Racist Science: An Evolutionary Psychologist on Black Women

In a recent post in Psychology Today, Satoshi Kanazawa wrote an incendiary post titled “Why are African American Women Less Physically Attractive than Other Woman.”

In Kanazawa’s post he purports that black women are categorically and scientifically less attractive than men and women of other racial groups, including black men. His “findings” are based on Ad Health (a longitudinal study funded by the US to analyze “adolescent health outcomes”) interviewers’ “objective” ranking of the attractiveness (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1=very unattractive and 5 =very attractive) of white, black, Asian, and Native American Ad health participants.

Kanazawa does not specify the race and background of the Ad Health interviewers.

Kanazawa takes as fact the rankings of the Add Health interviewers and based on their opinions he purports that indeed black women are the most unattractive group of individuals regardless of sex and race. Kanazawa concludes his argument stating:

The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently… In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race differences in the level of testosterone can therefore potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races.

Kanazawa’s argument is of course baseless and there is no scientific evidence to support his notion that black women have more testosterone than other races of women. The perception of Kanazawa and the Ad Health interviewers is a direct reflection of the historical social construction of black women (and whites) by elite white men, such as Thomas Jefferson and Georges Cuvier. This is a society historically constructed by elite white men, whereby their notion of beauty is treated as the irrevocable truth. A socially created “truth,” that has not only been accepted by whites, but also by some people of color. As far back as the 15th and 16th centuries, European travelers and scientists have defined black women as innately inferior to white women in beauty, sexuality, and femininity. These early European travelers often defined black women as masculine and thus fit for the hard life of slavery.

My recent research examining 134 contemporary white men’s perspectives of black women reveals the deep seated racist and sexist frame that many white men operate from as it relates to black women. This is a frame that unfortunately has been adopted by some people of color. Overwhelmingly the white male respondents in the study, rooted in the historical social construction of black women, found black women only attractive if they met a white normative standard. Those black women considered physically unattractive were those with traits defined as “black,” such as, coarse” or “nappy” hair; “black” facial features, “big lips” and “wide noses”; dark skin; and “larger” and “disproportionate” body shapes (using the language of the participants).

For example, one respondent in his 20s stated the following about black women and the standard of beauty:

There are some black women who are attractive. And they aren’t full black. The only black women I find attractive are a mix of black and [E]uropean, black and [L]atino, or black and [A]sian. They end up with the tan complexion, and hair that doesn’t look frizzled or like a brillo pad.

Similarly, another respondent in his 50s stated the following about black women and attractiveness:

I think black women’s features are too extreme; they are too dark, and they usually are much too large for my tastes. The black women I have know[n] are very aggressive and have terrible attitudes…The only black women I have found even marginally attractive are smaller, lighter-skinned black women with nice rear ends. ala Beyonce.

Another respondent, an older working-class male, articulated one of the most racialized and gendered social constructions of black women, when he stated:

“I tend to read African features as somewhat masculine. The ‘blacker’ the person, the less femininity I tend to see.”

Whereas the other respondents alluded to black or too-black features as a negative “extreme” that indicates unattractiveness, this respondent articulated that perceived unattractiveness as a sign of masculinity. His assertion that black features on black women are masculine is rooted in the deeply racialized and gendered construction of the black female body, which includes the firm denial of femininity, beauty, and womanhood.

Hence, it is no surprise that people like Kanazawa hold such negative perceptions of black women’s beauty as irrevocable fact. Kanazawa and the Ad health interviewers have adopted a deep seated frame of reference where whiteness and white defined notions of beauty are so deeply entrenched that they are not recognized as the racist and sexist constructions that they are. For them and a large proportion of this global world it is simply the unquestioned norm.


  1. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    Kanazawa was, for me, sufficiently smacked around by Psychology Today writers that I haven’t give his post much thought, other than to think how awefully intellectually lazy he is. If what he did is considered “scholarship,” the problem with American education is worse than I had imagined.

    Besides, he’s not all that cute himself. I’d be more upset if someone like the model on the cover of WE WHO ARE DARK had said that.

    Initially, Europeans thought Africans were beautiful. In the first travel logs, Africans are described as beautiful and physically striking, not just bronze, but all sort of shades in the brown color-family. I call to your attention “palmolive oil,” right? What came to mind for you? Soap? Lotion? Yeah, Africans, along with Amerindians, taught Europeans about personal hygiene: bathing, moisturizing, that type of thing. (You’re welcome.) Only after it became necessary to justify slavery did Africans become “ugly.” I say, “ugly,” (quote unquote) because it’s not that African features became less physically attractive, only less desirable as markers of low, if any, social status.

    In terms of evolution biology, wide hips and big butts are good things. In terms of sexuality and arousal, big lips is a good thing. Women in Western cultures use lip stick to accomplish basically what big, pouted lips do naturally. Also, women with hour-glass figures have the healthiest outcomes (wikipedia).

