Psychology Today: Stop Publishing Racist & Sexist Articles
  • Petitioned Kaja Perina, Editor in Chief

This petition was delivered to:

Psychology Today
Kaja Perina, Editor in Chief
Psychology Today
Lybi Ma, Deputy Editor
Psychology Today

Psychology Today: Stop Publishing Racist & Sexist Articles

    1. Petition by

      Alisa Bierria

      San Francisco, CA

June 2011


A message from petition starters Alisa Bierria and Aishah Shahidah Simmons:

Thanks to the collective efforts of over 100,000 people who signed this petition, another petition holding Psychology Today accountable, and an additional Color of Change petition, as well as the students organizing at the London School of Economics, Satoshi Kanazawa is no longer a contributing blogger for Psychology Today!  

We remain in solidarity with the student movement to remove Kanazawa as a faculty member at London School of Economics.  We applaud Psychology Today for not only parting ways with Kanazawa, but transforming their editorial process for reviewing blog posts.  We strongly urge the editors to take more proactive and transparent steps in exploring the role of racism and sexism in scientific research and analysis.  

Thank you again for the amazing support including signing the petition, sharing it with your communities, and for all of your smart and on point comments.  This effort proves that we can successfully hold corporations, governments, and individuals accountable when black women are violently targeted.  We're proud to have worked on this with you!!


Almost two full weeks after this article first appeared, Kaja Perina, Psychology Today editor-in-chief, issued a lukewarm apology.

By choosing to publish such damaging information, Psychology Today has committed an egregious racial and cultural injury against Black women that cannot be rectified through insincere apologies and nebulous “promises” that it will not happen again. We demand that these proactive steps are taken by Psychology today to address this problem:

* Offer a real apology that acknowledges that scientific racism is wrong and detrimental and that Psychology Today’s choice to publish such material is injurious to Black women;

* Dismiss Satoshi Kanazawa; his track record suggests that he simply cannot be trusted to handle with care and rigor the platform that Psychology Today provides and that its readers respect;

* Clarify the "measures" you've taken to prevent scientific racism from being published on Psychology Today's website and magazine in the future for public evaluation.

* Run a series of articles by other contributors that actively debunk scientific racism and its connection to the field of Psychology.



***ORIGINAL PETITION, 5/17/11 ***

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 reblogged here).  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 website, 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 website, 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 website 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 website,

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 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."

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
Crunk Feminist Collective
Ava DuVernay
Carla Jean-McNeil Jackson, Esq.
Christa Bell
Marlo Denice David, Ph.D.
Valerie Ann Johnson, Ph.D.
Carla Stokes, Ph.D.


Recent signatures


    1. Alisa Bierria
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you again for this victory! Please see above for the final update. We appreciate your contribution to this collective effort!

    2. Psychology Today, An Apology Is Not Enough!

      Alex DiBranco
      Petition Organizer

      On May 15, 2011, Psychology Today magazine published an article by London-based evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa entitled “Why are Black women less physically attractive than other women?” The piece asserted “objectively” that in...

    3. Alisa Bierria
      Petition Organizer

      Wow, over 40,000 signatures! Check out the petition update: the Psychology Today apology is not enough, we want genuine accountability...the campaign continues!

    4. Reached 40 signatures
    5. Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      Psych Today has apologized...but where is our assurance it won't happen again?

    6. Alisa Bierria
      Petition Organizer

      Wow, thank you for the powerful comments and over 35K signatures! We're working on the next phase of this campaign and will keep you updated. In the meantime, check out this powerful preview of the documentary, Dark Girls:

    7. Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      "Stand up, do the right thing, apologize, make amends and move forward"

    8. Reached 30 signatures
    9. Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      Forbes blog calls on business visionaries to speak out against Psychology Today:

    10. Reached 12 signatures
    11. Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      The Data Is In: Satoshi Kanazawa is a Bad Scientist (via Scientific American)

    12. Reached 3 signatures
    13. Alisa Bierria
      Petition Organizer

      Students Push to Get Satoshi Kanazawa Fired in London:

    14. Alisa Bierria
      Petition Organizer

      "The University of London Union Senate, the Union’s legislative body representing over 120,000 students, voted unanimously in favour of calling for a campaign for the dismissal of evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa, Reader in Management at the LSE, and to condemn his poor research.":

    15. Reached 2 signatures
    16. Shelby Knox
      Senior Campaigner

      The Pseudoscience of "Black Women Are Less Attractive" via ColorLines:

    17. Reached 1 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Maleka Giovinco HAVRE DE GRACE, MD, MD
      • over 3 years ago

      If we are not attractive....why are white women trying so hard to look like us? Tanning, breast implants, butt implants, and weaves. These things come natural to a black woman!!

    • cherie conley RALEIGH, NC
      • over 3 years ago

      This wasn't a "study" that any respectable scientist would ever sign their name to. Aside from the "findings" and conclusions, this just was not a well designed study - period. Now, for the conceptualization, this is a revitalization of every racist and mysoginystic "scientific" study of the 1800's and before which justified slavery and female oppression. Is your magazine publicly endorsing a societal regression to that type of thinking and behavior? You(the editorial staff at the magazine-not journal) should be embarassed on many levels.

    • Ruth Westnidge BARCELONA, SPAIN
      • over 3 years ago

      Publishing an article which features racist and sexist views puporting to be 'scientifically' validated is the height of irreponsibility for any publication, let alone on addressing mental health issues. Youe publication absolutely needs to take a firm stance, issue a full public apology and explain how you will screen articles in future. It is not acceptable to simply pull the article, there are further steps that must be taken.

    • LaDeketra Joiner NEWBERRY, SC
      • over 3 years ago

      I don't understand why black women are described as unattractive. You have all other races tanning, filling their lips, and buttocks just to get close as possible to us. Be strong my beautiful black sisters! My mother always taught me that when someone bashes or pick fights with you for no apparent reason they want something you got, and thats a true statement.

    • Brandy Johnson CLEVELAND, OH
      • over 3 years ago

      I want to thank everyone that brought this incident to light. We have to stand united and strong in the fight for equality. I will in turn pass this along.


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