!

Champagne Heathen said...

Hey, there is some chick on HOME & AWAY (1st time I've watched it since landing here) that looks JUST like you. This is incredible. How's your Aussie accent?

Koekie said...

Champers - I'm one of those people who can only do one accent, terribly. It's a combination of Australian, Scottish and Indian (degrees vary according to who I've been spending time with and how much I've had to drink)