Saturday, 17 September 2011

Kanazawa is just a racist who went as far as to get a phd in order to impress upon the world his prejudiced views.

Back in May of this year - yes, that would be The Year 2011 - an evolutionary psychologist who was and still is employed by the London School of Economics (an academic institution that is routinely ranked in the top ten of all universities in the world) published a magazine article on the attractiveness (of abject lack of) of black women. By black, he meant Afro-Caribbean as far as I can tell.

It was a hugely insulting piece and entirely irrelevant to any questions of importance today, or yesterday, or indeed for tomorrow, but there we have it. A publicly funded (mostly - ha! Gaddafi's regime has had a hand in funding the LSE, see here:, so OSTENSIBLY publicly funded with tax payers money) has hired and gives an office and room to speak and air his views to a bigot who spends his time engaging in non-rigorous, non-robust 'research' (read: musings) on how come black women are just so ugly while all other women at least have something of the aesthetic to recommend themselves.

Hugely sexist, hugely racist. This much is obvious.

While I never forget (memory like an elephant, to match my looks perhaps Satoshi would say, but whatever!) I had stopped obsessing about how offended I am by the article. That was until the new smack in the face which was the LSE published note on the outcome of Satoshi's disciplinary hearing. (It is in full below. I think it is only fair to show all of it if I am to rip into it and tear it apart - only fair.)

Apparently, "Measures have also been put in place to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again. In particular, Dr Kanazawa must refrain from publishing in all non-peer reviewed outlets for a year. Further, he will not be teaching any compulsory courses in the School for this academic year."

So, he will not be able to submit any shameful, inaccurate, racist, bigoted articles that have not been okayed by his mates (sorry, subjected to scientific scrutiny by academic peers) for one year.

This isn't long enough for me. And, if someone has the gumption to go this far out to disseminate, culture and propagate this tripe, he probably has academic type friends who'll support him, why not, the LSE supports him with a pay packet each month. Let's look at the published (and apparently scientifically sound) papers that the LSE is not ashamed to show on its site (as of 15/9/11):

Beautiful British parents have more daughters
Kanazawa, Satoshi (2011) Beautiful British parents have more daughters. Reproductive sciences, 18 (4). pp. 353-358. ISSN 1933-7191

Full of generalisations, but the crux is that beauty is more important for women than men, so 'beautiful' people have more daughters. I wonder then, how black people have any daughters at all....

In 2009 he said feminism is illogical, unnecessary and evil: "First, modern feminism is illogical because, as Pinker points out, it is based on the vanilla assumption that, but for lifelong gender socialization and pernicious patriarchy, men and women are on the whole identical. An insurmountable body of evidence by now conclusively demonstrates that the vanilla assumption is false; men and women areinherently, fundamentally, and irreconcilably different. Any political movement based on such a spectacularly incorrect assumption about human nature – that men and women are and should be identical – is doomed to failure. Further, modern feminism is unnecessary, because its entire raison d’ĂȘtre is the unquestioned assumption that women are and have historically always been worse off than men. The fact that men and women are fundamentally different and want different things makes it difficult to compare their welfare directly, to assess which sex is better off; for example, the fact that women make less money than men cannot by itself be evidence that women are worse off than men, any more than the fact that men own fewer pairs of shoes than women cannot be evidence that men are worse off than women."

That's right, when it comes to women it's always actually about shoes..... For more of this dribble, see Psychology Today, if you really must.

Back in 2006 the LSE backed him up on an article published in the British Journal of Health Psychology where he stated that African people living in African states have lower IQs than people in richer countries and this leads to chronic ill-health and poverty. Hog's wash, but for proof that I am not making this up, see: So, who's with me on not trusting the academic community to rein him in, either? This is the kind of stats that he has been teaching in the compulsory (yes, compulsory, as in students have NO CHOICE but to attend) lectures at the LSE.

The other punishment is for Kanazawa to forgo teaching any compulsory courses for a year. How about ANY courses EVER? How about him losing his job? Surely publishing that paper is drawing the LSE and the social scientific community into disrepute? If it has been found to be lacking academically, inaccurate in its findings and insensitive to audience, the correct action is dismissal, not to keep him from teaching racism in his stats classes for 12 short months.

This would not be too harsh because Kanazawa has not shown that he has changed from his marred course at all. Instead he says: "The blog post in question was motivated entirely by my scientific curiosity and my desire to solve an empirical puzzle."

Empirical puzzle? As though black women being ugly is a social fact. No, the only answer to that personal 'empirical puzzle' is that Kanazawa is racist, that is why he thinks black women are ugly. That's it, that is the end to the conundrum. Kanazawa is racist and so is his curiosity and I don't need to conduct a multilinear regression analysis to come up with that answer.

"In retrospect, I should have been more careful in selecting the title of the blog post and the language that I used to express my ideas."

How about a rigorous interrogation of those very same ideas? Run it by the EHRC first, then the ESRC for ethics and then take a step back, think about it for ten years, and then if you think it is still a good idea seek out other social scientists to co-author and if you have a hard time finding partners in your own School, drop it. That would be my advice to you, Satoshi.


