T.S. Taylor; Professor Satoshi Kanazawa and the Black Woman…
(ThyBlackMan.com) So, we spoke up fiercely against Sotashi Kanazawa’s and Psychology Today’s production of a racist article that insinuates that Black woman are less attractive than women of other ethnicities. This was a great example of what we as Black women can do if we banded together to combat forces that serve to demean and oppress us. But what about our every day internalization of things that attack our self esteem, the way we view our physical features, and ultimately, the lengths we go through to alter them in order to fit in with someone else’s mandates? As Black women, we combat myriad “isms”: racism, sexism, and colorism, to name the most obvious. If we happen to be members of the LGBT community, the woes are increased. I was elated to see our camaraderie, but where do we go from here? We still have stuff within our community that needs cleaning up before we can be well equipped to combat outside issues.
Yet again, Black women were insulted on a national scale last week, with the online publishing of Satoshi Kanazawa’s article “Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women, But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men?” by Psychology Today. There was also a subsequent article by Dr. Michael Mills, which posed as to whether we as Black women should be thankful for Kanazawa’s article. What is going on? And how are Black women responding to this? Thankfully, there has been a firestorm of responses from around the globe, including other bloggers on Psychology Today’s website. Sophia Nelson, Beverly Bond, and LZ Granderson recently had a great discussion about this issue on CNN with Don Lemon. You may also want to check out Granderson’s article in response to Kanazawa’s “research.” I promptly signed my name to the online petition that was eradicated on Change.org with the purpose of calling for Kanazawa’s termination as a contributing writer, stricter editorial policies, and a formal apology from the magazine.
Great work…But now what? This does not make the issue go away. It’s not random that Don Imus felt at ease with calling the female Rutgers basketball team a bunch of “nappy headed hoes” and reality tv star Christina Hopkins had no problem telling Black women via viral video earlier this month that “if you are a Black girl, you should shut up, because you are Black, you are a nigger.” It’s coming from somewhere. Where? It’s no secret that there is deep-rooted inherent racism in this country. Do not let some politicians and social movement organizations fool you into believing that this is a post racial society, because it is not. If the First Lady of the United States can be brazenly compared to a monkey by members of this society, let’s not ever believe that we are living in an egalitarian society.
But before examining the macro-level, let’s look at what’s going on in our backyard, at a micro-level. I discussed the Kanazawa’s with students in one of the courses I teach in correlation to the study to that of the publication of “The Bell Curve” by Hornstein and Murray, in the mid-late 90’s. I explained to them that this duo used “scientific research” to insinuate that African Americans were cognitively inferior to Caucasians based on genetics. After listening to the comparisons, one of my students, a young Black man, no older than 21, chimed in and said “yea well ya’ll are less attractive, mainly ‘cause of ya’ll attitudes.” I gave myself pause. Hold the presses!!! What?! So then, I brought Kanazawa’s article up on Facebook. one of my friends, a Black man in his early 30’s replied “look to your left, look to your right, how many Black women you see with a perm or a weave to make it look like they have straight hair…stop trying to look like a white woman…” okay. He then follows up with “but I love my Black queens, nothing like ya’ll in the world, real talk.” Interesting…now, what about the music or television programs we internalize on an everyday basis?
We have sexualized music videos, songs, and televisions shows, in which rappers and stars are given the authority to state their preferences in terms of what they want their women to look like and what they want their women to do. When this trickles down to members of society, we have women rushing to the hair salons for 22 inch extensions, to the mall for the skimpiest items of clothing, etc. Why? Earlier this year, Black women were crooning along with Drake as he and Chrisette Michelle sung the hook to Rick Ross’ “Aston Martin Music.” Where they paying attention to the extended mix in which he raps and proclaims “I hate to call women bitches, but the bitches love it?” As young Black women listen to Camron’s “Hey Muma” (which is currently #8 on Hot 97.fm’s Top 25 playlist), are they following along as they are urged to address him as “your highness?” I urge you to watch 106th and Park and count the number of models and/or singers within these music videos who are:
devoid of wigs and weaves,
of dark complexion,
larger than a size 8
clothed in a non-sexual matter
not gyrating suggestively in front of a man
not perched on a car or in bed.
What’s the count?
So what does this all mean in relation to Kanazawa’s article? I have my own conclusion, but I don’t want to sway anyone’s opinion. My goal with this article is to present these issues to you, and have you conjure up your own assumptions. But I don’t want you to stop there. I want you to consider what can we do as a community of Black women to face down this racist, misogynist, viewpoints of us. It’s not enough to just be upset at one issue after another without taking action. How many of us are willing to make the commitment to ACT?
Staff Writer; T.S. Taylor
Feel free to also connect with this sista via Twitter; ProfToniBK.