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Success! Psychology Today Apologizes For Kanazawa’s Racist and Sexist Article

Success! Psychology Today Apologizes For Kanazawa’s Racist and Sexist Article

Satoshi Kanazawa is a bigot you can’t forget. That’s because he just won’t go away — a mainstream magazine, respected academic journals and one of the most prestigious universities in the world all give a platform to the evolutionary psychologist. Kanazawa is infamous for his pseudo-scientific theories on attractiveness and intelligence as it relates to race and gender.
But, due to the mobilization of thousands of activists from around the world, his unfortunate prominence in publishing and academia is fading.

In May, Kanazawa published an article on Psychology Today’s website entitled, “Why Are African-American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” 

Unsurprisingly, the racist and sexist article, based on shoddy research and biased conclusions, sparked considerable outrage. Our friends at ColorOfChange, the United States’ largest African-American online political organization, mobilized over 75,000 people to call on Psychology Today through social media, phone calls, emails and a petition we partnered with them to create.

In addition, other bloggers on the site dismissed his claims. And students at the University of London, where Kanazawa is a Reader in Management at the London School of Economics, voted to campaign around his dismissal from the university.

Psychology Today swiftly removed the blog post, but they were mum on the specifics of the issue that angered thousands of people around the world. After more than a week of campaigning against the article, though, Psychology Today‘s editor-in-chief finally issued a statement on May 27:

   
   Last week, a blog post about race and appearance by Satoshi 
      Kanazawa was published — and promptly removed — from this site. We
      deeply apologize for the pain and offense that this post caused.
      Psychology Today’s mission is to inform the public, not to provide a
      platform for inflammatory and offensive material. Psychology Today does
      not tolerate racism or prejudice of any sort. The post was not approved
      by Psychology Today, but we take full responsibility for its publication on
      our site. We have taken measures to ensure that such an incident does
      not occur again. Again, we are deeply sorry for the hurt that this post
      caused.

Kanazawa’s entire archive is no longer available on the website and he will not contribute work in the future. The magazine told ColorOfChange that they working on ways to prevent incidents like this from happening again.

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165 comments

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3:16PM PDT on Aug 19, 2011

I'm glad Pyschology today removed the article.

12:02AM PDT on Jul 7, 2011

Let's see.... There's 1.2 billion Chinese and another 500,000,000 ethnically Chinese (Inc Japan) there's about 750,000,000 million black people in Africa with another 100,000,000 around the world. About a billion Arabs or less. And there's about 1.5 billion white people in europe inc Russia and the ex Russian states and another 7-800,000,000 around the world. (north and south America, Australasia etc) there are obviously more white people on the planet. And black people are in the minority if we are looking at numbers. But in my eyes black women are strong upright and absolutely gorgeous, and figures strongly in a lot of my sexual fantasies. And frankly, who wouldnt want the musculature and endurance and the resilient mind of a black man able to deal with the casual daily racism
That is meted out to them by people like Kanawaza.

3:24PM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

And also I read the article several times and those numbers and graphs mean absolutely nothing.

8:15AM PDT on Jun 29, 2011

My goodness. Reading the first few comments actually frustrated me so much that I made an account to comment. First off, the issue here is not asking a scientific question to see what race (i don't like using the word race whatsoever because I find ethnic groups are more specific but in this case I will) is less attractive, in fact is someone could do a completely un biased study on it (yeah right) there would be no problem in my eyes. It is the fact that the article just shouted subjectivity, rather than "Dr." Kanazawa's supposed objectivity. If I knew who his tests subjects were and who actually given their opinions on the attractiveness of those people were then I could respect the article a bit more. But he didn't. Also black women in America are way different than black women in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe etc., same with any other race (white women in America aren't the same as white women in Europe are they?) So who were the black women in question of his study, was it just American blacks, African blacks, European blacks or what? Should this article have been taken down? Absolutely, if this was published to a place that promoted just having your opinion instead of scientific facts than it should have been left. But it wasn't so.

12:59AM PDT on Jun 25, 2011

Why is everybody so easily offended these days? If the investigations found out that white men were percieved as the ugliest, then I would say "Let's do something about that, and try to be the winner in the next elections. Period."
It's just like asking people to choose between roses and dahlias. If the "average" person like roses the best, that's it.

9:51PM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

oops - cont from previous post

If a magazine claims to have a certain standard of scientific credibility, then I have a right to complain if they present some sloppy pseudo science as legitimate. Especially if I find the premise and conclusions offensive AS WELL as being scientifically unsupported. It's bad enough that the news doesn't have to be factual (a la FOX's lawsuit to be legally allowed to slant or distort news). Are you aware that the U.S. only ranks around 20th in the world for freedom of the press? http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2010,1034.html
Trust me the U.S.'s poor ranking is not because of people objecting to crappy fake science articles.

9:49PM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

@ Koen V
"If I have 1000's of (same style) pictures of random women rated by 1000's of random people from all over the world, inevitably someone will be "the winner" and someone will be "the loser". Inevitably....one ethnic group will be the winner. "

@ Koen V - "the question "Which ethnic group is found most attractive by most people?" is a perfectly legitimate antropological question. If you don't agree, you can as well do petitions against miss world elections."

First of all - no one ethnic group wins the Miss World title year after year. So there is no such thing as a universally more attractive race as far as that contest goes.

Second - the "1000's of random people all over the world" you might ask for an opinion - are a majority of them white? European? African? Asian? CONTEXT MATTERS. The answer you get today might be totally different from the answer you get tomorrow with a different pool of people.

There is evidence that for animals, symmetry is a very important feature of attractiveness. Some scientists conclude that symmetry may be interpreted as a good state of health and strong genetic material.

If a magazine claims to have a certain standard of scientific credibility, then I have a right to complain if they present some sloppy pseudo science as legitimate. Especially if I find the premise and conclusions offensive AS WELL as being scientifically unsupported. It's bad enough that the news doesn't have to be factual (a la FOX's lawsuit to be legall

11:44AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

Disgusting! Pure ignorance! Of course those who actually agree with the idea that black women are less attractive then other women of different nationalities, wouldn't have a problem with this finding. No amount of scientifical research, studies, experiments, exc. can conclude what is beautiful and what is not! I'm happy the so called "academic" study was removed!

10:57AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

"Satoshi Kanazawa" entry in Wikipedia suggests that he does science according to his own hidden agenda. And more specifically by misinterpreting correlatoin with causality. Confirmation bias is a common human error, even among the scientists. That's because people are more familiar with what they believe, hence it's easier to have the data accomodated to their belief instead of the other way around.

On the other hand, there're evidence suggesting that our sense of attractiveness does converge to a very large extent and that it is an "organic" mechanism that has evolved and now specializes in determining people's fitness. Sense of attractiveness is our bodies' response to healthy people.

10:06AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

Koen V: The problem here was the choice of venue. Psychology Today presents itself as a professional journal; questions of free speech aside, their decision to publish this thing in the first place was clearly irresponsible.

Susan P: While I agree with your feelings on the subject, we still have to contend with freedom of speech in this country, which as this issue demonstrates is sometimes a double-edged sword. I did not mean to suggest that if, say, TV Guide had published such a thing it would be "OK," but whether we like it or not there would be little we could do about it. With Psychology Today it became a totally different matter since at the very least the perception is that the publication endorses what it prints.

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