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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.

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  • Brittni

    I think the author also missed the wonderful family dynamics. This family has excellent communication, the children are well behaved for the most part (they are teenagers) and this is a two parent household. Can we highlight those positives? Additionally, the family is working together to conquer the issue of obesity, which is not just a black problem, but an American problem. They didn’t do anything embarrassing, they’re not “ghetto” they appear to own a nice home, they just happen to be morbidly obese.

    • I didn’t see your comments, but I agree, I think the author did miss some of the major positives that this BLACK family is showing and has. I think they will get better, I hope that they do at least.

  • Brittni

    I agree! Well said.

  • Actually the show is pretty good and i know this may be stretching it, but somewhat educational. At first glance it does appear that TLC is exploiting this very LARGE black family and that they family themselves seem to be oblivious to their health problems due to their weight and size. But as more of the episodes are shown, it does show the family taking notice to their weight issue and most definitely shows the Queen of the household, the black mother, making a bonafide effort to get her family down to a normal healthy size in weight and change their eating and living habits. There are some positives in this show, its a black family that includes a black man and woman married for over 10 years and raising their kids TOGETHER. The kids are not illiterate and speak very well. So there aren’t the assumed negative stereotypical associations with black people in this family. Now, the dad does need to step it up a bit more. As the mother tries and tries to enforce change in the families lifestyle and eating habits, he does appear to be child like and non chalant in wanting to help her, but he is coming along as well. I would like and hope that TLC helps them even more by putting a professional on the scene to help them achieve their family goal of loosing the weight and living better.
    Like I said, the best thing about them is that they are a family and they represent that extremely well, their is no faking in the love and support that they have for one another. They might not be the most appealing looking black people to be represented on television, but again, they are trying and they are together as a family.

    • Brittni

      I agree, but I don’t think TLC should provide them with a trainer or nutritionist. How will be people watching be inspired if they can’t see someone working hard to learn about nutrition and exercise on their own? The average person can’t afford a personal trainer or nutritionist, so I think it keeps it a bit more real to show them struggling through it on their own, making mistakes with recipes, walking the neighborhood and learning how to swim.

  • Jasmine

    What’s wrong with being a stay at home dad. And I don’t think its that deep.

    • Brittni

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a stay at home dad, but the mom is working two jobs and the kids are old enough for him to start doing something else. In fact, the daughter is 16, she is old enough to start working as well.

  • Dee

    This family is turning things around. They are eating healthier, exercising and losing the weight. It’s all in the mind. Once you decided to lose weight and get your mind and body on the same page you can do anything!!