Dr Satoshi Kanazawa - findings of internal review and disciplinary hearing

The internal review and formal disciplinary hearing into a controversial blog posting by Dr Satoshi Kanazawa, Reader in the Department of Management, at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has now been completed.

It has concluded that some of the arguments used in the publication were flawed and not supported by evidence, that an error was made in publishing the blog post and that Dr Kanazawa did not give due consideration to his approach or audience. Disciplinary action has been taken and Dr Kanazawa has written a letter of apology. Measures have also been put in place to ensure an incident of this nature does not happen again. In particular, Dr Kanazawa must refrain from publishing in all non-peer reviewed outlets for a year. Further, he will not be teaching any compulsory courses in the School for this academic year.

On 15 May 2011 Dr Satoshi Kanazawa posted a blog entry on the Psychology Today website entitled “Why are black women less physically attractive than other women?”. The School received considerable criticism from LSE students, academics and members of the public about the blog article.

In response, the School appointed a committee of senior academics to investigate the blog posting and its impact. It was clear that a number of people had been greatly offended by the blog and for this Dr Kanazawa has apologised. The review and hearing also considered the quality of the research underlying the article. After examination of the blog and detailed discussion with Dr Kanazawa, the hearing concluded that some of the assertions put forward in the blog post were flawed and would have benefited from more rigorous academic scrutiny. The view was that the author ignored the basic responsibility of a scientific communicator to qualify claims made in proportion to the certainty of the evidence.

It was the opinion of the hearing that the publication of the article had brought the School into disrepute. During the internal investigation and at the disciplinary hearing Dr Kanazawa expressed regret for the offence caused by the article and the damage to the School’s reputation. The School has accepted that Dr Kanazawa has learnt from this experience and will not make the same errors in future.



The letter of apology by Dr Satoshi Kanazawa to LSE Director Professor Judith Rees reads as follows:

Dear Professor Rees:

I am writing to express my sincere apology for the controversial post on myPsychology Today blog and the damage it has caused to the reputation of the School. I regret that the controversy surrounding its publication has offended and hurt the feelings of so many both inside and outside the School. The blog post in question was motivated entirely by my scientific curiosity and my desire to solve an empirical puzzle. It was not at all motivated by a desire to seek or cause controversy and I deeply regret the unintended consequences that its publication nevertheless had because of my error in judgment. I accept I made an error in publishing the blog post.

In retrospect, I should have been more careful in selecting the title of the blog post and the language that I used to express my ideas. In the aftermath of its publication, and from all the criticisms that I have received, I have learned that some of my arguments may have been flawed and not supported by the available evidence. In my blog post, I did not give due consideration to my approach to the interpretation of the data and my use of language.

The past three months have been most difficult for all concerned, and I would never want to relive the experience. I give you my solemn word that in the future I will give more consideration to the approach to my work and I will never again do anything to damage the reputation of the School.

Yours sincerely,

Satoshi Kanazawa


Friday, 16 September 2011

Bol (Speak)

by Chitra Nagarajan

Bol, the newest film from Shoaib Mansor, was released in Pakistan in June this year and in India, the UK and the USA on 31st August. I just returned from seeing it tonight, on the fervent recommendation of a friend who urged me to spread the word.

South Asian cinema remains dominated by films of the singing/ dancing romance/ thriller variety but there is a growing number of films of a more political nature. Bol is a welcome addition to Pakistani cinema. The director has stated, 'Having been so blessed in life, I often think of the things that I should be grateful for. The list always seems to be never ending, but invariably it ends at one thing... that I was born a MAN. Nothing in the world scares me more than the thought of being born a woman or a eunuch...'

Bol tells the story of Zainab, the eldest of eight children that survive into adulthood, born in Lahore. She is about to be executed for murder and asks to be able to tell her story to the media from the execution block before she is hanged.

She starts with 'I am not innocent. I am a killer not a criminal.' She goes on to tell the story of growing up in a patriarchal household with a controlling, tyrannical and abusive father and a mother made ill by repeated pregnancies in the quest for a son. Even prayers during an India-Pakistan cricket match cause tension. 'In my house, father's absence was celebrated as a festival,' Zainab says at one point. The film addresses issues including poverty, Shia/ Sunni dynamics, the need for women's education, intersexuality, religion, homosexuality, prostitution, the perceived 'burden' of having daughters, as well as the realities of living in a household controlled by a non-benevolent patriarch. It also celebrates women's resistance and sisterhood. 'Like a man, you raise your hand when you are speechless,' Zainab says to her father just before he is about to beat her. At another point, she exclaims, 'I wish I was God; I would make every man give birth to a child,' when trying to explain to her father why he shouldn't impregnate her mother again.

The story unfolds in ways that I am not going to mention - needless to say that at around 2 1/2 hours, quite a lot happens. Zainab ends by asking, Why is only taking life a crime and not giving it as well? Why is having illegitimate children only wrong but not having children and making their life hell? Why isn't it a crime to produce children if you can't feed them?

