January 2, 2023

Donald Trump Jr. has found something else to be outraged with, and he's not alone. If you only read the title of an article and review it, well, you're an idiot. A lot of sites use clickbaity titles to garner traffic. Time did it with 'The White Supremacist Origins of Exercise, and 6 Other Surprising Facts About the History of U.S. Physical Fitness.' Yeah, anything about racism sets off an alarm in Trump supporters' little heads.

If he had read the article, he would have known that it does not say that exercise is racist. Holy cow. Of course, it doesn't.

An excerpt:

It was super interesting reading the reflections of fitness enthusiasts in the early 20th century. They said we should get rid of corsets, corsets are an assault on women's form, and that women should be lifting weights and gaining strength. At first, you feel like this is so progressive.

Then you keep reading, and they're saying white women should start building up their strength because we need more white babies. They're writing during an incredible amount of immigration, soon after enslaved people have been emancipated. This is totally part of a white supremacy project. So that was a real "holy crap" moment as a historian, where deep archival research really reveals the contradictions of this moment.

The author is talking about what happened in the early 20th century. Quite a few conservatives reacted to the piece without obviously reading it.

Fox News ran with it.

As Ron Filipkowski said on Twitter, "It's an interview of an author who wrote a book about the history of exercise in the U.S. One part notes at the turn of the 20th century, racists wanted white women in better shape to have more babies."

And now the author is getting death threats.

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