IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’M A BIG BLACK GIRL AROUND SMALL WHITE PEOPLE & I’M SUDDENLY FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT (a response to Jen Caron & xoJane.com)

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**Update: I am hosting a body positive yoga class on February 15th, register here!**

Below is my response to Jen Carons “IT HAPPENED TO ME: THERE ARE NO BLACK PEOPLE IN MY YOGA CLASSES AND I’M SUDDENLY FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT” post on xoJane.com yesterday. Here is an excerpt of what she wrote:

A few weeks ago, as I settled into an exceptionally crowded midday class, a young, fairly heavy black woman put her mat down directly behind mine. It appeared she had never set foot in a yoga studio—she was glancing around anxiously, adjusting her clothes, looking wide-eyed and nervous. Within the first few minutes of gentle warm-up stretches, I saw the fear in her eyes snowball, turning into panic and then despair. Before we made it into our first downward dog, she had crouched down on her elbows and knees, head lowered close to the ground, trapped and vulnerable. She stayed there, staring, for the rest of the class.

Because I was directly in front of her, I had no choice but to look straight at her every time my head was upside down (roughly once a minute). I’ve seen people freeze or give up in yoga classes many times, and it’s a sad thing, but as a student there’s nothing you can do about it. At that moment, though, I found it impossible to stop thinking about this woman. Even when I wasn’t positioned to stare directly at her, I knew she was still staring directly at me. Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body.

Now, I’d like to share my story… IT HAPPENED TO ME: I’M A BIG BLACK GIRL AROUND SMALL WHITE PEOPLE & I’M SUDDENLY FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE WITH IT (a response to Jen Carons)

A few weeks ago I was taking a 7am class at an small/pricey fitness center in NYC. The classes at this fitness center only have 12 people in them which means we all get lots of personal attention. While the majority of the students in my class were women, I was the only black woman in the class. Actually, I was the only black person in the class… and for what its worth, I was the only plus size person in the class too.

Before class began we all introduced ourselves. There was a Kristy, a Liz, a Lisa, some other names I can’t remember and me, CeCe.

For the duration of the class, our bubbly blonde instructor encouraged everyone by name, “Nice Kristy!”, “Good job Liz!”, etc. she would also encourage me “Go, Girl!” she’d say… “Alright, Girl!”… “Nice, GIRL!” she’d yell standing over me with a beaming smile.

Everyone else in the class was called by name, but I, the only fat black woman in the class was called “Girl” (or was it “Guurl”?)

Jen Carons account of being made hyper aware of her white-ness and her skinny-ness while in the presence of a big black woman resonated with me because I am in that situation regularly, of course I play the role of the confused black woman who doesn’t understand why people constantly talk about their color and size when they’re around me.

Can you imagine what it would be like to have people make announcements about the color of their skin or the size of their body every time they saw you? Welcome to my world!

Like when white men grab me to dance at a bar and then interrupt our fun to announce “I’m such a white boy, right?”

Or when small white women wistfully tell me how much they really wish they could gain weight and be more “curvy”.

You see, from where I sit Jen’s sudden awareness of her whiteness was only a reflection of how hyper aware she was of the big black woman in such close, intimate proximity to her.

I mean, it would be racist weird to say “OMG! You’re so big and black!” so instead she says “OMG! I’m so white and small”

As a plus size woman of color, people are constantly “telling on themselves” in regards to how they see me. It could be as simple as calling me “girl” instead of my name or being shocked when I sing along to Incubus songs, it could be something as nuanced as mentioning their own appearance in contrast to mine, or as awkward as quoting Tyler Perry to me and assuming I’ll get the reference (I won’t).

If Jen Caron would like to think about how a big black girl feels, she can think about one of my realities: I’ve come to accept that for many of my associates, I am a big black woman for a very long time and then once they get over their own stereotypical interpretations of what that is, I become a person named CeCe.

I do give Jen credit for trying to put herself in my shoes though, she said…

I thought about how that must feel: to be a heavyset black woman entering for the first time a (yoga) system that by all accounts seems unable to accommodate her body. What could I do to help her?

The answer to that is easy, I don’t need your help… I’m good!

Side Plank

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  • MilaXX

    AMEN! I too have been the big, black fat woman only in my case it was a pilates class and that look on my face wasn’t sue to any anger at the skinny women in the class with me, it was concentration as I tried to do the moves & allow my body to adjust to new and strange positions.

    • thebiggirlblog

      Yes!!! She’s totally projecting her angry black woman stereotypes.

      • Lela

        Right?! CeCe, when I saw the photo of you doing side plank, my first thought was “Ouch!” (After a long yoga hiatus my skinny-but-weak arms shake uncontrollably with side plank.)

      • Crystal Lee Jones

        Unfortunately, some of my stick thin sisters make a career out of projecting. So much so, that no matter how sweet you are, they still can’t believe it, and dissect everything you say to make it angry, when it is as far from it is it can be. It is so irritating. I’m so through.

        • Sara Tinch

          Maybe this reaction is a bit harsh, but if your stick thin sisters are really so terrible about projecting that they see everything as being aggressive no matter how nice you or anyone else is, then they’re probably people not worth knowing. That’s pretty sad to think that people can be so blinded by their own assumptions that they see kind people as threats.

          • Crystal Lee Jones

            LAWD Sara!!!! I’ve bent over backwards so hard to be kind that my back is bent permanently.
            As an example, there was a time at my old job when I was told that I was “too chatty” and needed to get to the point more quickly when greeting customers who came up to my desk. OK, point taken. Instead, I started saying “Good Morning (or Good Afternoon)! What can I help you with today?” In my usual cheerful tone. I was told later that I was being terse. I give up.

          • Sara Tinch

            Aw, that’s unfortunate. Really, beyond unfortunate… that’s frustrating and really unfair. I’m sorry. When I’m faced with situations like that I remind myself that I can only control my own attitude and actions and cannot control the feelings and actions of others. I’m glad to hear that was your old job at least. I hope your new job is treating you better. You are clearly far too nice a person to deserve such backlash.

  • NikkiInch
    • http://www.honestuniquebeautiful.net/blog Robin C.F.

      omg Thank you for that link! I love it, too.

  • thefatgirloffashion

    It’s weird when people make comments like that. Another comment that gets me is when people say you’re prove to wear that. *Stops music*. Excuse me come again,lol. You’re then ofen made to feel like you’re solely representing the whole “black” and or “plus size” nation.

    • thebiggirlblog

      Yes, from people who never have to represent their entire people lol…

  • http://zerostyleblog.com/ Erin

    this. was. awesome. definitely sharing!

    • thebiggirlblog

      Thanks Erin!! xo

  • radicalhw

    CeCe, your side plank is perfect–and this post is even better.

    • thebiggirlblog

      LOL! Thanks… on both counts ;-)

      • SnowStormsinDetroit

        I’m a black male… And No offense but your analysis of Jen is dead wrong. She was using coded language to clown the hell outta black women. And probably one who did nothing more than cut in front of her at the damn water fountain. She knows by saying she ran home and cried about it she’d get a pass… But trust me .. Her message was in code.

        And don’t you dare allow her to get away with that by saying you’ve been subjected to it before. You’re beautiful but you’re displaying classic weight self-insecurity by reconciling her word for her.

        I know this game bc IM A MASTER AT IT. I’m not joking or trying to be cute. I insult white people to the highest degree in the most innocent polite ambiguous ways possible with out them ever knowing I’m actually scorching the earth with their corpses!!

        Jena entire article was a masquerade.

        • Clara Bee

          And this, Mr. Expert Opinion, is what “mansplaining” looks like. Without knowing all of the details or even the author personally, you’ve taken it upon yourself to let the writer know she is in your pseudo-expert opinion that she is wrong, insecure, and lacking in discernment. Get over yourself (and hopefully your odd bitterness towards the world). This was a beautifully written, insightful piece of writing. Why can’t you, as a “black male” just congratulate her for her article? Patting her on the head and condescendingly hinting that you know more than her is misplaced.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Mansplaining???

            Listen.. Save all that new millennium trendy ass lezbo talk for the white folks who taught it to you..no body real even says that shit- instead of riding my nutz you need to go read the xojane Op. And if you have read it why are you wasting time trying to have a cat fight with me instead of pointing this woman in the right direction???

            Unless of course you were also feeling all warm and fuzzy inside bc the white tramp shed tears as she steam rolled over every thick Black woman who’s ever done yoga with whites.

          • DeWayne Robeson

            White liberals really aren’t as enlightened and tolerant as they seem to think they are. I find it intersting that entitled white female Clara Bee desribes SnowStorminDetroit as “mansplaining” and telling him “get over urself”. Why don’t you take your own fugging advice and get over YOURSELF, princess! It’s not the World’s job to make privileged liberal white yuppie chicks feel secure. Sometimes you’re going to find yourself in situations and around people that make you feel self-conscious. Suck it up, buttercup.

          • Lolo

            Is that you, Mr.Expert Opinion?

          • DeWayne Robeson

            Nope. It’s Mr Just-the-facts-maam. ;-)

        • DReed

          OMG, another black man that thinks white people owe him something….get a life, idiot

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Yes group me… I’m perfectly fine with it… Grouping helps the simple mind relate. So good for you. But for the record I have tons of white friends as well as colleagues and happen to enjoy most whites.. Which is why I drag the fraudulent ones to hell. Bc there is simply no excuse for Bigotry. But here my misguided little child- read what THIS black woman’s take on the Op was… And call her all kinda of names that suit you. And after reading this I hope you realize that some of us DONT PLAY THIS SHIT.

            http://m.xojane.com/issues/it-happened-to-me-i-read-an-essay-about-a-white-womans-yoga-class-black-woman-crisis-and-i-cannot

          • DReed

            I don’t need to read that, thanks. I am not misguided. I can point out a fake pretty well. I have read some of your other posts and you can ‘pretent’ to like white people, but the posts say otherwise. And what’s with the caps?? DON’T PLAY THAT SHIT? HAHA….Intelligent.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            I’m not surprised at all you wouldn’t venture to read it..even tho it comes from xojane which is the source of the original Op…. But see Forrest …that sums you up. Not me.

            And I already know I’m not intelligent…. I waste my time trying to bring light to simple minded ass Neanderthals like you lol lol
            How intelligent could I possibly be???

          • DReed

            Yeah I actually have a life and not 1000′s of posts on here like you. I work for a living. I have read the original post, it was YOUR comment that we were talking about. (Insulting white people to the highest degree?) Who’s the bigot now? And by attempting to slam me with your little “Forrest” comments shows how small your mind really is…very sad! Off to save lives now!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            If you’re a Doctor so was Suess!! Lol lol

            Pathetic liar. And btw this was the first thread I’ve posted on this site EVER!! and when I say ever… I really mean EVER!!! So you were exposed as a liar off rip.

            So go save those lives Suess.

          • DReed

            really? Scroll over your name…it says how many posts? Derr and I didn’t once say I was a Doctor…again, dumbass. Do Nurses not save lives? Come visit me, I will give you the enema you clearly need! You really need some education

          • Toya

            I could be wrong but that could be his Disqus comment count. Lots of sites use Disqus for commenting now. So with him saying this is his first time posting here he wouldn’t be lying.

          • DReed

            possibly, I am not too sure. It seems he lives on his computer. He is a very bitter person….assume he doesn’t even LIKE himself.

          • Toya

            No I just checked mine. It is the Disqus comment count.

          • BUCCOMAN

            Black people are the most racist people on the planet. Easily. Quit bitching and whining all the time. Get your fucking shit together and return my neighbors bike.

          • Toya

            But what you just typed right there wasn’t? African Americans or Blacks can be Bigots but because of the power structure in this country are not racist.

            But that is another discussion for another thread that is not this one.

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Oh please what a total fucking cop out. The power structure? Nearly every black person I know has a chip on their shoulder toward white people. For no reason other than racism.

          • Toya

            *rolls eyes*

            another discussion for another thread…

          • DARTHBUCCO

            That’s right walk away. You have no leg to stand on here.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Wait…..wait…. You can’t possibly be this stupid– otherwise you wouldn’t even know how to use the interwebs!!!

            Scrolling over names will show you how much you’ve posted with DISQUS!! Which is the blog platform for zillions of sites Forrest!!! Lmaooo.

            Wooww… Ok Well I’m sure you’re trailer park is crawling with meth heads in need of an I.V. So ya better kick rocks.

          • DReed

            AGAIN you ignorant POS, I don’t live on my computer. Wanna know what a trailer park is??? BAHAHA you live in Detroit. Get your food stamps this month? Do you work you porch monkey?

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Of course I work .. I’m working the shit outta your nerves right now!!

            And listen… You should take it easy Forrest …don’t get all worked up.. Your house might unhinge and start rolling down the street!!! Bwahahahahaa!!

            You don’t want your uncles to see that now do ??

          • DReed

            yeah you’re just mad because an educate, snowflake, called you out. Have a nice night, hope your burn barrels are stocked, it’s suppose to be cold!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Laughed out loud!!! Burn barrels!! Still laughing… That’s some seriously funny shit right there.. I’ve never even heard of that shit!!! Lol lol but it’s funny.. Ok ok that was a good one Forrest!! You have a good one…

            Oh …..and your mom says Dont wait up!!!

          • DReed

            Sorry, my mom doesn’t do trailer trash!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            That’s not what your dad says.

          • DReed

            Dads dead, fuck face….insert foot!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Shows how gooda nurse you actually are!!
            (Insert middle finger)
            Lmfoaaaoo

          • DReed

            I know…I am so envious of you. I wish I could sit on my ass and have the state pay for me… How come you aren’t responding to these other posts? Running away???

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Sambo is scared. He’s gonna go fuck him a fat bitch. As I’m typing this he probably just stole my hub caps.

          • DReed

            will they fit on his Escalade??

          • DARTHBUCCO

            In Imagination Land anything is possible

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Haven’t replied bc This is between US!! Me… You and YOUR MOM!! No one else!!

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Wait a minute. You’re black. You have no fucking clue who your Dad is. Neither does your mother.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Lmaoooo!!! Ohhhh shit!!!

          • DReed

            He’s talking to you you fucking MORON!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            I realize that… It was funny as hell.. Can’t I enjoy a good insult??? I mean you don’t really think you lame ass squirrel hunting inbred meth fiends can actually upset me?? Do you?? I don’t mean any offense by this.. But I know when I’m dealing with white trash and am not offended bc you fools don’t know any better. You guys just wish you were rich like the others —but you’re not .. You’re poor as fuck. And have a great sense of humor. Just like most poor people

          • DReed

            yeah keep telling yourself that. WHITE POWER!!!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Ahhwww That’s what you yell right b4 the ballifs come to sit your shit on the curb and evict you for non-payment of rent!!! Lol lol
            All yall broke ass near do wells!!!

          • DReed

            the baliff? You mean Bailiff? and no, they work in the courts!! HAHAHA Dumbass!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            You must be pretty… Bc you are DUMB AS FUCK!!! Lol lol

            Who exactly do the Bailiffs work for Forrest??

          • DReed

            I’m sure you are probably on 1st name basis with them up there in da hood, but no, they are there for the Judges… taking trash to and from…

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            They only do that in rural areas!! B wwwwwahahahahahahahahha!!!! I knew it!! I knew it!!! You fuckers are from Iowa

            nahhhh fuck that … Fuck that….. From …. KENTUCKY!!! Cracking the fuck up!!!!!!! I’m done bitch… I was really thinking you was the next racist white bitch i was gonna meet up with and whose pussy I was gonna fuck to death until your back was broke… But Noooooo thanks I don’t do KENTUCKY!!!!!!! DUECES… This will be my last post.

          • DReed

            Ummmm wrong there black magic, if you think that Kentucky is the only rural area in the US you are extremely stupid. I don’t believe I have used “y’all” or anything southern…so no Mr. T, you are wrong

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Mr T is black. This guy is a worthless shit talking fucking nigger. Black people even know the difference

          • ThePREZ

            I will agree with you on that sir! Curb bite anyone?

          • ThePREZ

            im actually in the cell next to you.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            From its staff, the Court may appoint by court order bailiffs as peace officers, who shall have, during the stated terms of such appointment, such powers normally incident to police officers, including, but not limited to, the power to make arrests in a criminal case, provided that the exercise of such powers shall be limited to any building or real property maintained or used as a courthouse or in support of judicial functions.[citation needed]

          • DReed

            I can copy and paste from the internet as well. No, they do not evict ppl. Maybe that’s how they roll in Detroit, but not here. I am so glad you took the time to look that up thou!

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Bitch you dumb as a doorknob and I love you for it. lol lol

          • DReed

            really? I bet I can kick your ass at ANYTHING Educational…Not basketball or anything that Boos can do better.

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Home Boy knows internet clip n paste. I learned that in grade school asshole. Being a lifetime criminal who’s been in court countless times doesn’t qualify you as an expert. I’m shocked a black man used an underhanded method to try to appear to be legit.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Áll that racial vitriol but your dumbass knows what a bailiff is now don’t you Jethro!!! Lol lol
            Get off my nuts… I’m not gonna fuck your mouth so stop trying you creepy ass stalker.. And no I don’t want to go “hunting” with you and Eric!!

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Her mother is white but she’s under 350lbs. You wouldn’t be interested

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Sit back and relax with a nice grape soda home boy. Fire up some KFC too. No worries, the working man has the tab.

          • DReed

            I have a feeling he’s a little intimidated by you…he wont respond to your posts

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Typical nigger. Big and bad with a female but pissing down his leg when a man fires back. A WHITE MAN TO BOOT.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Ahhhh look at you two frolicking!!! You bring the needle and he brings the crack am I right?