It's received largely rave reviews (although one TV host has said 'filmmakers should realise that the masses want entertainment and not social messages') with many calling it 'a courageous film that has the guts to expose issues plaguing the society. It raises questions, challenges the age-old customs and mirrors a reality most convincingly.'

Hunt down a cinema showing the film (there aren't many of them around in the UK I'm afraid) and go and watch it if you can.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

'disgusting Nigerian/slave'...the long road to racial equality continues

by Caroline Alabi

At a London airport recently a white man threw racist rants at singer Kelis today because he thought she cut the line. Many people witnessed this open racist rant as they were queuing up and none of them flinched.

He called her a disgusting Nigerian, a slave and said she should refer to him as sir. While this was happening the clerk at the customs desk was nodding his head in agreement! Kelis wasn't alone when this was happening; she was holding her 2 year old son. Approximately 300 other passengers who were queuing also witnessed this and not one person said a word!

Why are we so behind in terms of progression with racial equality and dealing with racism in the UK? Well, Kelis answers this nicely when she says that in the UK everything is swept under a rug - I couldn't agree with this more! When Obama got elected I remember going into work and one of the first things the receptionist (white) said was it's not long before he'll get assassinated! I then proceeded to ignore her and talk openly in the office to my other colleagues about the fact that only ignorant people will be disappointed with a black president. She always used to make subtle statements that were clearly racially charged and because she would word things in a certain way it was hard to actually point out that she was being racist.

A black prime minister in the UK is not even within reach if you ask me because the stiff upper lip culture of the UK is about not being honest and open about things. Americans will openly challenge racism and talk about inequality and aren't afraid to but in the UK saying something like ‘I'm part of a black feminist group’ will just lead to people thinking you are some sort of black panther lesbian idealist but they will pretend that they don't have an issue with it! The racism in the UK so undercover, so discreet and so subtle that it's even harder to tackle!

Here is an article on the racist attack against Kelis, but it makes you wonder doesn't it? The UK isn't actually that tolerant despite the great mix of ethnicities and nationalities represented here. It makes me feel like in theory we think we are making progress because we have race discrimination employment laws in place but in reality it hasn't changed things as much as we think. Until we start openly challenging racist and don't feel apologetic/embarrassed to challenge racism then it will continue. We need to help ourselves because nobody else will.

Ethiopian Girl, Ethiopian Girl

by Saba Mozzagizi

The other day my friend was on the tube when she overheard a group of young boys talking about girls, she didn't really pay attention until she heard one of them say very loudly “I don’t care, I don’t care how hot that chick is, I only want an Ethiopian”.

It is true, what is considered beauty in popular culture changes, which means what is considered beautiful in hip hop culture changes. Pop culture is hip hop, but hip hop is not pop culture; meaning everything you hear on the radio has been influenced by hip hop but there are certain aspects of hip hop culture that can still remain outside of pop (ie. models with fake butts). So when you see women with big butts on television becoming the trend, you can bet that in hip hop videos that the women have even bigger behinds, some of which have been artificially enhanced.

These bodies are now artificial so these women who are idolized for their parts can have the same measurements regardless of ethnic background. However rap artists covet these women based on their race rather than their individual looks ie. shouting out Brazilian girls, Spanish girls, Asian girls, Light skinned girls, Dark skinned girls etc.

Lately I have been hearing more and more of this type of coveting language surrounding Ethiopian women, especially since I have moved to London. I have been stopped on the streets by men who are obviously not Ethiopian, that have taken the time to learn a few phrases in Amharic (the most spoken language in Ethiopia) to start a conversation. Why? People are people, the differences within races are greater than those between different races. There are plenty of “unattractive” Ethiopian girls!

I may be a bit sensitive because I am the first person in my family to have been born outside of Ethiopia, in Canada. My mother had lived a life of fear of her government, oppression of her political beliefs (she was a socialist), love and laughter before she had even arrived in Canada at the age of 25. So maybe I am sensitive to the fact that someone who has gone through so much should be only talked about for her outer beauty and for the fact that some teenage boy might have wanted to “have” her or date her daughters, nieces etc. just because she was born in a particular country.

Do not get me wrong, growing up in a city and going to schools with very few black people, hearing rappers consider women of my ethnicity beautiful, made me feel better. It made me feel like maybe, somewhere, people considered girls with my same background attractive. However, there is a difference between appreciating an individual’s beauty and deciding that you will only date one race or ethnicity of people.

Oh, and by the way calling a woman exotic based on her looks is not a compliment, it is racist.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Words Fail Me

Dear Sirs • man to man • manpower • craftsman
working men • the thinking man • the man in the street
fellow countrymen • the history of mankind
one-man show • man in his wisdom • statesman
forefathers • masterful • masterpiece • old masters
the brotherhood of man • Liberty Equality Fraternity
sons of free men • faith of our fathers • god the father
god the son • yours fraternally • amen • words fail me

(Women’s Right’s Postcard, Women's Press, London
Stephanie Dowrick, 1981)

* The formatting, including the green font for the 'Words fail me', is apparently how it appears on the card.