In case you were starting to pine for another ‘teachable moment’ in racial politics, Psychology Today has obliged. Satoshi Kanazawa posted an article on the magazine’s website purporting to show that black women are objectively less attractive than other women. I was preparing to discuss some of the many problems with this way of framing the issue, and perhaps, if I could bear it, to say something about the problems with the argument, but the good folks at ColorLines and ColorOfChange.Org are already on the case. There are other articles in other places (like TheRoot.com), but the ColorOfChange take is here, and the ColorLines piece is here. (PsychToday has removed Kanazawa’s original piece from its site, in response to many, many public calls for them to do so.)
This controversy is of some philosophical interest, beginning with the opportunity it gives us to revisit such venerable issues as i) the relationship between rational argument, untutored perception, and aesthetic judgment; and ii) the connections between race, racism, and sex (b’c ‘attractive’ for an evolutionary theorist means ‘sexually appealing’). Perhaps we’ll get to that in a later post….