22.12.05

bin Laden Family Physician: Obesity Causes Jungle Fever


A new Hampshire physician, Dr. Terry Bennet, is under fire for telling an overweight patient that if she doesn't lose weight, only a black man will want her. Dr. Bennet, of course, has insisted that his comments were unfairly taken out of context. As reported in the Concord Monitor, Bennet's position is roughly that:

Overweight men are much more likely to die than overweight women, so an overweight woman married to an overweight man risks being an early widow. American men "don't like obese women,"Bennett said - except one group: African-American men. But because there's a general dearth of single middle-aged African-American men in New Hampshire, the woman is likely to end up on her own.

"Black men are the only males that don't have a strong anti-obesity preference," he said. "They mostly grow up in fatherless households where they are surrounded by big, loving women, and they talk about fat as sugar."

Bennett said his logic is racial - the way medical issues like diabetes can be linked to race - and not racist.

"The notion that a black person would find you attractive while a white person of the same age and same gender would not, that's a fact," he said. "If you are going to pick that apart and charge that statement is racist, I subject that you are the racist."

Although Bennet has previously come under fire for non-PC comportment, this is the first time that it's manifest along racial lines. He was defended his multicultural integrity, however, by pointing to his Saudi practice:
Bennett said that his argument about men not wanting overweight women is backed up by research and said the "Technicolor" nature of his Rochester practice supports the idea that he is not a racist. He also pointed to his work as the bin Laden family doctor in Saudi Arabia and his practice there as further evidence that he's multicultural.

"If I was such a prejudiced person why did I have 50,000 charts in Saudi Arabia? They were all brown," he said.
How Bennet uses derisive stereotypes as scare-tactics is curious. Granted, Bennet did try to qualify his comments in terms of scaring patients by alerting them to the risk that they're running of being alone, but it would be interesting to know how he counsels his obese Saudi patients. By warning them that their hijabs would be rendered obsolete or superfluous by their sheer size?

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