    I also call to your attention the fashion habits of the Victorian era, what with corsets and those dresses with the hoops mimicking Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “big butts.” European and white American women have done much to their bodies throughout the centuries to mimic what black women have naturally, stereotypically anyway. Anyone who’s willing to be honest with themselves have to admit that what’s considered beautiful is culturally influenced, and as such, anything that marks low social status is deemed ugly. . .

    . . . unless the person is question is white or cream complected. Take Angelina Jolie for example. Would she be considered more attractive if her lips were thinner or her skin paler? And who’s more “hour-glassed” than Beyonce? If she were dark-skinned, she’d look more like Serena than Venus. She ain’t small, as one of your participants suggested. At 5’7″ and 139 lbs, she, like me, is on the upper end of a normal BMI. She’s just red-boned. That’s all. Just red-boned. And that’s what moves her from “extreme” to “attractive.” (Also, note white men’s colorism.)

    As for Africans having more testosterone, I had never even heard of that idea until I read clippings of Kanawaza’s article. On one hand, if it were true, I’ll remind you that high levels of testosterone indicate high libido. I’d think men would find that “attractive.” Or, maybe white men like women who have, er, “headaches.”

    On the other hand, since it’s not true that Africans have more testosterone, I’ll remind you that estrogen is vital in the development of wide hips and a large bust. The only way women of African descent would have “disproportionate” body shapes is if we have more estrogen, not less.

    I mean seriously. There are a hundred and one different ways to knock Kanawaza’s “findings” even without mentioning current racism, and I didn’t even get into the age and race of the Ad Health study participants. His opening paragraph, or at least what I’ve read of it, is enough to let you know his theory is junk.

    Though, I have to admit, now that the older working-class white guy mentioned it, the “blacker” a person is, the less femininity even I tend to see. The thing is, though, I’ve never thought much of Eurocentric notions of femininity, docile, passive, etc. So being less “feminine” is not necessarily a bad thing to me if at all.

    Cause wow! If we define “feminine” as simply “qualities ascribed to women,” in terms of what makes a woman a “natural woman,” even that’s culturally influenced. The actual dictionary definition is: qualities traditionally ascribed to women. What’s more traditional than culture, right? I don’t know how I’d feel if I were darker – though, I do think I’m cute when I’m tanned – I definitely wish my lips were wider. And just like the men I saw growing up had calloused-hands, the women I knew were anything but “feminine.” And they were in this Homemakers’ Club, but still not the mainstream idea of “homemakers.”

    Man! Kanawaza should have his PhD revoked or something. If nothing else, he’s lost any chance he had at being a judge for Miss America. And the US has a long way to go. A very long way to go.

    Oh! and last thing – stupid ain’t sexy either.

    • Nicthommi

      In the same vein, the tension between the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda was rooted in the preference that the Belgians had for the Tutsis. Phrenology was quite popular when King Leopold I of Belgium hired Henry Morton Stanley to find a portion of African that he could claim for his very own.

      Based on their interpretation of the appearance of the Tutsis, the Belgians preferred them, and picked them as their allies (they were soldiers and enforcers for example). They took Tutsi women, who they considered to be beautiful, as their lovers. And they considered them to be more intelligent.

      The comment by the man who said that he only thought “mixed” black women to be attractive highlights how much race is a social construct. You cannot tell how much European, Native, or African blood a person has based on how light or dark they are. The person making the comment does not know. It’s only what he in his mind identifies as black that he is putting down. I’ve also noticed that some white people will insist that a lighter skinned black person who still has very African/Black features looks like a “tan” white woman. I’ve heard that comment about Tyra Banks (who even with a nose job has a fairly African face to me), Halle Berry (ditto-placed next to her mother, she looks NOTHING like the woman and has also had numerous nose jobs), and Beyonce(who looks more like her dad to me than her mom, who has a narrow nose-Beyonce’s nose is not narrow at all). Or I hear people say that Malia Obama looks like Barack Obama because she is closer to his skin tone, even though she has hte features of her mother. Meanwhile, if I was to take a fine featured dark skinned woman, I’m sure they would insist that she looks totally African. They just do not seem to be very good at evaluating us in any way, which is why I’m able to not really care what they think.

      But it’s odd b/c in other cases, they don’t seem to be able to tell the differences in skin tone at all. But I do think that what people see when they look at our black faces has a lot more to do with what is going on in their heads then what we actually look like.

      I think it’s also interesting that white men, who frequently flock to Asian women, would dismiss our features as being to big…Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Phillipinos frequently have very large, wide noses, wider than anything I see on black faces, and the Asian face tends to be rather wide as well. So it’s interesting that those features on our faces are judges as being beautiful but when on an Asian face are something worth chasing. Nothing about the Asian face fits the European beauty standard without a lot of surgery, yet they are deemed to be attractive by a lot of white people. Why is that?

