Psychology Today: Stop Publishing Racist & Sexist Articles
***UPDATE 5/31/11: PSYCHOLOGY TODAY APOLOGY IS NOT ENOUGH***
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 change.org 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:
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.
Linda Perkins, Ph.D.
Yaba Amgborale Blay, Ph.D.
Brittney Cooper, Ph.D.
Susana Morris, Ph.D.
Amina Wadud, Ph.D.
Sarah Haley, Ph.D.
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Ph.D.
Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Ph.D.
Osizwe Raena Harwell, Ph.D.
Alondra Nelson, Ph.D.
Salamishah Tillet, Ph.D.
Crunk Feminist Collective
Carla Jean-McNeil Jackson, Esq.
Marlo Denice David, Ph.D.
Valerie Ann Johnson, Ph.D.
Carla Stokes, Ph.D.
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