black women = the least attractive people on earth

i was hesitant to jump into this discussion–i’m preparing a bar application that’s determined to take my last drop of sanity.  i’m also not one to contend with this type of superficial bigotry and white supremacy, it’s expected.  but such an egregious example of racism and sexism warrants some attention as it entrenches the self-hatred black women often experience. 
satoshi kanazawaa blogger and psychologist, wrote a post for psychology today originally entitled “why are african-american women less physically  attractive than other women?”  in the post, he synthesizes results from a host of interviews where interviewers were asked to “objectively” rate interviewees’ attractiveness.  not surprisingly, black women were rated the least attractive by this sample.  kanazawa’s summation?  it’s because we possess an increased amount of testosterone.  

a few things stand out here: 

1.) people’s subjective opinions should not be used to inform science, as proven by the eugenics movement.  western society is built upon structural racism and cultural imperialism; therefore, the most objective and critical thinker cannot escape implicit biases and unconscious racism.  someone cue professor charles lawrence, author of the id, ego, and equal protection: reckoning with unconscious racism, to debunk the pure ignorance that our perceptions of other races are without a historical lineage of racial biases and stereotypes.  i don’t doubt the interviewers genuinely found black women the least attractive–i have enough anecdotal evidence to prove that shit–however, there’s nothing physiological about this conclusion. it’s a matter of perception. 

 2.)  those of us who eschew the european standard of beauty and take pride in our africanity are not exempt from such assaults on our self-esteem.  even if this garbage resides in my subconscious, it still serves to affirm all those jokes and mean-spirited remarks made at my expense because i’m a woman of african descent with kinky hair, a wide nose, and full lips.  comments like “you’re cute to be dark-skinned” and “damn black! you need to be in the shade!” or “you got a lotta confidence to be dark-skinned, you don’t walk around with your head down…” all came to mind when learning about kanazawa’s blog post. 

3.)  the first lady of this country is a black woman.  what does it mean when the wife of the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world is deemed “less physically attractive than other women?”  it means racism and sexism are bigger than the presidency, exclusive charity events, balls and galas.  the white house doesn’t shield its inhabitants from marginalization.  to loosely quote brother malcolm, freedom is not a better place in my master’s house. 

as a black woman, every day presents a new opportunity for me to heal and work through generations of  psychological abuse that constantly devalues my worth and beauty.  

as i was leaving my office this morning, the security guard looked at me and said “you are so beautiful.  i just can’t stop looking at you.  you look like a model.  honestly.”  after thanking him, i smiled and thought to myself, not everyone agrees with the kanazawa article.

psychology today took the original post down, but you can find a pdf on colorlines with an article by akiba solomon. 

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