Room4Debate: Are rising obesity costs the new second-hand smoke?

by Caryn Freeman of the

The growing obesity epidemic is impacting Americans in ways they may not yet be aware of. The costs associated with taking care of the transportation, health and safety of America’s consistently growing obese population are all being passed on to taxpayers. A new substructure to accommodate obese Americans in public places is yet another costly expense. Because these costs are not reported as much as the impact of obesity on health care, some Americans aren’t fully aware of the financial burden they are bearing.

Reuters reports that there are already costly overhauls taking place in hospitals and within the public transposition sector. “U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. In addition to those expenditures, it’s been revealed that, “cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.”

Some are comparing the startling cost of the obesity epidemic to costs associated with smoking related illnesses. It wasn’t until Americans became aware of the damage cigarette smoking had on one’s health and until the public and legislators became aware of the devastating impact of second hand smoke. Eventually, Congress passed legislation to restrict smoking in public facilities.

Health advocates are hoping that creating greater public awareness of the costs related to obesity will spark the same type of response.

How can Black America get healthier? What are your thoughts?

Room4Debate: Should a Child be Punished for Wearing Blackface?

 From the Huffington Post

Sean King, a Colorado Springs second-grader at Meridian Ranch Elementary school, found himself in hot water last when he was pulled out of class for dressing like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while also wearing black face paint for a school project. Now, Sean and his family want an apology from the school for the way the staff handled the situation.

Sean, 8-years-old, told KRDO that he feels school officials were “mean” to him and his family, citing that they made his mother cry. Sean explained that he is confused why other children who also wore face paint honoring other historical people were not punished like he was. “They were really negative to me,” Sean said about school staff.

School officials are now considering offering special classes about racial stereotypes to help teach kids and parents more about racial sensitivity.

Sean says he mean no harm by wearing the make-up, but Stephanie Meredith, a spokesperson for the school’s principal, said that it wasn’t just the school’s staff that was offended by Sean’s face paint, it was other students as well.

What are your thoughts? Was the principal right to act as she did?

Read more of the story here.

Room4Debate: Are Public Schools Safe for Black Children?

By: Lynette Holloway of

On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Education released the Civil Rights Data Collection sample, which found that public school educators unfairly punish minority students. The Associated Press had previously reported on a preliminary release of the report.

The survey of 7,000 school districts and 72,000 schools was conducted during the 2009-2010 school year. It also found that African-American children were less likely to be exposed to high-level curriculums and experienced teachers.

 African-American children represent 18 percent of the sample in the study, they represent 35 percent of the number of students suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all students expelled, the report shows.

Findings also show that more than 70 percent of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Latino or African American.

Read more of the story here.

Room4Debate: ‘Afro Sponges’ for Sale: Racist or Cute?

By Tom Gardner of the Daily Mail

The range of dish washing products have been branded racist

The range of dish washing products have been branded racist

A company behind a new range of Afro style washing up sponges has been slammed for being racist.

Campaigners have attacked British makers Paladone for its latest range of dish cleaning products which caricatures black soul legend Diana Ross as having a brillo pad for a hairstyle.

The offending items, which have just gone on sale across the UK, have been likened to reproducing golliwogs or the Black and White Minstrels by reinforcing negative stereotypes.

What are your thoughts?
Read more: