Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Black Women Are Less Attractive" Finding Showcases Racist "Science" In Action!

Today I was reading up on the controversy over the Psychology Today article written by Satoshi Kanazawa entitled Why Are African American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women? which was eventually retitled by Psychology Today "Why Are African American Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men?"
This issue is particularly relevant for me as I am currently doing a Masters in Counselling Psychology; I also did an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminology. As part of my degree I have to complete a research project, and submit it for publication. So for the past few months I have been reading about ethics and the research process as I prepare to send out into the world my own (hopefully not shitty) research. Mr. Kanawaza obviously must have failed his ethics courses (I don't even want to think about how he did in multiculturalism...). It is troubling to me that this shoddy "science" has been given a forum on Psychology Today. It is even more troubling to me that all of this publicity, negative as it may be, has people talking about Kanawaza (including me). Our first responsibility as researchers is to ask the all-important first question, Is this research really fucking important? And I don't mean important to me, as the researcher, because I know any research will push careers forward and add lines to a CV. I mean, important to the group that is being researched. Because if it is not, we are unethically wasting people's time for our own selfish gain, and furthermore, we may be harming them. What do you think African American women think? It is nuts to me that we give people tenure and they have the audacity to use that platform to do research that is racist, damaging, and just plain stupid. My favorite deconstruction of Kanawaza's shitty research is over at Colorlines by Akiba Solomon called, The Pseudoscience of "Black Women Are Less Attractive. You can also check out Latoya Peterson's piece at Racialicious called, How To Debunk Pseudo-Science Articles About Race In Five Easy Steps.

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