          • DARTHBUCCO

            No, that is how “dating” might be in Nigger Land. Doesn’t translate to an educated, working society. Typically a nigger does 15 to life after “sex”.

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Listen.. Understand this. I realize how you guys roll. I honestly do. Talk all that tuff shit… Act all hard to impress the girls…but you really don’t want her at all. Do you?? Tell the truth. You want me to fuck your dirty little mouth.. But listen Darth… I’m not gay.. So let me and her play our games in peace… and you get back to your little brother and all that interracial Gay porn..

          • DReed

            White is right, if it’s black throw it back…no charcoal for me! I have higher standards

          • DReed

            again, it will be my post he comments on

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Ok but when he keeps trying to fuck you in your ass and accidentally calls you Eric don’t say I didn’t warn you!!! lol lol
            And you ever notice his dog gets all uncomfortable when he’s in the room!! Lmaooo
            Ok but honestly you so poor and stupid you don’t even know what a bailiff is!! Exactly how poor ARE YOU BITCH????? Bwahahaha!!!
            It’s been real Seuss!! For some reason I think you’re sexy… So when Darth goes “hunting” with all his guy friends over the weekend give me a shout!!

            Peace you dirty ass rats!!! I fucking need a tetanus shot …. Talking this long to y’all filthy ass trailer trash.

            Darth leave your little brother alone …. That’s fuck up and just bc your uncle fondled you doesn’t make it right.

          • DReed

            give me your addy, we’ll keep in touch,,,just make sure you don’t tow that house before my mail arrives!

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Nice try nigger. Again with the gay shit with you. Picture this coon dog. I fuck ACTUAL sexy white women. You fuck OBESE CELLULITE INFESTED white women. My women weigh as much as your bitches kankle. So take your “I think I’m so slick nigger shit and get the fuck out of here.

          • DARTHBUCCO

            You can talk all the jive you want boy. The only thing that matters is we are here and you are there. Keep hating white people boy. We gave up hating you years ago. You are stupid enough to do our work for us. Against yourselves…haha. Keep “representing” your sets and killing each other. You think it makes you tough. We laugh like Hell every day. Thanks for being stupid niggers.

          • ThePREZ

            There is no use in even trying to talk to this shit stick. What an asshole. Your wasting your breath. He will never comprehend what you understand. He had to go. The guards said rec time was over for him and time to go back to his cell. How many years do you get again anyway for licking the neighbor’s dog’s asshole?

          • DARTHBUCCO

            You’re not gay? Seriously? Everything you just said is so flaming gay I’m guessing you just set the room on fire. Who the fuck are you trying to convince? Enjoy AIDS you ass ramming jungle bunny. Don’t worry, my white folks and I will still foot the bill for your entire family trees existence.

          • ThePREZ

            I shit niggers like you every morning. Nothing you have said has made any sense but prove to everyone your a typical Welfare boo. It pisses me off that this is what all my hard earned taxes pay for. I do appreciate you trying to be intelligent and all but i’m not impressed. If you truly want to work, let me know. There’s cotton to be pickin here down south….”Boy”.

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Haahahahahahahaha the Prez is the shit. Fuck you nigger. Be a good “boy” and thank me for paying for your black ass. Your people are and always will be a drain on society. I hate niggers.

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Isn’t being a jigaboo this assholes full time job?

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Shouldn’t you be out fucking obese, poverty stricken white bitches?

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            To be honest… The thought did cross my mind..
            But it’s actually very bad weather here right now… And Them bitches can’t make it thru the snow… And I Just got my Escalade washed so I damn sure ain’t going to pick their asses up.

          • DARTHBUCCO

            Escalade? You are so full of shit no wonder you are brown “homie”. You drive your fat ass white bitches mothers car at best. Probably use her cell phone and computer too

          • DReed

            Ohhh also, Dr Seuss is spelled like that <~~~~

          • SnowStormsinDetroit

            Yea that shit was looking kinda strange when I sent it..it’s a good thing you keep em handy.

          • DReed

            yeah I do, I read to my kids, thats what happens when you have an education!

        • guest

          You definitely made some valid points. She was very deliberate in using language to seem sympathetic and not offensive. Because at the true core of Caron’s piece, her so-called sympathy was fake and shady.

        • juju

          How racist. Just because someone else does it, it is not right.

    • Sara Tinch

      I was going to say the exact same thing. :)

    • Lanus

      Yeah, If I ever stare at you in yoga class, it’s because I’m freaking jealous of your strong and beautiful prana. My feeble kermit arms will have conspired with my arthritic wrists, and thus collapsed, leaving me in a gasping heap on my mat.

    • Yoga Teacher

      Actually, she should have her bottom hand underneath her shoulder more. Her shoulders need to be more organized in general. She needs a longer yoga mat. Also, take off the shoes and fitness gloves;)

      • ShapesandSizes

        This is how people learn. She didn’t say she was perfect. She’s in class just like everyone else. She’s growing and learning. Thanks for helping her out with some tips. Great support.

      • Yoga Student

        That’s why it’s yoga practice and not yoga perfection ;)

  • Klalle00 Personal

    Thanks for posting your experience. For some readers this is the first time this experience has ever been brought to their attention.

  • Tikeetha Thomas

    Tell it! I think when people see plus size women working out they feel a certain way with their attitude and mannerisms. No, I won’t know every move, but yes I will try and yes, I may have to stop and rest, but I’m going to keep doing it.

    • thebiggirlblog

      *high five*

    • http://www.krymeariver.com/ Krystal

      They definitely do feel a certain way. I about 300 pounds myself and I got a personal training session yesterday and everyone in the gym either side eyed in confusion or felt they really had to congratulate me HARD for working out. I think the latter is sweet and well meaning but would they say all that to a thin woman? Sorry if that was a bit off topic lol But keep doing you!

      • thebiggirlblog

        They’re “soooo proud” of you, right? lol ;-)

        • http://www.krymeariver.com/ Krystal

          lol right. You’re the writer of this blog right? I gotta give you ALL THE KUDOS if so because like i said i’m plus size, 300 pounds, but i’m trying to get healthy. I’m not healthy at this weight (sleep apnea, joint pain, blood pressure) but I was 400 pounds so i’m doing it. I just feel so bad for other women unlike myself, Tikeetha above, and yourself who don’t go out there and try because they’re so afraid of the judgement(and obviously if the lady posting about the yoga about the womans color and size people ARE judging) so they don’t try and get their exercise on. People of all shapes and sizes wanna be healthy why is that so hard for people to grasp?

          • thebiggirlblog

            Yup, I’m the writer… you’re doing amazing things, keep in touch! xoxo
            @CeCeOlisa
            http://www.plussizeprincess.com plussizeprincess.tumblr.com

          • http://www.krymeariver.com/ Krystal

            Most definitely. You’ve inspired me to get my blog back started again. my link if it still works is krymeariver.com lol and my twitter is anti_insipid i’ll definitely keep in touch thank you!

          • Crystal Lee Jones

            They just can’t grasp it for some reason. It is so very irritating! Sigh…

          • http://www.krymeariver.com/ Krystal

            sigh indeed lol

          • Malene Rander Comes

            Hey Ladies – I too am a girl of size – immense size that is getting significantly smaller. I started to walk 9000 miles in a giant loop around the US. I just finished my trip to the Grand Canyon – More here: http:traveltheunitedstates.wordpress.com
            or on Facebook: A Conversation with America

          • http://www.krymeariver.com/ Krystal

            wow!

      • Matt

        Krystal, I would congratulate you much more than a thin woman because I know how difficult it is to work out as a significantly overweight person, both physically and emotionally. Not only do you have to deal with exercises being more difficult due to being overweight, you also have to deal with feeling self-conscious, like people don’t think you “belong” in the gym. I would congratulate you not only because you likely can use all the encouragement you can get, but also because you deserve to be congratulated. Is it wrong of me to be “proud” of you?

        • http://www.krymeariver.com/ Krystal

          Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words and for you being proud of me. It is definitely not wrong.

    • Lela

      Exactly! May I add that this does not only apply to plus size women? Speaking from experience, being skinny does not necessarily equal being coordinated, nimble, athletic, etc.

  • Aii-Meka Shoemaker

    I read the chick’s article and she may as well titled it “Carrie Bradshaw meets Precious”. What was the black woman’s response supposed to be? Surely she didn’t think she would get an invite to speak to us “big black guls” at a self esteem camp. More than that, I’m pretty tired of them using disrespectful tactics towards the black community for attention. It’s getting really old really quickly.

    • thebiggirlblog

      Yes, part of me feels this is a ploy for site clicks…. smh

  • Alina

    oh but this was fun to read. And I say fun, meaning funny and refreshing because you’re so, so right but yet you don’t seem super angry about this ridiculousness, which is very cool of you. Also, jealous of your side-plank skills.

