Is Fitness Now Racist?
If you work out and eat healthy, you may be surprised to know that your lifestyle is now the new gateway drug to the alt-right. Apparently MSNBC has blown the lid off of this racist physical fitness conspiracy. In one of their latest articles, they claimed that far-right White supremacist groups are using online workout chats to find and encourage extremist beliefs.
Look at this gem:
“The intersection of extremism and fitness leans into a shared obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition. Physical fitness training, especially in combat sports, appeals to the far right for many reasons: fighters are trained to accept significant physical pain, to be ‘warriors,’ and to embrace messaging around solidarity, heroism, and brotherhood,” writer Cynthia Miller-Idriss explains.
While I’m personally not into MMA, stating that training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition” is a bad thing and a precursor to racial violence is over-the-top nonsense.
Normally fluff pieces like these can be given a wide pass and shrugged off as irrelevant. But Miller-Idriss has a clear agenda, and it’s dangerous. She also wrote the recent articles smearing the Canadian trucker protesters (one of the most peaceful protest ever seen) as far-right extremists.
Not done with stirring up harmful divisiveness, she bizarrely shoehorns physical fitness to the Nazi party saying, “In Mein Kampf, Hitler fixated on boxing and jujitsu, believing they could help him create an army of millions whose aggressive spirit and impeccably trained bodies, combined with “fanatical love of the fatherland,” would do more for the German nation than any “mediocre” tactical weapons training.”
Yes, it all makes sense now. Remember, the Nazis were also known to wear shoes and enjoy breakfast, just like white supremacists today. It’s an uncanny similarity.
All joking aside, while this article is aimed at combat sports, the greater target is everything fitness related. Yes, fitness changes the body, but now it also irreversibly changes your personality, as fitness columnist Zoe Williams at The Guardian explains. Apparently fitness enthusiasts now irritate non-exercisers by even mentioning how good it makes them feel. Intuitively, she understands that the amplification of willpower and grit is a way of overcoming feelings of “unworthiness” by stating, “Hey everyone, we’re better than you.”
Her spiral of loathing rivals the absurdity of Miller-Idriss. Williams genuinely believes that fitness develops a carapace of self-sufficiency; an “off-grid warrior class” mentality. And of course in her mind, this leads to making one more rightwing over time. Yet this type of clumsy deliberation - insisting fitness enthusiasts are racist - simply proves that the cancel-culture train is not slowing down anytime soon.
I don’t want to delve deeply into politics, as that’s not the intent of this blog. But since fitness is my profession, I’m going to state that these ideas are ludicrous and counter to anything I see with my clients. I have not heard one iota of racist talk over 20 years, but that’s not good enough because evidently silence on the matter also implies identifying as white supremacists. You can’t win with crazy!
The Federalist correspondent Tristan Justice tweeted, “In a country where a minority of the population is at a healthy weight, I’m of the opinion that a greater obsession with fitness would be a good thing.”
Past the distraction, that’s the overwhelming point. Evidence points to obesity being extremely dangerous to anyone regardless of race or nationality. The importance of physical fitness spans every aspect from weight control to increased mobility and strength and disease prevention. It’s effective because it includes a comprehensive and interconnected lifestyle of movement, good diet, getting enough rest, and being in a good mental state.
That last part should be re-read again by those looking for racism in every nook and cranny. This craziness highlights the problem with the “everything is racist” hyper-awareness movement: It minimizes the meaning of the word to background noise, says the New York Post.
None of this is to imply that racism doesn’t exist or has never been a problem. Real racism is disgusting and hateful. But an unrealistic and irrational generalization of everything in life being racist (buildings, statutes, teenage braids and even rocks) means we have reached peak absurdity.
There really is a lot to love from the effects of fitness to improve your quality of life; perhaps even to the point of being counted as one of the most most important gifts you can give yourself. In a badly poisoned world through everything we touch and eat, fitness stands out as a last bastion of pure health. So ignore the naysayers and enjoy the endorphins.