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Race and ethnicity

Black Women Are Scientifically Proven to be Less Attractive to Other Females?

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Tue, May 17, 2011 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge PSYCHOLOGY TODAY
  • Psychology Today
When we saw links to this piece on Facebook we wrote it off as a hoax or a hack. The headline read, "Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women ... ?"

Didn't make sense to us in the age of Beyonce and all her womanly features, which seem to be admired and emulated around the globe.

But, no, just such a blog post at Psychology Today was for real. And it set off a firestorm. It read, in part:

... Black women are statistically no different from the "average" [survey] respondent, and far less attractive than white, Asian,and Native American women ...

Of course, the survey cited, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, asked respondents for their opinions about the attractiveness of different races. Those opinions aren't scientific at all, but can be twisted by cultural norms (or ab-norms) and socialization.

(And dig the facial measurement graphics that go along with the post -- as if there's some master-racist formula to beauty. How Third Reich).

To take a group of people's opinions about another group of people and stretch that to mean that there is a scientific, objective conclusion to be made about that second group isn't really science at all. Many Americans don't trust Muslims. It doesn't mean that Muslims are scientifically -- genetically, even -- untrustworthy. (But it does mean that Americans can be provincial).

And make no mistake, the piece repeatedly takes the survey results as a definitive conclusion about the nature of female black beauty.

"Black women are still less physically attractive than non-black women ...," it reads after checking for factors such as intelligence and, yes, body mass index -- as if we're speaking of farm animals, or perhaps something more antebellum.

click to enlarge Really?
  • Really?

The story should have been that some people, even when surveyed, harbor old stereotypes.

Turns out the genius who who wrote the piece is none other than Sotoshi Kanazawa (quite a looker himself) of the London School of Economics.

click to enlarge Satoshi Kanazawa
  • Satoshi Kanazawa

He's an "evolutionary psychologist" who once wrote that if Ann Coulter were president on Sept. 11 she ...

would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost.

It isn't the first time Kanazawa has been accused of bending science to fit his racism. He once suggested people sub-Saharan Africa had more health-care problems because they were dumb (not because they were poor).

What confounds us is why Psychology Today would give him a regular blog, called "The Scientific Fundamentalist."

Sure, vive la différence and let the facts speak for themselves and all that. But this guy has been proven time and again to put his beliefs above science. Thank God they had the sense to take the post down. (But it lives on, here).

This whole game of bending "science" to fit racist notions is so last century. Let's leave it there.

At least we know ugly when we see it. It's on the page.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]

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