    • thebiggirlblog

      Hmmm why are you looking for anger from me?

      • Alina

        I wasn’t exactly looking for anger from you, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if you were angry since I think it would have been a justifiable response in this case. Instead, you took the higher road and decided to respond with humor and cleverness! which I think in this case is more effective. hope that explains what I meant :)

        • http://www.honestuniquebeautiful.net/blog Robin C.F.

          “High Road.” What an interesting choice, there. Half the things that inspire indignation from some cultural groups gets little more than a shrug from overweight people and ethnic people. We’re used to it. Repeated exposure to being the odd-man-out does not make any of us truly angry. Alina, even your response to her question implies that you expected anger, here. It seems like you’re congratulating the author for not being ‘difficult.’ *ahem* Effective for what, exactly? I truly want to understand where you’re coming from on this.

          • Jey.

            I think Alina means that Cece actually broke the whole stereotype of angry black woman by responding quite well even when she had a right to be mad because someone was projecting stereotypical ‘angry black woman’ thoughts on her/that black woman during yoga class. I agree with her btw.

          • http://www.honestuniquebeautiful.net/blog Robin C.F.

            But Black women break the stereotype, constantly, because we rarely respond angrily to anything. …especially articles as bland as the “source” material. What was in the story to get angry about? It’s laughable like so many things that show a person’s latent raci… um…. cluelessness. I think it’s quite telling when a person or group of people turns to me and goes “Good job on not being a stereotype! *thumbs up*”

  • Ronnie Walter

    “Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair
    turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward
    me and my body.”

    So let me get this straight, she could feel despair, resentment and contempt toward her–this must be some woo-woo yoga class to get all that from a woman in the class. Who know what she would have gotten if I had been there!

    • thebiggirlblog

      Right! What she described sounded to me like a woman focusing on her childs pose…. but what do I know ;-)

  • NinjaCate

    “The answer to that is easy, I don’t need your help… I’m good!” *deathdrop*
    This is awesome. Thanks for writing it.

  • Greendayer

    Color has nothing to do with size. Being overweight is not healthy.

    • Guest

      You have totally missed the point of this article. Of course, color has nothing to do with size. of course, being overweight is unhealthy. Why do you think she was at an exercise class? DUH!!

      And if color has nothing to do with the article, why did she even describe the woman as an overweight BLACK woman? Why didn’t she simply say, an overweight woman.

      • Greendayer

        The point is that the yoga leader saw it as a racial thing. My point is that that she shouldn’t have.

        Hope this helps.

  • http://www.honestuniquebeautiful.net/blog Robin C.F.

    PREACH! This is why I’m never willing to entertain those “After-gym” conversations with White people that just happened to notice me and assume I need reassurance or help. I’m quick to let them know I can’t even imagine what they’re apologizing for and why they’re so self-conscious that they’re projecting that onto me. All smiles & all shade for people like Jen Caron.

  • Boleyj

    I love this response! I think this girl should focus more on her own mat during yoga.

  • Stacy Hackner

    The original article just kind of sounds like the woman is a TERRIBLE YOGA INSTRUCTOR. Instead of focusing on a struggling student, she was all wah wah #whitepeopleproblems. Wish my plank could be that good!

  • Soraya Senosier

    Thank you for your response! I just want to be me, and I find it exhausting to be everyone’s image of whom they think I am.

    • CeCe Olisa

      *sigh* I know

  • jenx

    Thank you, CeCe. I am a “not small” yoga instructor and tend to get judged for not looking “the part”.

    • chelle

      i am confused. why is it so hard to believe that full figured women of color exercise? wow people are such idiots. because we are full figured/big women does not mean we do not care about ourselves. duh!! it is just crazy to me how people think. please stop assuming and judging us. we care about ourselves you never know what is really going on in our lives stop being the judge. we only have 1 who is the judge GOD!!!

      • Marz

        I think people have a hard time believing that full figured women of any color/race exercise period. I think a lot of people think anyone overweight or obese just sits on the couch eating donuts all day, and to see things that conflict with that is somehow shocking.

        • Crystal Lee Jones

          We don’t fit in with their stereotype so we therefore aren’t real. They can’t put it together in their tiny brains and I’m tired of trying to explain it to them.

    • Sara Tinch

      People can be so dumb. If they can’t literally see the muscle, they assume that you are out of shape and/or do not work out. Um, excuse me?! Some people are just built differently. One of the strongest and best athletes at my high school didn’t look “fit”, but she was phenomenal.

  • YogiUnicorn

    You look so radiant. Spot on reply and awesome Vasistasana! xx

  • Jessica

    Thank you for that!!!

  • http://www.kazzledazz.com/ Kadia Blagrove

    Love this!!

  • http://www.kazzledazz.com/ Kadia Blagrove

    Check out my “response” lol

    It Happened To Me: There Are No White People In My Twerk-Out Class And I’m Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It

    http://www.kazzledazz.com/it-happened-to-me-there-are-no-white-people-in-my-twerk-out-class-and-im-suddenly-feeling-uncomfortable-with-it/

    • vanillaaliza

      probably the funniest reaction ever

    • Amanda

      hahaha I loved it

    • Yolande Gibson Vicks

      Girl! too dang funny!

      • Missy

        Girl!

  • Cali Cheryl

    What did she go to class for? Why was she paying so much attention to the black woman in class. Why was she so mesmerized that a heavy black woman would come to work out? DUH!! Every person needs some kind of cardio exercise!

    I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body.
    It amazes me how people can look at you an literally INTERPRET your thoughts and feelings. How can you feel someone else’s resentment and contempt? I am so tired of non-black people thinking that all black people want to do is be like them!! Newsflash: some of us are very comfortable in our own skin!! Big, small, medium or whatever. Get a life and stop trying to interpret what we think or feel! And NOBODY is trying to be like YOU!!!!

    The sad truth is the black woman could have been ill. Maybe she had a cramp. I’ve been to a class and done the same thing she did because I couldn’t get a cramp to go away.

    as a student there’s nothing you can do about it. What could I do to help her?

    Actually there was something she could do: Mind your own damn business and stop staring at her making her even more comfortable!!

    When my brother was in law school he encountered a situation I’ll never forget. Let me give the year so there is no misunderstanding. The year is 1997. My brother competed in a Moot Court competition in Law School which had a prize award of $500 to the winner only. My brother is 6′ tall and weighs about 150. He is a very slim guy but also very dark complexioned. Actual sitting judges are the judges for the competition. My brother made it to the final round and his final competitor was a white girl about 5’2″ about 100 lbs. My brother tore her up in his final analysis and she seemed almost afraid of him while they were discussing the issues. It was obvious to everyone present who had one. I even heard his opponent say, “He won.” My brother had faced better competition in the previous round. When the judges took a break to make their decision, the alumni of the school met briefly. This was a big event and many important people at the law school were present. Two things happened that struck me. First, before they announced the winner, the alumni association asked if they could speak. They announced that they were going to give the runner up a prize of $250. Now this was spur of the moment, the last round after all of the other students had been eliminated. Never in the history of the school had this been done! After that announcement we KNEW who won. They had a consolation prize for the cute little white girl that everybody pitied. Even the white students were mad!! Also, each person was given a critique. One judge said to my brother, “Be careful with how you express yourself. You manner can be taken to be violent or too aggressive.” He then added, “You’re already a BIG guy.” Now my brother is literally a stick man (straight up and down) and not much taller than most men but he was seen as a threat, an aggressive, forceful man. And of course, the little princess walked away with the consolation prize just as happy as she could be. This reminded me of your situation because of what you said. It wasn’t that you were so big and black, it was that SHE was so white and small. It wasn’t’ that my brother was so big and black, it was that his opponent was so small and white.

    I totally concur with your sentiments except I’ll expand your context to include all of us and say, “We’re good!!”

    Finally, let me say that you are a beautiful woman. I don’t think you do, but don’t let other people’s idiosyncrasies about you, affect you. When we begin to define ourselves and who we are, we are less affected by other people’s sicknesses. I wish my plank looked as good as yours!! You go CECE!!!

    • MDQ

      Yup. There’s all sorts of weird stuff. Two classmates from law school, African American women, did the Moot Court. At the end, the judges kept on saying how they were “articulate”. Obnoxious.

    • Crystal Lee Jones

      If I had a dime…no a penny, for every time I’ve been told that I have “A Presence” or that I “Needed to watch how I ‘appear’ to people” because I’m large and in charge, I’d be rich. Basically, I’ve gotten to the point that if people feel threatened by me, that is their problem. I can’t take blame or credit for their insecurities. Geez!!!!! What losers!

      • http://cynthiaschames.tumblr.com/ Cynthia Schames

        People say that shit to me too. All the time.
        I’m 5’1″.

        (And by the way I only “look” lily white. My great-grandmother was a gorgeous and very dark-skinned Nigerian.)