      A bit rambling, but I look forward to seeing what other people say.

        • Nicthommi

          But the whole colorism thing is so odd…there are white people who seem to notice and some who really don’t. You just don’t know what they see when they look at you. It’s not uniform.

          As I mentioned before, I have friends who have white husbands who don’t see why Beyonce is considered to be attractive. (And the husband of one hates the ridiculously huge blond wigs that she is never caught without).

          I really think that the white men who claim to only like “mixed” women wouldn’t even date someone that they thought was mixed. Their Beyonce or Halle Berry would still just be a social experiment or a “side chick.” It’s very telling to me that Beyonce, who has neither white features nor particularly light skin or a slender frame, would be identified as someone who doesn’t look “black.” I think those are the same ones who for whatever reason can act like Venus and Serena Williams look like twins when they are completely different body types (funny that Venus can have that long and slender look but still be derided by some). And I think that the rest don’t notice the differences as much.

          At the end of the day, attractiveness is SO subjective. Something that I read, perhaps on another blog, was a comment by a matchmaker who said that she’d have white male clients who listed every race except black when expressing preferences. But then when going through the books, they’d keep picking out black women saying “but she’s really cute.” I really have to wonder what some of these people picture when they think of black women. I would love to know if these people are even around any, b/c I don’t see how you could be around a significant number of them and not find any appealing, or universally dismiss them as being unattractive. There are just so many types, so many features, colors, etc.

          • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

            You don’t think Beyonce is light-skinned? At least yellow if not lighter?

            Be that as it may, I think Brittany is doing research on the issue. Right, Brittany? And on a previous post, she stated that white men have these opinions of black women without have much social interaction. Black people are only 13% of the population, so it makes sense that white men, and whites in general, don’t have a lot of social interaction with black folks. What doesn’t make sense is that they presume to know so much about us.

            After spending the last several years learning the issue, I have no doubts that racism makes people stupid. In addition to the more well known stuff.

      • NewYorker

        “I’ve also noticed that some white people will insist that a lighter skinned black person who still has very African/Black features looks like a “tan” white woman. I’ve heard that comment about Tyra Banks (who even with a nose job has a fairly African face to me), Halle Berry (ditto-placed next to her mother, she looks NOTHING like the woman and has also had numerous nose jobs)….”

        Nicthommi, you made a great point. Vanessa Williams is often described as a tan white woman too. But to me, Vanessa’s features are not that different from Tyra’s.

        • Nicthommi

          Well, what is mostly silly to me is of course that none of those women have European features, and the fact that all three have had nose jobs and yet still don’t have European features makes it even more silly.
          Meanwhile, a dark-skinned person who does have a narrow or pointy nose is for some reason assumed to be authentically black.
          I mean, I have seen people who really did perhaps look like Europeans dipped in chocolate, it’s just never the people that non-blacks identify as such.
          It’s odd how when comparing colors, they do a bad job of differentiating things, but for some reason, they identify those people I mentioned as being inauthentically black.
          When skulls are found, forensic anthroplogists can tell the racial origins (full or partial) of the person in question because of fundamental differences in our bone structures…distances between facial bones, shapes, etc.
          My personal observation about what non-black people see when they look at any black face is a total mystery. I think sometimes it is biased by what they know (for example, Halle Berry has a white mom, although as I mentioned, there are no similarities in their aces), and while Tyra and Vanessa Williams original noses were quite wide and they both have coarse/kinky hair, they have green eyes, which for whatever reason, most non-blacks find to be shocking (although not that rare or unusual). I get that immigrants might not get it but it’s funny how many people think that in the U.S., blacks are 100% African unless they are known to have a white parent. I mean, I explained to someone that with Barack Obama having a white mom and Michelle Obama being a black American, they could easily have the same percentage of African DNA/genes (or she could even have less). But I get tired of their attempts to do the math (for example, a lot of people were really angry that Halle Berry said that her daughter was black, b/c according to them, she was only 25% black). It’s so funny that they made up rules and laws about who is black and who isn’t, and for whatever reason, now get mad when people continue to follow the rules that they made. (And of course, what you resemble physically trumps self-declaration anyway, although there is clearly a narrow definition of what “black” really is to some people’s eyes.)

          • Blaque Swan

            It’s so funny that they made up rules and laws about who is black and who isn’t, and for whatever reason, now get mad when people continue to follow the rules that they made.

            I have a theory about this. I think it’s just as simple as the fact that before, they used the ‘one drop rule’ to determine who would and who wouldn’t get to wear the “crown” of whiteness. Now, it’s kinda like nobody wants to wear that paper crown, as though being white is something to be ashamed of. Whereas previously, it was presumed that everyone wanted to be white, now I guess people get angry because it seems to thing nobody wants to be white. I mean, I guess it’s the way black folks felt when Tiger said he was “Cablasian.”

