Massachusetts bill aims to stem discrimination against the overweight

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Shogun, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. Shogun
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    Shogun Free: Mudholes Stomped

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    NEW YORK — In an overwhelmingly overweight nation that worships thinness, many describe prejudice against the obese as one of the last socially acceptable biases. Advocates for the plus-sized, particularly activists in the "fat acceptance" movement, want obesity to become a category legally protected against discrimination, like religion, race, age and sex. But not everyone agrees.

    One such law, to ban discrimination against weight and height, is pending in Massachusetts.

    "I think it would help mostly because it would send a message that fat people are equal citizens. It's not in the litigation rates, but the rights consciousness that comes after legislation," said Anna Kirkland, an assistant professor of women's studies and political science at the University of Michigan.

    Kirkland, who said she is not overweight, is the author of the just-published "Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood," which examines the question of whether weight should be a protected category.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/health/chi-fatapr28,0,125356.story
     
  2. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    We do not need more of these laws. Employers, in general, are not going to unjustly discriminate against a person unless some trait of that person that is likely to cause him to be a bad employee when compared to other possible employees.

    I remember reading about a deaf person who filed an ADA complaint because he was denied a life-guard job. Uh. Don’t you think that you would be a poor lifeguard if you have difficulty hearing someone scream for help when compared to a lifeguard with no such handicap?

    I also recall a borderline morbidly obese person denied a job at McDonalds. Perhaps the employer thought that the fat kid would have medical problems and have to leave work too often. Perhaps the employer thought that the person might have a heart attack at work. Maybe the employer thought that if would-be customers saw a fat kid serving fattening food, the customers might decide to eat elsewhere. I doubt that the employer simply does not like fat people.

    I think that today’s employers are selective for a reason. The days of unwarranted discrimination are behind us.

    By the way (and I do think that I am going to get “hate bulletin e-mail” for this but) I do think that, to a tiny degree, average size to thin sized people do make better employees than do chronically seriously obsess people. They have more stamina. They are more disciplined in taking care of themselves. Besides that, they have fewer sick days. Please. I’m not talking about those who have a few extra pounds above the ideal weight. I’m talking about the obsess.

    If you want to get more positive attention, then lose the freakin’ weight!

    Comments?
     
  3. LordBrownTrout
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    LordBrownTrout Gold Member

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    A few years ago, stupidity, as in writing law such as this, used to shock me. Not now, its the norm and allows politicians to waste time debating laughable issues.
     
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  4. Dogger
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    Wow, you need to get out into the real world. Employers are more likely to hire people who are similar to the person doing the hiring, unless policies are in place to prevent that. That's Human Resources 101.

    We always think of discrimination as a moral question, but there is a practical component as well. Victims of discrimination get culled from the economy. When racial discrimination was banned, that brought more people into the economy, and created more jobs for workers of all races. Exclusion of minorities was not only immoral, it was bad economic policy.

    The ADA did the same thing. Anecdotal evidence of abuse does not invalidate the need for that law or other employment discrimination laws.

    What happens to people who can't get work because an employer discriminates? They have no income, and thus become a burden on society. They have no medical insurance, so society has to carry that load as well. If weight renders them unable to do the work, that's one thing. But allowing an employer to prejudge them is wrong, and short-sighted.
     
  5. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    Provided that they think that the known person would be a bad employee.

    Decades ago people thought that Blacks were worse than Whites at jobs. I think that affirmative action, the EEOC, and even quotas may have been warranted but those days are gone. If a racial employer declines a great Black person for a job and hires a poor White person, then that employer is going to lose out naturally as the non-prejudicial employer selects the better man.

    Perhaps a tiny bit of ADA is warranted but I think that the pendulum has swung too far when seriously obese and deaf people think that they were unjustly denied employment due to an irrelevant condition.

    They work on improving their condition and removing their handicap. If they are fat, they go on a diet. On the other hand, if they do have a relevant severe mental or physical handicap than can’t be fixed, they are cared for my social security and other programs. A better-qualified non-handicapped person should not lose his job because of a relevantly handicapped person.
     
  6. Dogger
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    Dogger Active Member

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    Could you rephrase that in the form of a responsive sentence?

    How does that prejudice differ from the prejudice expressed against the obese? What makes you think prejudice is gone, anyway? It's less, but not gone. This photograph of Republican Tony Zirkle was taken this month!

    I'm sure you meant "man or woman" or "employee". Funny how even subtle prejudice creeps in.
     
  7. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    Of course you stand a better chance of getting a job if you know people. Still, the people that you know have opinions of you. They must think that you can still do a better job than the next guy can do.

    The obese take more sick leave. They do not have as much stamina. I think that in many cases being obese is s relevant criteria for a prospective employer to consider.
     
  8. mattskramer
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    No. I said "person" and I meant "person".
     
  9. mattskramer
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    mattskramer Senior Member

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    Okay. Perhaps I exaggerated my position a little bit. Anyway, with respect specifically to the obesity issue, I think that we should not have this anti-discrimination law.
     
  10. Dogger
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    Dogger Active Member

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    Here's what you said: "If a racial employer declines a great Black person for a job and hires a poor White person, then that employer is going to lose out naturally as the non-prejudicial employer selects the better man."

    I don't think you meant to exclude women from those who get hired. My point was that subtle psychological factors operate on us and we are not openly aware of them.
     

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