    • ClioMusing

      I completely agree with the “mind your own business”. Really, who’s investing that much energy obsessing about the person standing next to them in class? But I also agree that we shouldn’t assign thoughts and feelings to other people based on their size or skin colour.
      I was a competitive debater in college and I’m still in academia. A lot of people then and now assume that I am weak and dumb, that I haven’t really earned my degrees or my accolades or my spot at the table because I’m “a cute, little white girl.” Obviously, what the judge said to your brother was idiotic and racist, and the consolation prize was dumb, but that “little princess” could well have been more pissed about it than you were — I certainly would have been — because it presupposed that she was weaker and lesser, rather than having an off-round.

  • Allison McGevna

    Cece – I applaud you so much for this post. It was extremely powerful, especially the mention of size and race entering the room before we as people do. Thank you for writing such a powerful response.

  • Patti

    I think some people are so unaware of the fact that their remarks are insensitive and insulting. They can’t comprehend that being black or being fat is not a handicap. This is probably the result of having a very limited life experience with others, yes even here in the melting pot that is NYC.

  • Florence

    “…The answer to that is easy, I don’t need your help… I’m good!”

    YESSSSS! TWO CIRCLES AND A SNAP

  • meg

    thank you for writing this response! you are awesome.

  • erin

    Lovely! The post, the photo and you!

  • tommyloyd

    You are doing a good job Cece, keep working on the things you notice. Your awareness is appreciated and I am taking your blog to heart. BTW, that is one nice side plank you got there!

    • thebiggirlblog

      Thank you, I will!

  • Waverly

    I found your blog thanks to that idiots article, & I think you’re freakin great! I’m happy that something good (finding your blog) could come from something bad, & let me say your ending response & picture were the icing on the cake :)

  • ingrid

    it’s truly a sad and misguided to me that white and/or fit people think that they need to “save” or “encourage” people of other races and body types. like… who the eff made you the high moral ground of driving good behavior into people? I blame Hollywood and dumb ass movies where white women save black people like Gangster’s Paradise and other one with Sandra Bullock and the football player dude. stop “saving” people you have already judged as needing to be saved.
    1) you’re not Jesus and 2) Jesus wasn’t even white. (not that I’m religious at all, but it seemed fitting to bring this up in this context for those who may be).

    • Zuba Libre

      As an FYI the Sandra Bullock movie was based on a very real story about a young man that was most definitely in need of saving.
      Also? Her character also encourages several of her friends that are *worried* about bringing a *stranger* into her home with her daughter and young son to take a long walk off a short pier.

      • ingrid

        Yes, I’m absolutely aware that it was a true (as well as touching and inspiring story) but it nonetheless breathes life into the mindset that black folk need a sassy white lady to save them. People helping other people (no matter race/whatever) is always a great thing, and I’m really glad you pointed this out so that I can agree with you within this context.

        • Willow

          I think one trope that’s very real in Hollywood is the black savior of white people (who is always selfless and never gets recognition). From the mammy in Gone with the Wind to Moses Whitecloud in Where the Heart Is to Jennifer Hudson’s character in the Sex and the City movie, Hollywood is teeming with kindly black folk who are one aphorism or saintly deed away from rescuing the main character.

          • Willow

            Whitecotton, not Whitecloud.

          • Robert

            It’s called the Magical Negro. Spike Lee originated the term. The trope shows up in countless movies. Driving Miss Daisy. The Legend of Bagger Vance.

          • Crystal Lee Jones

            The most horrible part of all of this is that some White people are beginning to believe that the Magical Negro is real, and those same White folks get upset with you at work when you question the lack of recognition for a job you’ve done well What?????? You want recognition!!!!!!?????!!!!! How dare you????!!!

  • Diana K.

    Snaps. Snaps all around.

  • Leah

    I don’t really read blogs much, I’ve never written a blog post, and I’ve never even commented on someone else’s blog. But I felt compelled to tell you that you are awesome, and this post made my day.

  • Allison

    I actually don’t feel the need to read the original post. I like this one all by itself and I’d rather use my click here, than there. :)

    • CeCe Olisa

      !!!!!

  • afellowbigblackgirl

    Rock on!

    • CeCe Olisa

      Thanks Miss!

  • http://www.sistatv.com/ SistaTV

    I have so much to say but basically…. YASSS GAWD!!!

    • CeCe Olisa

      <3 <3 <3

  • Miamiafter40

    I totally get the whole “girl” thing. I am an “obviously” gay man well past 40. I get so tired of women addressing me as “boy” as in “you boys are so hip” and “boy you look good”. Ugh, nothing is more demeaning than being addressed as a child because that’s what makes you comfortable.

    As far as yoga is concerned, countless times I’ve been told by yoga instructors: your yoga would be so much better if you had fewer muscles. It’s my body, I’m happy with it, and yes I’m big, and my yoga practice, and my body, is my own.

    • CeCe Olisa

      WOW! I never even thought about the boy thing… that’s crazy!

  • Karen

    You go, CeCe!!! (Not guuuurl)

    • CeCe Olisa

      LOL!

  • Alyssia

    Cece! I was appalled at the original article. I actually started to think to myself, is this girl for real? UGH. and I don’t even do Yoga. One of my best friends loves yoga and tries her hardest to get me to go… You look like you love it and do it well! I’m so glad you had your own response and I hope that Jen Carsons reads it. Because she’s ridiculous.

    • CeCe Olisa

      Thanks Alyssia (love the spelling of your name, btw!)

  • http://www.thedspencery.blogspot.com.au/ sah spence

    firstly- great post but wow, what an eye opener – I grew up in little old New Zealand, and am from Auckland its largest city where even 20 years ago I went to a (intermediate) school of 340 odd students with approx 120 different cultures…. (now I do know the South Island hasn’t quite the same diversity- or at least didn’t then) but I am constantly amazed at attitudes in other countries, and sadly even those that seem to be showing up more frequently back at home re: what I call ‘culture blinkers’ when you are talking about someone by name and they (who ever you are talking to) is trying to figure out who you are talking about- so I respond with what I assume is more information: surname:age: job etc only to have finally say something like ‘oh the lesbian’ or ‘oh the wog’. They don’t seem to absorb any information about a person other than an assumed stereo-type- black/asian/fat/gay/dim etc. I mean I work in fashion so I’m plenty used to having to deal with the shallow end of things but, I don’t let it become apart of me (well except for the occasional days where it all makes me feel pretty shitty about myself) and it amazes me how people can be like this to others… yet by the sheer response: both to the original post, and here on your post Cece, it obviously is hugely prolific behaviour/attitudes

  • fanny

    you go gurl!

  • WriterRambling

    Great job!

  • Elisa

    Yess!! :)

  • Yogaguurl

    Gorgeous, babe. I MEAN CECE!!!

    • CeCe Olisa

      LOL! I do like being called Babe ;-)

  • Liv

    YES. Thank you for this! I absolutely identify with you about being a bigger woman around skinnier people… It’s like first I’m plus-sized and second I’m a person. Even people who have known me for a while are sometimes surprised to hear I date or go to the gym!

    • CeCe Olisa

      Story of my LIFE

    • ScratchyOne

      I don’t do either, and I am still allowed to be on this earth, taking up my space and saying what I have to say. :)

  • fujoshifanatic

    THIS! Best response to this nonsense I’ve read all day!

  • felicia.diaz

    Loved, loved, loved this. Great response, thank you. You make me want to get back to doing yoga.

  • Jennifer Williams

    Great side plank!

    • CeCe Olisa

      :-D

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  • Kristine

    Great pose, Cece! I wish my side plank looked like yours! Hugs to you, from an overweight while woman, struggling with her yoga poses for the last three years!

    • Kristine

      White, typo

  • joanna b.

    you guys know the article was from the onion right?

  • stellabellaz

    love love love this – especially the ending… BOOM!

  • michelle coleman

    right on! oh, how i hate when white women try to bond with me by calling me “girl”. in spite of the perception that yoginis work to seek their higher selves, yoga culture is uber competitive. thank you for writing this!

  • novel device

    Beautiful side plank! I’m jealous–I have a birth defect of the foot that means I can’t put any pressure on the sides of my feet like that.

    Oh no–Jen Caron would be made uncomfortable by the reminder that not all bodies are able! :D

  • TelevisedRevolution

    I went to a Pilates studio so enthusiastically, prepaid for a series, and was discouraged when this woman was dismissive, encouraged competition and body-shaming, and, when one other black woman joined the classes, couldn’t tell us apart.

    • thebiggirlblog

      I’m done… DONE

  • Rhonda

    YEEESSSSSSS!!!!

  • Tyrique

    CeCe, you are my new hero!

  • Grisel

    best closing line ever! great response!

    • thebiggirlblog

      Thanks Doll!

  • Catherine

    I literally LOLed at the last line: “The answer to that is easy, I don’t need your help… I’m good!”

    Nice.

