We just heard about this appalling article in Psychology Today from our friends at ColorOfChange.org. Gabriel (on their staff) gave us the go-ahead to share their email about this. Here’s what the ColorOfChange team writes:
Nearly 20 years after a black parent documented how hard it was to hear, "Mommy, I want to be white,"1Psychology Today reinforced the false and hurtful sentiment that Black women aren't attractive.
Last week they published an article claiming it to be scientific fact that Black women are less beautiful than women of other races,2 penned by Satoshi Kanazawa, who is notorious for hiding behind pseudoscience to promote discredited racist and sexist ideas.3
By giving Kanazawa a platform and validating his ideas, Psychology Today dehumanized Black women and girls everywhere.After widespread public outcry, they removed the article from their website.4 But that alone won't erase the damage they've done by validating these discredited ideas — the editors need to apologize, explain how this happened, and let us know that it won't happen again. Please join us in demanding they do so immediately, and then ask your friends and family to do the same:
Kanazawa's article is flawed from top to bottom.5 Using a dataset from an unrelated study of teenagers, he draws the obviously false conclusion that Black women are "objectively" less attractive than women from other racial groups.
Kanazawa has a long history of hiding behind pseudo-science to express racist and sexist views. He once wrote an article asking "Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?" and another suggesting that the US should have dropped nuclear bombs across the entire Middle East after 9/11 because it would have wiped out Muslim terrorists.6
So why does Psychology Today continue to give him a platform? Black women constantly face both subtle and explicit messages that they are valued less than women of other races — messages that are especially damaging to Black girls. NowPsychology Today has served as launching point for yet another attack, this time in the name of science.
Almost as if to cover up the racism inherent in his piece, Kanazawa says that black men are, "if anything more attractive" than their counterparts of other races because of "greater testosterone."7 But even here Kanazawa relies on the same pseudoscience to describe black men in familiar terms — brutish, hypermasculine, oversexed, exotic. And that's dangerous, too.
He uses a modern-day version of the faulty logic used to dehumanize blacks as inferior for hundreds of years, from the social Darwinists and eugenicists of the 19th century to The Bell Curve just 15 years ago. Psychology Today has a responsibility not to give such false logic a stage, nor validation.
To undo the damage it's done, Psychology Today needs to explicitly reject Kanazawa's ideas. Please join us in demanding that their editors apologize, explain how this article was published in the first place and what they'll do to ensure it won't happen again in the future. It takes just a moment: http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/psychtoday
1. "Growing Up in Black and White," Time, 5-17-1993
2. "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" Psychology Today, 5-15-2011
3. "The Illustrious Career of a Crap Psychologist," Jezebel
4. "The Pseudoscience of "Black Women Are Less Attractive'," ColorLines, 5-17-2011
5. See note 3
6. "How to Debunk Pseudo-Science Articles about Race in Five Easy Steps," Racialicious, 5-17-2011
7. See reference 2
Photo by Angela7Dreams|Flickr