During a recent meeting on poverty, a Republican lawmaker linked poor diet to race, causing a backlash with some fellow elected officials.
With over 46 million Americans living under the poverty line, an effort to bring that number down drastically is happening across the country. In the state of Colorado, the effort is just as strong. During a recent "Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force" meeting in Colorado, Republican Colorado State Sen. Vicki Marble made comments that were met with much backlash. When speaking about poverty, the state Senator blamed poverty rates and health in the African American community on poor diet and an increase in eating too much chicken.
"When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it… Although I've got to say, I've never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I mean love it and everybody loves it. The Mexican diet in Mexico with all of the fresh vegetables. And you go down there and they’re much thinner than when they come up here… they change their diet."
Fighting back against the comments made by Sen. Marble was Rep. Rhonda Fields (D), who didn't take too kindly to the comments made and openly called them racist.
"The title for this committee is Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction; and one of the things I will not tolerate is racist and insensitive comments about African Americans, the color of their skin."
One would think that during a discussion about poverty, the idea of speaking about food and diets each racial groups have is a bit off topic. Many studies, including one done by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, show that poor diet is linked to income and economics, not because of the color of someone's skin. For anyone, let alone an elected official, to blatantly link poor diet to race is simply irresponsible.