TLC channel, the experts in exploiting individuals with some form of disadvantage, handicap, or special life circumstance has done it again. They have a knack for finding odd individuals and making them into side show circus characters. First came the amazing baby makers Kate and Jon Gosselin and now comes One Big Family starring an African American morbidly obese family. When I first discovered this show I thought that it was about an obese family that wanted to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle. I was wrong. The show displays the family doing their day to day, which includes eating a large amount of unhealthy food regularly.
My annoyance is not with the fact that TLC gave a fat family a TV show. It is more so that they gave a fat family a TV show because they knew American audiences would find a group of overweight African Americans comical and in some instances stereotypically just. Audiences will watch them go to amusement parks where they cannot fit into the rides, see the teenage daughter become revolted by the site of vegetables and complain that “this is cow food” after the Doctor informed her that she is becoming “morbidly obese” due to her diet. Then see her eat a funnel cake covered in powdered sugar only to then see her race off to get more sugary delights moments later. All while the parents who are aware of her health issues stand by and watch her suck down an “icee” cup. The portrayal of the Black Father is equally unnerving. He is a stay at home dad who acts as if he is one of the kids while the mother works two jobs to support her family. Then hear the son say that when he thinks of something good he thinks of burgers. This is sad on so many levels. The show is insulting and ammo to racist who believe that all Black people are overweight, chicken gobblers with bad parenting skills. It is a joke waiting to happen. I am not convinced as to whether TLC wants to help these people live a healthier lifestyle or cash in on the running fat jokes that will ultimately come from some of the crude audience members.
My only hope is that the family actually does decide to make a change for a healthier lifestyle and stick with it. There is nothing comical about an obese African American family being filmed leading themselves down the road of heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues when so many African American people die from those same issues daily. It is a curse that has been plaguing African Americans for years. Not a joke. I can only take some solace in the fact that TLC probably has paid them a substantial amount of money for this side show act.
For more of La’Juanda “LJ” Knight check her out @ yeahshesaidit.com.