I haven’t posted on this blog since May 30th, not since George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered and this year’s necessary and long-overdue uprising for Racial Justice began. I haven’t posted on this blog since I personally felt poked with a stick, and since we saw and experienced first-hand what happens when an entire community’s intergenerational, racial trauma gets poked with a stick. And the sticks just keep coming, don't they?
So, before I write anything else on this blog, I want to be clear about some things.
First, Body Liberation includes, and even depends upon, Racial Justice. Individualism is a lie. We are all connected. Personal, micro-level journeys out of Diet Culture and other external systems that seek to control the way we think and behave are important. AND they are only as important insofar as they lead to a greater understanding of collective Body Liberation. True Body Liberation is collective, anti-racist, interdependent. It is not JUST a method of escaping the damaging and dysfunctional paradigm of Diet Culture. In fact, escaping Diet Culture is only ONE small step, or path, on the journey toward Body Liberation.
Second, White Supremacy is a system that we are all born into. Much like Capitalism, the Patriarchy, Misogyny, Rape Culture, and Diet Culture, we don’t get to choose whether we participate in these systems. We are just born into them. Most of us never even wake up to the fact that these are the systems we are born into and live in. They are the water we swim in. Until we jump out of that water for a minute and suddenly see it for what it is, we don’t even know we are in it. And as long as we can’t see the water, we can’t understand or work toward Body Liberation.
Third, Whiteness is not a culture, it is not an ethnicity. Whiteness is a myth created to hold up the system of White Supremacy. White people – and non-white people -- participate in it without realizing that they are participating in it. White people hold up white supremacy by participating in whiteness whether we know it, whether we like it, or not. White people are “flattened into whiteness” (a phrase I heard a fellow student use yesterday) so that they can be raised on the belief that all white people are the same and different (read: superior to) all non-white people. Until we can see whiteness for the lie that it is, we can’t fully understand or continue working toward Body Liberation.
Fourth, Bad Dog Rebel Fitness & Yoga is interested in working towards true Body Liberation. Our current mission is to help folks find authentic health outside the damaging and dysfunctional paradigm of Diet Culture. The larger, macro-level, part of our mission is currently evolving and absolutely includes helping folks understand the necessity of working against Systemic Racism, White Supremacy and exposing Whiteness for the lie that it is. All systems of violent and destructive oppression enact what Sonya Renee Taylor calls “Body Terrorism.” All systems of violent and destructive oppression keep us, collectively, from being able to realize true Body Liberation.
Finally, if you would like to join Bad Dog Rebel Fitness & Yoga in this work, please read and actively engage with any and all of the following resources, as a beginning:
Rachel Cargle’s The Great Unlearn
Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Iluo
Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
If you are sincere in your engagement with any of these resources, they will open your heart and mind to a new (or continued) understanding of the connection between Body Liberation and Racial Justice. Emma Lazarus once wrote, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” Lazarus was a Jewish American poet and scholar who lived and wrote around the turn of the twentieth century, and in this quote, the “we” she is specifically speaking about are Jews around the globe. Martin Luther King expanded this concept when he said, “No one is free until we are all free.” The fight for Racial Justice, in 2020, is every human being’s fight. Collective Body Liberation will not be realized until ALL bodies are liberated from every violently destructive system of power. So, Bad Dog Rebel Fitness & Yoga wants to take this opportunity to be clear: “No one is free until we are all free.” There is no Body Liberation without Racial Justice.
is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.