Black Women Are Less Attractive?

Black Women Are Less Attractive?

The writer of “The Scientific Fundamentalist” blog for Psychology Today apparently thinks African American women are less physically attractive than women of other races, and he cited unscientific “attractiveness ratings” from a recent study to justify his bias.

In “Why Are African-American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?,” published on May 15, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa used scientific language and multiple graphs to back absurd statements, claiming that he can “compute the latent ‘physical attractiveness factor’” from his data. Psychology Today eventually removed the post and issued an apology, but not before it drew plenty of fire from around the Web. A copy of the article was reposted on Quora.

The brief apology statement posted about two weeks later, just this past Friday, said Psychology Today “does not tolerate racism or prejudice of any sort” and that it had not approved the post. Editor-in-Chief Kaja Perina wrote, “We deeply apologize for the pain and offense that this post caused. Psychology Today’s mission is to inform the public, not to provide a platform for inflammatory and offensive material. … We have taken measures to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.”

However, the apology stopped short of detailing what measures would be taken to prevent future racist articles from being published. It also failed to point out the post’s scientific flaws, let alone denounce them. Merely recognizing the post as offensive is not enough; Psychology Today also needs to call out Kanazawa’s faulty science.

As many have pointed out, Kanazawa’s statistics are deeply flawed. A Scientific American journalist and other writers for Psychology Today recently conducted independent statistical analyses of the Add Health data and debunked Kanazawa’s claims. Just the beginning of how his claims didn’t make sense: Kanazawa used data from an Add Health study about how adolescent behaviors affect their health—not a study about race and beauty. It’s common knowledge that the population of any study needs to be an unbiased sample, and the people doing the beauty judging were Add Health researchers. Since when are the researchers themselves an unbiased sample?

Having presented these flawed statistics in his post, Kanazawa mused about the cause of this supposed attractiveness difference, passing up the “race difference in intelligence” as a potential cause (he claimed beautiful people are more intelligent)—as if such a racial difference exists. He just as confidently concluded that the only possible explanation he could think of must be that African American women have higher levels of testosterone—with no data to back up that outrageous claim.

Now, the London School of Economics is conducting an internal investigation of Kanazawa’s comments and students are calling for his firing, The Guardian reported.

Perhaps the most disturbing part is that Kanazawa has gotten away with other absurd claims until now (past posts include titles like “Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?”), under the façade of fighting political correctness in the name of science. Which makes you think: How easily fooled is our society? Are racist or sexist beliefs suddenly okay if some statistics are thrown out there to justify them? It’s all too easy to take statistics out of context to back up ridiculous claims and hide the truth. Take race and the academic achievement gap—does such a gap prove some racial minorities are inherently less intelligent? Or does it prove that our society has systematically oppressed those same minorities for generations?

If pseudoscience can be so recklessly used to justify racism, then what can we do as Christians to combat these social messages? Perhaps we need to remind others of the truths behind Scripture such as Galatians 3:26-29 and the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that all humans are inherently equal and our society can only heal after we acknowledge the damage of racial prejudice and injustice. In doing so, we must reject Eurocentric definitions of beauty and instead define ourselves each as Christ does: children of God worthy of love regardless of how our society might attempt to rank our value.

Chicago’s Rebel Priest

Chicago’s Rebel Priest

TRUTH TO POWER: Father Michael Pfleger is equal parts activist and priest.

Father Michael Pfleger is not your typical priest. He has drawn media attention for his activism (protesting drug paraphernalia stores and alcohol advertising), evangelism (paying prostitutes to talk with them about how they can escape), criticism of the Catholic Church (he’d like to see women ordained), political rhetoric (once mocking then-Sen. Hillary Clinton at President Obama’s then-church—although he later apologized), and personal life (adopting three children). He’s the white priest of a predominantly African American congregation. He’s also a beloved leader in Auburn Gresham, a neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside that’s broken by poverty and gang violence.

Recently, Cardinal Francis George asked Father Pfleger to consider leaving St. Sabina Catholic Church to become the president at nearby Leo High School—a request that caused a dispute but eventually ended in a decision to prepare a transition plan for St. Sabina. In the Catholic Church, priests are normally reassigned after at most 12 years at a parish, but Father Pfleger has been allowed to stay at St. Sabina for the past 30 years.

In an interview on the Smiley & West radio show in April, Father Pfleger made it clear he didn’t want to leave St. Sabina and said he would “look outside the church” if forced to leave. Cardinal George suspended Father Pfleger from his duties a month ago, writing in a letter to Father Pfleger, “If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish.”

After conversations between the two, the cardinal reinstated Father Pfleger on May 20th, with Father Pfleger reaffirming his commitment to the Catholic Church in a statement and taking his place at the pulpit again that weekend. Both issued statements (found on the St. Sabina website) about their conversation and agreement. Although it’s not clear what will happen next, Father Pfleger said in his statement that he is working on a transition plan for St. Sabina to finish by Dec. 1.

Chicago Theological Seminary associate professor Julia M. Speller is a scholar of African American religious history who has led workshops on leadership at St. Sabina. She said the tension surrounding the Father Pfleger controversy comes from the “personality and methodology” he uses to serve his parish.

“He’s a very outspoken, unapologetic, passionate man,” Speller said. “Perhaps the way he lives out his calling makes people uncomfortable. It’s not the way the average Catholic priest might do it, but that’s the way he lives out his calling on behalf of his community.”

Speller said that Father Pfleger’s style meets the needs of his particular neighborhood. She said Father Pfleger preaches like many African American pastors, using stories and an emotional appeal to drive people to socially conscious actions. While many white Protestant churches tend to preach only to the head, Father Pfleger speaks to both the head and the heart, she said.