  • C Rowley

    So well said!

  • TheEmperorIsStarkers

    Beautifully stated.

  • Frank Harvey Byers

    Hooray for CeCe!

  • http://www.GirlsBestFriendandcoBlog.com/ GirlsBestFriendandCo

    Cece did you ever correct the instructor by saying, “My name is CeCe”?

  • http://www.CurvyGirlInc.com/ Chrystal Bougon

    You rock my socks! Any chance you might ever do a speaking tour? Would SO LOVE to invite you to come and speak at my plus size lingerie store in San Jose, CA. Our store tele is 408-264-4227

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  • Crystal Castleberry

    What she posted was absolutely unnecessary, she should’ve kept that ignorant thought to herself. She will never know what it’s like to be really overweight in a gym full of skinny people watching you as you get onto the treadmill or elliptical as if they’re waiting for it to break once you step on it. I can’t believe she said that she had no choice but to look at the woman, I guess she forgot that eyeballs aren’t stationary. If anything she made the “heavy black woman” uncomfortable from the start, from the moment she walked in the class she was labeled as different from every one else.

  • jalabi

    Small correction to your otherwise excellent response: the author’s name is Jen Polachek. XOJane’s clumsy attempts to edit her name out notwithstanding.

  • AH

    My response to Jen Carons:

    “perhaps self-importantly believing myself to be…is largely my own psychological projection…” You hit THAT nail on the head (though you could have omitted the “perhaps”).

    I think the woman in your class (the object of your scrutiny in this entire write-up) was probably watching your despair turn into resentment and then contempt, all directed toward her and her body. Psychological projection indeed!

  • Lela

    Fantastic response, CeCe! There are so many problems with Caron’s piece that I wouldn’t know where to begin but I’ll try. In know particular order: First, I wonder how it is possible to live in NYC and manage to find a yoga studio – or any other establishment, for that matter – that no or very few black people patronise. (Perhaps that tells us something about Caron’s own choices? By the way, a studio where either instructors ostensibly see participants struggling yet ignore them or don’t even notice that someone in their class is not following sounds like an awful place.) Second, the first time at yoga can, and tends to, be awkward – for most anyone, regardless of race. Thus, I wonder how Caron’s reaction to a yoga neophyte became, in her own little mind, a reaction to said neophyte’s race. In my opinion, it reveals more about the author’s own unexplored (?) racism than it does about society’s supposed inability to make yoga accessible to “everybody and every body,” as she writes. On that same note, did Caron ever stop to consider other possibilities? Say, how it may be a matter of individual preference, and how perhaps this woman had never tried yoga because she was happy doing something else, like tap dancing, prancercising, knitting, insert activity-of-choice? Also, in regards to Caron’s need/desire to “save” this woman, how about trying to “help” her – not to be less black, less furious and/or jealous of skinny white bodies, less whatever it was Caron believed this woman’s issue was, but to feel more comfortable as she attempts a new activity for the first time – with a sympathetic look/smile or a subtle “do you need a hand” type of comment? Neither you, CeCe, nor the woman in Caron’s class need to be saved but a bit of acknowledgement and reassurance – even unspoken – usually make stuff easier, be it mastering downward dog or deciding which new yogurt flavour to buy at the supermarket.
    One last thing! CeCe, maybe the instructor who kept calling you “girl” – while addressing the other women in the class by their names – forgot yours and was ashamed to ask again?? Just a thought!

    • Lela

      *in “no” particular order, not “know”!

  • http://haleyrankins.blogspot.com/ haley

    Best response ever & regarding your points about Incubus(loves them), Tyler Perry references, and being called girl/girlfriend–I concur wholeheartedly.

    xxHaley

  • Morgann Belle

    As a white, not too skinny-but-yet-in-good-shape girl, I think writing something like that is just not right… Jen’s side I mean. If I was in her shoes I wouldn’t even notice or mention the skin colour of the girl. As for the size – I would admire her being there willing to do something nice for her soul and body, just like the rest of the group.

  • wizegie

    Or at least how about instead of making racist assumptions and then writing a blog about it, she could have just checked in with the woman. You know, it’s called caring. This crap is called racism.

  • Megan

    I can’t even handle Jen Carons “article”… It is so racist, although I bet she’d say it was inadvertent. Why does she believe a heavy person needs a skinny person’s help? And a black person need a white person’s help? Unless someone is directly asking you for help, MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS! CeCe, your blog post is dead on, and even as a “white girl” I find issue in Jen’s way of thinking (or lack thereof). She is 100% broadcasting her own insecurities and close-mindedness for the rest of the world to see, and luckily there are strong-minded, educated “guuurrrls” (ugh) like yourself to call her out on it! Thanks for the humorous reality check! I just hope Jen and other women like her are able to read your post and learn to think before writing!

  • Sarah

    Wow….I felt like I was reading my own story. Remove yoga and add Barre Amp class, in Brentwood, tn. Despite my fair complexion I am recognized as a black “gurrrl” also when in a crowd as you’ve described.

    So true, yet so shameful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Julie Auler

    CeCe your side plank is awesome! You look strong and happy and beautiful! Thanks for writing this!

  • Willow

    I’m someone who might look like a skinny white girl, but I feel awkward as hell in yoga classes. I feel messy, clumsy, lumpy, inept, and deeply different from all the perfectly attired Namaste-breathers around me. Not to argue with anything in this article, which has given me a lot of food for thought, but the feeling of alienation in a yoga class doesn’t always stem from obvious differences in race and size or how the instructor treats you. There’s something about yoga culture itself that makes anyone who doesn’t fit into an extremely narrow mold feel “other.”

    Another point I want to make that, again, isn’t meant to argue with anything here, is that white women are constantly objectifying each other the way they objectify black women. “You’re so thin,” “You have a vegetarian’s body,” “Your boobs are bigger than mine,” etc. It’s what women DO. I wish we wouldn’t.

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  • Heddi

    While I call people of all colors “girl” every now and then in convo that is gossipy and campy, if someone called me “girl” and everyone else by their mama given name, I would be a little put out too. Your response could not have been better, or more poised and profound. You go, CeCe! You’re an awesome human!

  • Kazim

    Hi CeCe,

    I loved reading your post. I am Indian, and I confess to loving it when there are other people of color in yoga class with me because so often I am the only Indian (and only guy but that’s another thing). One thing Jen said that really bugged me was when she talked about “a (yoga) system that by all accounts seems unable to accommodate her body” because yoga actually wasn’t devised with “skinny” bodies (especially skinny white bodies!) in mind at all– it is meant as a practice for all people and for all bodies and there are also a myriad different yoga systems (both here and in India) for all different bodies, ages and physical abilities. Anyhow, thanks for speaking up and explaining a few things. I hope to hear more from you about your yoga practice!

    • thebiggirlblog

      Wow… Its a little Ironic that you’re the only Indian person in your classes. But good points all around… even with you being a guy, there so much exclusivity in a practice that from my understanding was designed to be inclusive and personal *sigh*

      • Isadora Vn

        Why is it ironic for him to be the only Indian person in yoga class?
        To be honest, and no disrespect to anyone, but this whole post is a little confusing to me.

        • Susan

          Because the practice of yoga originated in India thousands of years ago.

          • Isadora Vn

            Yes I understand. I personally thought that it was ironic that she thinks this is an irony. When she herself gets irritated that people assume that just because she is black, she enjoys madea movies because its made by a black person. Essentially perpetuating stereotypes. So because yoga was started in India then all Indian people must do it.

          • thebiggirlblog

            That’s not what I said/meant at all.

        • thebiggirlblog

          Its ironic in the way that I, a Nigerian-American would find it Ironic to be the only black person in an african dance class.

  • gillianrosh

    This! All day, every day!

  • Guest

    Great blog post. Great form.

  • Guest

    sorry for the giant picture. Haha!

  • funfash

    Great post! We need more like this, just to be aware that all people are… people! Just the effort to get in there and do the yoga shows inner strength and happiness.

  • Mahesha Anderson

    I had to share this with friends, my husband and fellow yoga teachers. We’ve been talking about this article and you said what I couldn’t articulate very well- the guise of the original article and how the author was projecting Her discomfort. Its so atypical in society, but grossly magnified in an arena like a yoga class. I’m a black, female yoga teacher, so I greatly appreciate your words, and want to laminate this article and put it on the door of every studio in this country :)

  • MDQ

    I’ve taken lots of group ex classes and now teach. CeCe, your story reminds me about Northern VA and a group ex instructor who really avoided the older immigrant Vietnamese students. Even though some had bad form and were off beat. So that would be the invisibility version of seeing an older student in the classroom and just not dealing with the language barrier!

    • thebiggirlblog

      Age discrimination is so painful for me to hear about… I was raised to value/honor/respect those who are more seasoned. I am so sad when people discount them. Augh!

