News & Politics

Tell 'Psychology Today' to Stop Publishing Racist and Sexist Articles

The article 'Why are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women' showed both a gross bias on the part of the author, Satoshi Kanazawa.

On May 15, 2011, Psychology Today contributor Satoshi Kanazawa posted an article entitled "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" (now removed from their website, but rebloggedhere). We demand that the Psychology Today editorial board publicly account for how and why this racist and sexist article was allowed to be published on the Psychology Today Web site, and take transparent steps to prevent this from happening in the future.

Kanazawa's article is nothing more than a vile regurgitation of racist and sexist beliefs about black women disguised as "objective" and "scientific" research findings, and contributes to a historical legacy of using distorted "science" as a tool to justify violent ideas about and treatment of black women. Kanazawa has a history of writing biased and error-ridden articles that attempt to justify racist beliefs. Other scientists have discredited his research and his legitimacy as a social scientist has been called into question. That Psychology Today publishes Kanazawa's often problematic articles casts serious doubt about the trustworthiness of their publications as well as the rigor of their editorial process.

Psychology Today is not just a magazine and Web site, but it's also a site that people access resources for mental health services for their well being. Publishing damaging and crude articles such as Kanazawa's demonstrates a profound disrespect for anyone who turns to Psychology Today for these resources.

Though Psychology Today has removed the article from their Web site without explanation, the editors have not acknowledged or taken responsibility for publishing the article, discussed the editorial standards they require from their contributors and whether this article satisfied those standards, or explained why Kanazawa remains as a contributor, despite being discredited by other social scientists. Psychology Today editors have a journalistic and ethical duty to be both transparent about how this article was published and accountable for this failure in public trust.

Because of the damage that this kind of misinformation creates for both the public and Psychology Today, we demand the following:

1) a public statement from Psychology Today editors demonstrating accountability for the article itself and the editorial conditions that allowed this article to be published on your website,

2) the removal of Satoshi Kanazawa as a contributor to your website, magazine, and any other Psychology Today publications based on his history of discredited research and repeatedly submitting racially biased articles to Psychology Today, including this most recent disturbing article that your editors chose to abruptly scrub from your Web site,

3) and the development of more thoughtful and sophisticated strategies for identifying how racism, sexism, homophobia/transphobia, and other oppressions and biases shape any so-called "objective" scientific inquiries, methodologies, and findings that your contributors examine in your publications. These strategies should be communicated to the public in an effort to be more transparent about how you are disrupting bias in your reporting.

Also, please visit this additional important change.org petition demanding that "psychological professional associations to devise a formal statement alerting the public that, given their track record, Psychology Today should not be considered a reliable source of psychological knowledge."

You can sign this petition here.

This petition has been endorsed by the following people:

Alisa Bierria
Aishah Shahidah Simmons
James Braxton Peterson, Ph.D.
Wil Gafney, Ph.D.
Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D.
Yvonne Welbon, Ph.D.
R L'Heureux Lewis, Ph.D.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D.
Mark Anthony Neal, Ph.D.
Jennifer Williams, Ph.D.
Tamura A. Lomax, Ph.D.
Erica R. Edwards, Ph.D.
Tishana Trainor
Tarana Burke
Imani Uzuri
Kenyon Farrow
Linda Perkins, Ph.D.
Llanor Alleyne
Yolo Akil
Kim Ford
Yaba Amgborale Blay, Ph.D.
Ruby Sales
Brittney Cooper, Ph.D.
Susana Morris, Ph.D.
Tiona McClodden
Amina Wadud, Ph.D.
Moya Bailey
Sarah Haley, Ph.D.
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Ph.D.
Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Ph.D.
Sofia Quintero
Osizwe Raena Harwell, Ph.D.
Nuala Cabral
Alondra Nelson, Ph.D.
Asha French
Salamishah Tillet, Ph.D.
Joan Morgan
Adele M. Stan
Crunk Feminist Collective

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