As fat people seeking fat liberation, we at Fat Rose see deep value in building alliance and coalition with non-fat people seeking liberation across a wide range of struggles. Fat people benefit when we are in alliance with our thin comrades, understanding our distinct and shared issues, and building a broad fight for justice. This is core to our work at Fat Rose organizing fat radicals to embed fat politics on the left, contributing to building an intersectional fat liberation movement.
It is from this stance that Fat Rose wholeheartedly supports the calls for accountability issued in March by Marquisele Mercedes, ASDAH, and others for thin, white writer and activist Lindo Bacon to shift their leadership role in the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. We are disturbed to read the ways Lindo enacted white supremacy against multiple fat Black leaders in our community, and refused multiple private call-ins before these demands were made public; and, we know that these published accounts only represent the few individuals who were brave enough/legally able to speak out. [We have our own members who can speak to the “whisper networks” of fat people who Lindo Bacon exploited for clout, as Lindo published material that both actively harmed our community and misrepresented fat justice and HAES.] We have been further disturbed to witness Lindo’s April 30th responses to these calls for accountability, in which they are unable to differentiate requests for accountability from ‘bullying.’
Fat Rose rejects Lindo’s attempts to evade these requests for accountability by renaming it ‘bullying.’ Fat people, especially fat Black women, do not deserve to have their political labor vilified in this way. In noting that these responses were published without ANY sharing with close allies, particularly fat comrades, Lindo demonstrates a basic lack of understanding of the relationships and feedback needed to do this kind of liberation work successfully. Fat Rose understands this to be at the heart of the requests for Lindo to cede power.
We encourage our followers to read through the accounts referenced above, and reflect on how white supremacy culture is perpetuated as referenced: including white fragility, performative allyship, sense of urgency, power hoarding, fear of conflict, and individualism.
- To fat folks who are multiply marginalized in our society (BIPOC, superfat, infinifat, trans, neurodiverse, disabled, and low-income folks) we encourage you to keep pushing against these harmful practices in whichever ways are safe and accessible to you. Request accountability where you need it.
- To Lindo Bacon themself, we invite you try again on reimagining the non-negotiable importance of your accountability with fat people, especially fat Black people, if you are doing any work at all with the HAES movement; there is still time to transform your behavior, move with humility, make reparations to the people you have harmed, and cede your platforms as requested by the people you’ve hurt. It might be time for you to be a different kind of leader in HAES community than the one you have been. If you are willing to let go of some of your positionality and power, that might be something to celebrate about the growth and development of this movement.
- To everyone else, we urge you to move beyond reflection and think critically about the actions you can take towards dismantling white supremacy culture and building accountable liberation movements. Where are you learning and seeking feedback? Who are you accountable to in your own work? Are you raising your voice in alliance and concern when fat folks are impacted by how thin comrades are working? We are speaking here especially to people with privilege who did not raise their voices in critique of Lindo’s work and behavior before now, to other white organizers who must dismantle white supremacy culture in their work, and to those who are overrepresented in HAES. We acknowledge that any delays in our own speaking up as an organization, as we continue to find our voice as a multiracial group that is not aligned with HAES, seems to have the detriment of coming across to Lindo as potential ‘silent support’ for their actions. We invite you to join us in finding the places where you can actively cede power to and honor the contributions of super- and infinifat, BIPOC, lower-income fat folks, and those on the margins of our community.
Liberation requires accountability in relationships, especially when we are working toward liberation where other people are more severely impacted than we are. Thin people must be in accountable, listening relationships with fat people to be successful in their fat liberation efforts. At Fat Rose, we’ve learned from Daria at Accountability Mapping, Shannon Perez-Darby at Accountable Communities Consortium, and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective about ways to learn and practice accountability. Some of this work has involved: exploring self-accountability, developing internal feedback systems, and discussing the role of transformative justice in fat liberation. We encourage individuals and organizations to utilize these excellent resources.
Lindo Bacon has profited off of fat labor for far too long. By echoing these demands for accountability, we hope to create a more accountable fat liberation movement, and more safety and compensation for fat Black folks and everyone else impacted by Lindo Bacon’s harm.
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Fat love and solidarity,