  • tigerflight

    As a fat girl, who did some yoga, got a little less fat, stopped with the yoga, re-fatted. You’ve really inspired me to get back to it. I don’t want that to sound dumb. it’s just like….yeah. You can do this any one can do this. Stop with the self-consciousness already. Thank you!xoxoxo

    • thebiggirlblog

      LOL @ Re-fatted

  • Lavagabond

    Wow you’re beautiful.

    What the hell is yoga? I’m kidding i know what it is. Kinda.

  • NikkiInch

    http://www.thegloss.com/2014/01/29/culture/it-happen-to-me-white-girl-on-the-subway/

    Another on-point response, beautifully crafted with just the right amount of snark. Just thought I’d draw your attention to it, if you hadn’t yet seen it! (Thanks again Cece and all you other people who have contributed to this conversation!)

  • Marshonica

    Yes! I am so tired of people trying to reassure me that I’m okay! I know I am, thank you.

  • yogaathom

    awesome. period.

  • Marz

    Good post, and love your side plank. I’ve often had the experience of being the only big/fat girl in an exercise class. This sometimes feels a bit awkward, but I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is the over the top encouragement I sometimes get from the skinny chicks, particularly on things I’m having absolutely no trouble with (ie zumba at the level that particular class was), or when someone keeps looking over at me like..I don’t know..they can’t believe I’m there? Worried I can’t keep up? Grrr. I’ve been a bit put off from signing up for a yoga class by the idea of me being in a room of super skinny flexible young things and falling on my ass ack. I love when I see blogs or pictures of larger women doing yoga, or lifting heavy weights..proof this stuff isn’t just for the super slim and fit. Yeah!

    Something else I’ve always wanted to try and been intimidated to…is African dance. I am relatively certain in the class I’ve been eyeing, I’d be the only white girl. Maybe the only mid 40s fat girl too. I have a feeling it would be a pretty intense workout, but I’m okay with modifying and or just getting out of the way on parts I can’t do or can’t keep up with till I can. I’ve been playing hand drums (mostly Middle Eastern/bellydance but some African too) for over 20 years, watched a ton of dance along with that. I absolutely LOVE West African drumming and it makes me want to dance like almost nothing else, and when the music does that its so much easier to push myself and keep going till I’m drenched and panting and exhilarated and exhausted. So I want to take this class……looks like its exercise oriented not a performance troupe, and its close by…, but will I be welcomed like any other student or stick out like a sore old thumb? Any thoughts? I guess the only way I’ll find out is to try it.

    • silkguitar

      Don’t let anyone push you out of trying something you really want to do. So much of life is routine and monotonous. If there’s something out there that excites you like African dance, you should go for it! It may be awkward at first because you’re new. But certain mediums–especially artistic–have a way of crossing cultural boundaries and bringing us all together. And you know what? If that particular troupe is not for you, try another that will be a little more open-minded.

  • Tirza

    Hello CeCe! I believe most people don’t think of that what you said…that “guurl” stuff and being :”black and big”. You’d never really know until you talk with a person, you just can’t guess what a person thinks by the way he looks. I am 64 years old and when boarding a bus full of teenagers would I say they think of me as an old hag, though I don’t really know what each one of them thinks. You won’t guess where I am from…

  • KT

    I’m a healthy sized black woman teaching yoga to mostly white people. Your blog made my day. Your purpose is shining through!

  • Crystal Lee Jones

    Sadly, I too have witnessed this. At business dinners, my former boss would always lament how she couldn’t get back into her size 0 jeans after her knee surgery and how fat she felt. I’d just look at her like she’d completely lost her mind because obviously…SHE HAD!!! In addition, she also felt the need to always comment on what I ate both when I was present and when I wasn’t. Apparently she was suprised about how healthy I ate. SMDH!!!

  • Elizabeth Hancock

    The author of the original post should have stayed on her own damn mat. My yoga instructors stress not making comparisons with other yogis. Why was Jen staring at that woman to start with? Great article and your side plank is awesome. My side plank so far involves the modification of dropping to my back knee so I am jealous.

  • Tanya Maia

    “The answer to that is easy, I don’t need your help… I’m good!” Just…..YES! YES. YES!

  • norma

    Love your article CeCe!

  • Kim Kyne

    Great post and mad props for not getting pissed over the ignorance

  • Armed in the Villa

    Well said M Cece. WELL SAID.

  • Andrea Maxson Roddy

    Personally, I think you are brave just to live in NYC!
    I, along with many others, first saw the “skinny white girl” post and thought it was from the Onion.
    I do have to say that I have sometimes found myself trying too hard with certain people. You try so hard not to offend someone, that you wind up doing just the opposite. I don’t know if it is just human nature, or stupidity, but it happens. I just hope that I never sound like those women in “Sh*t White Girls Say…”, by Chescaleigh… People are just people. Our perceptions just got screwed up along the way…parents, society, you name it. I finally just gave up…I am an equal opportunity offender. Love me for me, or go away.
    Great post!

  • Carleen

    Hitting that side plank hard! Impressed. And impressed by this post. Thanks!

  • Tim Lieder

    need to do more yoga, need to do more yoga (should probably take a few classes so I can work on the stances, but maybe I’m still in the “I really don’t want to embarrass myself in public” phase where that side plank would kill me)

  • Cheryl

    YES! Love this post, especially the last line!

  • Njp Thompson

    go CECE

  • Crystal Lee Jones

    What’s even more irritating is when I leave the gym and the swb at the front desk goes “Good for you!” I my head I’m thinking…”B*%ch I’m here E-VER-Y DAY!”

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  • Daphne

    Sigh – WHY is this crap still happening? I’ve gotten it at work (“look, a woman in tech!”), at the gym (“did your boyfriend teach you that?”) and even in the supermarket (“do you live around here?!”). It’s that OODA loop thing – one of these things is not like the others, so they try to justify it with limited experience. This is why I lose friends. I say “WTF are you staring at?”, which doesn’t really help the social scene.

  • Sara Tinch

    This article is awesome! I can’t believe the instructor didn’t even take the time to learn your name, or stop to correct herself when she forgot. I mean, seriously?! You are a person, you have a name. If you wanted to be identified by something other than your name, I’m assuming you would say, “My name is CeCe, but you can all me ____.”

    On a personal note, in further response to the article, I’m the kind of person that always tries to help someone. I don’t see them as ____ size and ____ color, I see them as someone who is uncomfortable and might want some pointers or someone to break the ice for them. Also, to clarify, I would see that person as uncomfortable or nervous because she is curled up into a ball of confusion, not because she is black, not because of her shape or size. I’m that stupid person that cracks bad jokes about myself so that, in the very least, people can look at me and say, “Well, at least I don’t come off looking stupid like that chick.” All that being said, I would have tried to help just to help. Is that offensive to just want to help? I ask because you made it very clear that you don’t need help. I know people might become defensive in general when they’re in an uncomfortable situation, but it makes me wonder if I am somehow being particularly insulting to someone just by offering to help? Is it fair for me to think that the people who find me racist for offering just have their own issues, or am I truly being insensitive for trying? Thanks in advance to everyone who takes the time to respond to what I wrote, positive and negative feedback alike.

  • Susan

    GREAT ! Answer CeCE!!!!

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  • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

    Ma’am! YES. TO.All. OF. THIS.

  • http://stuffalsothings.wordpress.com/ Morgaine Fey

    While I do read XO Jane quite often, it does seem like a LOT of stuff is just for site clicks. Your article nails it. Especially the last line. What if that woman just needed to be in Child’s Pose? What if getting into her own headspace took her somewhere she did not want to be and she was dealing with it? What if she was good too? Yoga and other exercise can lead to a lot of introspection, and sometimes everyone just needs the quiet.

    Also, not using your name in class is BULLSHIT on every conceivable level and your side plank if just awesome. Wish I had that form (I’m getting there!!!).

    We force our preconceived notions on people without for a second considering we may be wrong.

  • Plussie Galore

    I love every word of this.

  • Aleksandra

    I’ve taken hot yoga classes many times and you’re right, it is a bunch of skinny girls. I was the only bigger girl in the class and it can be intimidating but who cares. My yoga moves were better than theirs anyways. I have learned to pay no mind to judgemental, ignorant people. I’m good. Loved the article.

  • Hailey Moore

    I really enjoyed your article! I may not know what it’s like to be the only black woman in the room but I do know what it is like to be the only plus sized woman.

  • Lillie Locklear

    you sure are…I took yoga a couple mayble three times at the gym I go to and the first time the instructor came and brought me the blocks and the strap but I had no idea what to do with them never taking a yoga class before and I felt so out of place in there every time I went that I never returned….you have got that move down pat though I applaud you.

  • juju

    Why is everything attached to people being a specific color? How about it being just that you are an obese person in a class normally attended by skinny, healthy people? Isn’t that more than likely what it is about? Rare is the obese person in an exercise class of any kind.

