Have we learned nothing about discrimination in the last 44 Years? Why are we still dividing kids up based on physical characteristics and encouraging negative stereotypes about those kids? In 1968 a teacher in a small Iowa town did an experiment with her third-grade class. Jane Elliott divided her class based on physical characteristics.
Based only on those physical characteristics, she told her class that one group of children "were better people" than the other group of children. The resulting discrimination, devastated self-esteem, and differences in performance were astonishing. Discrimination hurts. Please watch this Frontline special "A Class Divided" online to learn more about the negative effects of discrimination based on physical characteristics. (Have your tissues ready. You will cry.)
In Disney's Habit Heroes they divide our children into two groups:
- The thin kids who are assumed to be healthy eaters, regular exercisers, and having control of themselves.
- The fat kids (those who have been labeled with "childhood obesity") are assumed to be gluttonous, lazy, out of control snackers
Instead of bullying exhibits like Habit Heroes and hurtful campaigns like the "War on Childhood Obesity" (which could also be called a "War on Large Body Size" ... it is a war on a physical characteristic!) what else can we do? We cannot just ignore the health of our children.
Our schools, doctors, and government should support the five principles of HAES℠:
1. Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes.
2. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects.
3. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes.
4. Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite, and pleasure.
5. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.
In your life, as you write comments online, and in your messages to Disney, YOU can promote this new peace movement.
- Tweet: Against Stigmatization of Children
- Post on Facebook
- Email Disney’s Communications Dept: TWDC.Corp.Communications@disney.com
- Mail: Write Disney Corporate Headquarters: Attention: Kristin Nolt Wingard Senior VP of Public Affairs 1375 Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
- Blog in your own blog, share my blog or share Dr. Deah Schwartz blog or Dr. Yoni Freedhoff’s blog
Hopefully and Tearfully (because I am now watching segment 4 where Jane Elliott is teaching adults her lesson),