“In black churches and other churches that are socially conscious, oftentimes the sermon is an opportunity,” Speller said. “Get their mind and emotion and energy all combined, so when they leave the service they’re ready to do something.” (See a video clip of Father Pfleger preaching upon his return below, or watch the entire sermon.) Indeed, in many ways St. Sabina feels more like a traditional black Baptist congregation than a Catholic parish, which may also be at the root of the conflict between Father Pfleger and Cardinal George.


Speller said she sees St. Sabina as an example of parishes that have adopted the cultural expressions of an ethnic group, as Catholic churches have done throughout American history. She said the parish’s music and worship style are similar to that found in many African-American churches, only the ritual and theology is uniquely Catholic. “The same spirit is there, but it’s placed around the traditional experience of the mass and the Catholic Church,” Speller said.

Speller compared St. Sabina’s ministry to the spirit behind the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, since St. Sabina has encouraged lay involvement and collaboration between denominations. Ultimately, she said the cardinal’s decision to reinstate Father Pfleger reflected the Catholic Church’s support of his work.

“I trust that this decision was made in an effort to continue the dynamic work that was done in this community,” Speller said. “I trust that (Cardinal George) understands (Father Pfleger’s) compassion and recognizes the value Father Pfleger brings to that specific parish.”

Find out more about Father Pfleger at the St. Sabina website.

This Week’s Pendulum

This Week’s Pendulum


With 122 fatalities, 750 injured, and nearly 6 miles of debris, the tornado that hit Joplin, MO., last Sunday is the deadliest single tornado in 60 years. Please continue to pray for this devastated community. And if you’re looking for ways to donate to the various relief efforts, see the opportunities to share below.

• Click here to donate funds to the Joplin, MO Disaster Relief.

• Click here to team up with The Salvation Army’s support services. Cell phone users may text “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

• Click here to make a donation to the Heart of Missouri United Way’s Joplin fund. You can also text “JOPLIN” to 864833, to make a $10 donation.

• Click here to donate to the Red Cross’ efforts click here. You may also text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


After government troops collided with armed tribesmen, causing 10 fatalities, Yemen braced for the worst. Protesters gathered on Friday to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh end his 33-year-rule. With the intensity rising in Yemen, and frequent battles between the local government and the tribesmen, residents brace for the worst. Let us keep Yemen in prayer.

3 ART JEREMY GEDDES OIL PAINTINGS LOOK LIKE PHOTOGRAPHS Contemporary artist Jeremy Geddes continues to leave his fans mind boggled with his realistic paintings. His latest, “A Perfect Vacuum,” is perhaps, his most incredible yet. The piece is the first reveal of a series, which will premiere at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in spring 2012. If he isn’t considered one of the greatest realist oil painters of all time, he is sure to enter the conversation as a candidate next year based on this incredible preview.

Jeremy Geddes art

The Perfect Vacuum, oil painting by Jeremy Geddes

4 MUSIC THE GREAT DEBATE: DOES BEYONCÉ EVER DO ANYTHING ORIGINAL? As much as I appreciate Beyoncé’s fierce return, I understand why some fans cannot respect the fact that not only has she ripped off Pon de Floor, with her new single, Girls, but also her Billboard performance was, yet, another great idea from someone else. #Bottomline: Beyoncé is without question an incredible artist, but is her propensity for grabbing inspiration from other artists simply a case of “the sincerest form of flattery,” or is it something else?



Bonds was convicted last month for obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury about using steroids last month, but that hasn’t stopped him from doing good deeds. After Giants fan, Bryan Stow, was beaten outside Dodger Sradium, and left in a coma, Bonds offered to pay for his two children’s future college tuition. The tuition is a start (awesome job, Mr. Bonds), but healing for Mr. Stow is probably the first thing on the Stow family’s hearts right now. Let’s keep them in our prayers during this difficult time.


Case Study: Aaron Castellanos started a T-shirt business, which showed promising signs of growth. So he ordered excess supplies on credit, which turned out to be a huge mistake. For help, he turned to veteran entrepreneur Norm Brodsky, who advised him to change to a print-on-demand model which would allow him to better control inventory while still making a margin. In this age of variety and customizable products, businesses need to ditch the “Ford Model-T mass production process” and embrace the “Pandora give the customer exactly what they want” model.


 SEO might be the single most important aspect of any online business. The problem is that most companies, even large ones, do not capitalize or even understand how vital it is. Using a tool like Wordtracker, search for keywords that users would search for when researching your company’s services. Second, you want to ensure that the search engines can find the keywords easily. Third, you want to use a site like Validatos, which will find bugs in your coding and ensure that your site is as organized as possible.


ABC’s new series Good Christian Belles was originally called Good Christian B****es, based on Kim Gatlin’s book of the same title. Due to obvious backlash, they changed the title. The show takes place in Dallas, Texas, where Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) returns after a divorce. Amanda finds that her old high school acquaintances have not changed; they are still full of both good Christian geniality and scandal. Honest depiction of Christian life or unnecessary defamation?

Watch preview below!


Since her Oscar-nominated performance in last year’s True Grit, I HEART Hailee Steinfeld and cannot wait for her to star in this new take on the Shakespeare classic. Lilly Collins, who portrayed Sandra Bullock’s daughter in The Blind Side, was originally cast in the film but canceled due to schedule conflicts. I know Steinfield can nail this role! See an iinterview below!


I have no doubt that Justin Bieber can sell anything, including perfume. But this awful commercial would fall flat if it weren’t for the swarms of pre-teen girls that dream of getting a kiss from Bieber “Someday,” the name of the fragrance. Watch the commercial that should have never been below!

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