    • silkguitar

      You should read the original article. Caron specifically spoke about race. I think it would have been strange not to address the original article’s comments regarding race.

  • Hailey Moore

    I really enjoyed reading your article. I may not know what it is like to be the only black woman in the room but I do know what is like to be the only plus sized woman in the room. It can be really hard at times, especially in fitness centers. I’m glad that you don’t let the judgmental people bring you down. Good luck with your fitness goals and all of your other endeavors!

  • Mindur Beezwax

    FAB!!!!!

  • Sheila

    I love, love, love this! I am a 54 year old “curvy” yogini. Yeah, okay.. I’m white, but I don’t think Jen’s article was all about the woman being black – I think it was about her being different than Jen’s preconceived notions about what yoga is about, and who does it.

    • Nichol

      I just made this same argument with my friends on FB. I do appreciate CeCe’s response to the article. If Jen has never described the woman as black or if the woman was white, would this same discussion be happening? I wonder if the lady “was good”, would Jen have had felt the need to help? If it was a heavy white woman who stopped would she have asked how she could have helped.
      While she may be naive and unsure how to express her thoughts, I feel like she did try to find a deeper meaning and solution in her journey.

  • Blazenka

    I love this. I don’t think it could have been said better. We’re all individual people, and should be referred to as such! and what truly shocked me was how Caron thought that she needed help. As if!!

  • Eb

    I loved this! This is so dead on. I appreciate you sharing and letting me know I am not alone in this. I have been in the same position. Not in a yoga class but in a step class. The teacher at first started playing Linkin Park music then changed it to hip hop and said this is music that I know you’d like.I was like bi— I love Linkin Park. I’ve seen them in concert 4 times. I like all music. Its not like we stood in the black line and handed a bottle of afro sheen and a pick then handed a mix tape of all the music were allowed to listen to! Thank you for the well written true thoughts on how plus sized black women are viewed.

  • J_LAH

    I love this ! But, I’d like to note as a Big White Girl around small white people, I am often referred to as “girl” or “guurl” . If you are big, people don’t have to remember your name. Also if you are big, don’t be too animated or loud or excited. And certainly don’t ask too many questions. It’s a shame, but that is life for this big girl.

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  • Raquel Bradley

    Loving the side plank! Much love to you Cece

  • yogaenvy

    I read your article before I saw your photo…so needless to say I was expecting some ginormous person … but turns out you are NORMAL sized, and gorgeous AND damn good at yoga!

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  • Zippip

    Just read this (originally on huffpost) I just want to say how refreshing it is to hear from someone who isn’t considered the norm in our society loves who they are. Regardless of what makes us all different, we all have things that we try to ‘handle’ daily that makes us dislike who we are. Taking it all in stride is a wonderful trait, and you definitely make that trait contagious. Thank you.

  • Sky Schwab

    Thank you so much for writing such an awesome response to that girls very interesting views on reality. I am a firm believer in karma and getting back what you put out there. I really hope a good dose of a reality check is heading Jen’s way.

    However I am at the same time grateful for Jen’s misguided actions. Without stumbling across her “traumatic experience” on my friends FB feed, I never would have found a link leading to your response and blog. It is always nice to find bold inspiring women out there in the cyber world. Thanks for being awesome and inspiring!

  • toksuno

    I judged you at incubus. Sorry! I did though!!! Lol!!

    • thebiggirlblog

      LOL! They have some jams though…

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  • Alexis

    I also sing along to incubus and don’t know what my white counterparts are talking about when they quote Tyler perry movies and then insist it’s because I’m “not really black”!WHAT!

    Also I consider my self slender. And I still feel “some kinda way”when I’m the only black person in my spin class. Thanks for this post.

  • gwynyfier

    Thank you for sharing your view with us.

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  • Meira Perelstein

    I read Tyler Perry and thought Steven Tyler. I was so confused. How can someone like Incubus and not Aerosmith! They’re the same genre!

  • Size J

    Your response is AMAZING. Btw, this outfit undoubtedly beats the snot out of her “high-waisted bike shorts and tastefully tacky sports bra.” BGB FTW!

  • Patrick B Gawne

    I gotta say, of all the replies I have read to poor, skinny Jen, yours was the nicest, kindest. As a big, fat, clumsy pink man, I found it reassuring. I will no longer live in fear of all the yoga people judging me.

  • http://stephenmatlock.com/ BetweenTwoWorlds

    This is just awesome.

  • DRA

    It is a pleasure to see a person, of any size, shape, color, creed, sexual preference, WHATEVER be comfortable with who they are. Good for you CeCe – good for you!

  • ClioMusing

    This is great, and much kinder than my initial response — “or, the woman was understandably freaked out by crazy lady in the tacky sports bra goggling at her through yoga.”

  • Sarah Blackmon

    Awesome. I was so infuriated with that post.

  • Thomas

    if someone thinks your being awkward around them because their black, how do I let them know it’s really because I’m socially awkward and don’t like being around people I don’t know?

  • DOGGIE MOM

    CeCe, I used to go to Yoga in the Valley and those white woman used to look at me like I stole their furniture, man and the dog. Insecure heffas will use ANY EXCUSE to hate. It’s the fact you could do Yoga that bothered them cause in their Lily world–you’re not. It violates every Yoga principle in the first place for any one to disrespect any one on any level. Immediately, she was SUPPOSED to ask you your name and
    address you accordingly.
    Yoga is about peace, serenity and love. Just know–they didn’t have any from the get go.

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  • Hannah

    Thank you for sharing your story, voice, and perspective!!

  • kundalini yoga girl

    I resonated with your response as well as the original article as I was
    often the big black woman in a yoga class. I’ve had people (white
    women), look at me and decide to put their mat elsewhere; the space next
    to me was usually the last spot occupied. I’ve been in small classes
    where the students were all on one side of the room and I was on the
    other..well not all of them,but it felt that way. I’ve had the teacher
    ask everyone’s name and not mine. I’ve had teachers let me fall out of
    headstand and only say oops. I’ve had no one want to partner with me
    during partner assist asanas. I’ve been stared at with out right hatred
    in class. And I’ve walked out of so many classes that I just stopped
    taking public hatha yoga classes. I practice at home online or with
    dvds.. The only public yoga classes I take are kundalini yoga classes
    where size truly does not matter, although race and inclusiveness can be
    an issue in turns of fitting into the mostly white, asian and indian
    kundalini yoga community. I attended a Summer Solstice retreat where I
    felt like I was shunned for being a big black woman. But I love yoga
    and I will find a community or create my own. Thanks for your post.
    You look beautiful in side plank.

  • kundalini yoga girl

    I resonated with your response as well as the original article as I was
    often the big black woman in a yoga class. I’ve had people (white
    women), look at me and decide to put their mat elsewhere; the space next
    to me was usually the last spot occupied. I’ve been in small classes
    where the students were all on one side of the room and I was on the
    other..well not all of them,but it felt that way. I’ve had the teacher
    ask everyone’s name and not mine. I’ve had teachers let me fall out of
    headstand and only say oops. I’ve had no one want to partner with me
    during partner assist asanas. I’ve been stared at with out right hatred
    in class. And I’ve walked out of so many classes that I just stopped
    taking public hatha yoga classes. I practice at home online or with
    dvds.. The only public yoga classes I take are kundalini yoga classes
    where size truly does not matter, although race and inclusiveness can be
    an issue in turns of fitting into the mostly white, asian and indian
    kundalini yoga community. I attended a Summer Solstice retreat where I
    felt like I was shunned for being a big black woman. But I love yoga
    and I will find a community or create my own. Thanks for your post.
    You look beautiful in side plank.

  • jayson

    This is the first time I’ve read your site, but I’ll be back. Great article—funny too. I think I have to work on my side plank, I sure can’t keep up with that photo!

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  • Emanix

    Y’know… Just a thought… if you’re the new person in a class full of folks who have been going for a while, being called ‘girl’ is probably more of a reflection that the teacher hasn’t learned your name yet. Not everything is personal.

    • thebiggirlblog

      Perhaps in another class. But this class begins with a name game where the instructor learns everyone’s name.

  • Hostile Negress

    High five. And your side plank is indeed very nice – I JUST got my left side strong and with the left leg up, like, Tuesday. My wrists are so confused about this new practice!!!

    There are SO many weirderies we endure as negresses (my fancy term – if it has “ess” it’s highfaluttin’) I too dislike the level of casualness you get sometimes (Why are you saying “girl” to me so much? I don’t know you!) And I find white self deprecation in general very uncomfortable (Side peeve: I would LOVE someone to break down why white adults calling themselves a “white girl” or a “white boy” does NOT endear them to black folks and is actually really uncomfortable and just effin weird…)

    My response to some of this is to drop random references to “non black” things I do into convos. Ultimate frisbee. Vinyasa. TEDTalks. It fucks people up. I encourage you to try it – very entertaining!

  • Selah Dubois

    I love your response… I could not have said it any better myself…..