Paul R. Lehman, Kanazawa’s views on race shows ignorance and bias

May 30, 2011 at 1:18 am | Posted in Bigotry in America, Ethnicity in America, Media and Race, Race in America | 4 Comments
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Last week in at article published by the Psychology
Today
blog, Dr Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics, wrote that black
women are less attractive and intelligent than women from other racial groups.
In so doing, he exposes himself as ignorant, insensitive, and bigoted.
Fortunately, the blog was removed before it could attract more attention than
it did. Enough attention was received along with vigorous protest which caused
the blog to be removed. The damage, however, had already been done.

Kanazawa first shows his ignorance by grouping all women
with dark skin as black or African. Notice his comments: “Black women are on average much heavier
than nonblack women. However, this is not the reason black women are less
physically attractive than nonblack women …Because they have existed much
longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their
genomes than other races.” One wonders where the good doctor has been the
last sixty or more years to not have gotten the word about races. He makes
reference to genomes and follows that up with a reference to race. The human
genome project resulted in finding that only once race of humans exist, and
that humans the world over are 99.95% alike.

Everything
Kanazawa says about race and black women is bogus because he never defines his
subjects. Scientists since the middle 1940 have agreed that the word race is no
longer useful in identifying various groups of people. The word ethnicity or
ethnic group is deemed more accurate in identifying the variety of people in
the human family. All people have ethnic and cultural identities, so to
identify someone’s identity as being a colour, such as black or nonblack, is to
deny them their unique identity. To not be apprised of that information is called
ignorance. For someone to be proficient in his or her field such as social
science, that information is a necessary. For someone to base his entire thesis
on the use of terms like black, nonblack, and race shows a gross lack of
knowledge of the subject. Therefore, everything said based on that lack of
information should be disregarded and trashed. All knowledgeable scientists
know the saying “garbage in, garbage out.”

The
charge of Dr. Kanazawa being insensitive is based on the fact that he
deliberately tries to paint all women with the same brush without regards to
their feelings. Ignorant people throughout the world place labels of beauty and
intelligence on women based on a variety of tangible elements like size,
complexion, hair, eyes, lips, and ethnicity. For Kanazawa to make the statement
“that black women are less attractive and intelligent than women from
other racial groups” is to make a value judgment that black women are less
attractive and intelligent than women from other racial groups  that disrespects the uniqueness of each
individual woman. In addition, the fact that beauty is a relative and
subjective term is totally disregarded by the good doctor. Fortunately, since
everything he says is unreliable  and
bogus no specific emotions are damages except maybe his for showing himself to
be ignorant and ill prepared to deal with a subject he know little to nothing
about.

Intelligence
can be measured to a certain degree given specific parameters; that is, if two
people have similar experiences then they can be tested relative those
experiences. However, to bring someone into the mix that lacked the same
experiences of the first two, his or her test result will not be comparable to
the first two. In other words, intelligence as well as attractiveness must be
defined before it can be appropriated. If they are not defined, then
appropriating them has no value. Beauty is always in the eyes of the beholder,
and intelligence is
considered one’s capacity to acquire and apply knowledge effectively.

With respect
to Kanazawa’s overall presentation, bigotry stands out as the most prominent
feature. His lack of definitions and generalities make his comments irrelevant
and ineffective. His sense of values is evidently based on a culture for which
he is partial, because he does not take into consideration the cultural norms
of people from other ethnic groups. He set himself up as the final orbiter or
judge of beauty and intelligence of all women, but especially so-called black
and nonblack women. Articles like his do more harm than good because they raise
questions and suspicions about the writer, who is supposed to be a professional
and the publishing source that is supposed to be professional. One questions
the creditability of both the writer and the source when a nonsensical and
biased article is published as quality work.

Other
aspects of Kanazawa’s article only further the ridiculous, preposterous,
insensitive, and bigoted ideas regarding his opinions relative to race and
gender. The mere fact that he uses colors to identify people, black and nonblack
as if they were constants, creates serious problems in everything he says. In
essence, once he situates himself in the race box, all creditability goes out
the window. Also, his take on scholarship is greatly lacking when he refers to
African women as having been in existence longer than other women. If he really
believes that African women have been in existence longer than other women,
then where does he think the other women came from? If other women came from
mother Africa, then all women are from Africa. If all women are from Africa,
but not all women are considered black or nonblack, where do the races come
from? If he says that mutations caused the differences in the variety of women,
how does he account for the fact that the human genomes scientists report that
all people the world over vary only .05%?

When
someone presumes to have information about a subject but in the process of
presenting that information shows little or no control of the subject, most
intelligent people can recognize the fool behind the mask. In the process of
presenting the bogus information the fool is exposed. Graphs, charts, and pictures
that purport to support the claims are nothing more than stage props signifying
nothing of value. Once again, garbage in, garbage out.

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4 Comments »

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  1. Thank you, Dr Lehman, for your response. It’s amazing that we still live with and have to address such ignorance and bigotry.

  2. I am an African but I strongly believe in YAShuaib’ comment on his blog
    http://yashuaib.net/blog/2002/03/miss-world-between-mariette-and-darego/ when a black African won Miss World in 2002. He said “the African femininity, without exaggeration, enables one to mirror oneself from unblemished and fleshy cheeks, women who are healthy and full of life, exhibiting in enticing physiques. An African must also be dark, thick and robust, devoid of a skinny, bony and tiny body frame. Artificial makeup and expensive attires are not what make the natural beauty.

  3. While you might agree with the comment relative to “African femininity” you do so out of ignorance or bias. In other words, you ignore the fact that Africa is a continent, not a country, culture, or ethnicity. Many people populate Africa who vary in all physical aspects, so to single out one description based on biased concepts is ignorant and biased and lacking in reality. Black is still a colour, not a form of identity or ethnicity. Race does not apply when all subjects are human beings.

  4. Just a completely outside observation, I find many, many, many women of the various African ethnicities absolutely stunning and if the author thinks “African” women are all “much heavier” he has clearly never met a Sudanese woman. Has he not looked at the “white” USA population as far as size lately? He must have totally overlooked the obesity statistics.

    I doubt too many women living on $1 a day are “heavier”. Not to say every person on the continent of Africa lives on $1 a day – they do not, of course, but his total lack of any facts or logic reminds me very much of a very strange site I once found that said similar things – can’t remember where I found it now, too long ago.

    These constant attempts to “downgrade” the intelligence are just unbelievable. Aside from yourself, what about John W Thompson as just one who springs to mind. I suppose you are categorised as the “exceptions that prove the rule” or something equally ludicrous?

    I’m annoyed, I’m going to bed. :((


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