            Plus, they don’t seem to be upset about every multiracial person who self-identifies as black, or Latino, or anything else but white. Just the ones they’d like to claim: Pres Obama, Halle Berry, etc. I’m not aware of anyone who’s upset that Jason Kidd or Alicia Keys or Lisa Bonet or Diana Ross’s children (except the oldest one) or Terrance Howard consider themselves black.

          • NewYorker

            Nicthommi, Vanessa Williams had her nose jobs after becoming Miss America. If her features are not European, then they are predominantly African, right?

            Her features were not an obstacle for her to win the Miss America title.

    • Nicthommi

      Oh, actually, in regards to the production of estrogen, it’s the extra fat stored in the thighs and butt that would cause women who have that body type to have higher levels of circulating estrogen. You don’t grow the bigger breasts becaues you have more estrogen, you have more estrogen b/c of the fat that starts to accumulate in your butt and thighs as you hit puberty (which might result in more breast tissue development during puberty-not sure, but I have a lot of friends who wear 32-34 D,DD, DDD, and bigger bras-note of course that the small band size indicates that they are otherwise small women).

      It’s beneficial to have your fat stored that way b/c you are able to maximize your fat stores while minimizing your body volume/surface area, which is preferable in arid, high, and desert like climates.

      If your fat is stored in your stomach or back, as it is for people whose ancestors originate in colder climates, then your fertility fluctuates.

      Also, belly fat is the kind that increases your risk of insulin resistance (and diabetes). You’ll see that the women who are built that way have a higher waist to hip ratio (think apples vs. hourglasses or pears). So for example, Asians and Indians require a smaller weight gain to be at the same risk of diabetes when compared to Westerners who are much heavier. And this is because they store excess weight in the belly (of course there are exceptions but this is the most common area).

      It’s funny how the color or your skin can make people see vastly different things. I’d point out that Rosie O’Donnell and Oprah might be the same number on the scale (and maybe Oprah is even heavier), but which one has the more feminine shape?

      I think the problem is that perhaps when some of these people imagine black women, they still picture the Mammy stereotype, and you either have to appear like such an outlier that they dismiss you as not really looking black, OR no matter how you look, they see a Mammy.

      I’ve definitely heard people rattle off certain names as people who don’t “count” as representing black women for one reason or another, although the reasons given are usually pretty feeble and again just reflect the “beer gogges” that some of them wear when they see a black face.

    • Emilee124

      “In terms of evolution biology, wide hips and big butts are good things. In terms of sexuality and arousal, big lips is a good thing. Women in Western cultures use lip stick to accomplish basically what big, pouted lips do naturally. Also, women with hour-glass figures have the healthiest outcomes (wikipedia).

      I also call to your attention the fashion habits of the Victorian era, what with corsets and those dresses with the hoops mimicking Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “big butts.” European and white American women have done much to their bodies throughout the centuries to mimic what black women have naturally, stereotypically anyway. Anyone who’s willing to be honest with themselves have to admit that what’s considered beautiful is culturally influenced, and as such, anything that marks low social status is deemed ugly. . .”

      This statement of yours in untrue. First off, lipsticks were created to not give women big lips, but to give their lips color….and make them look healthy and fertile. That is the purpose of lipsticks. You cannot just draw on big lips with lipstick….no.

      Also, pale white skin and plumpness in the right areas were in fashion during Victorian era. Corsets were used to give women thin waists, (how is that only an African feature!) and those hoop skirts were to make their dresses bigger (that was the fashion) and make them look more plump.

  2. Nicthommi

    No, I don’t think she’s light at all. It’s all perspective right? But her skin tone doesn’t overlap with anything that a white person would have, it’s not a skin tone that would burn. It’s a pretty substantial caramel color in my opinion. How is that light? I guess to me, light would be someone who burns, and plenty of black people are that light. But there is such a huge spectrum. I’m dark skinned, yet there are loads of black people who are substantially darker than me and who wouldn’t see me that way either.

    I think that if you polled white men from D.C., you are going to get very different answers about black women than you would from white men in Wyoming, for example.

    I’ve lived in a lot of different parts of the U.S., and you can see how exposure to women of different races definitely colors (no pun intended) the way that men view those women, and whether or not they are attracted to them.

    Of course, my visits to Europe kind of shoot that theory to heck, since Western Europeans show interest in both black tourists and the African or Caribbean immigrants that are there (the degree to which this is true varies from country to country, and in some cases also matches the way that men approach women in general-so for example, I get hit on in Italy and France, but even though I know many German men who are married to black women, they don’t approach women the way that their “hot-blooded” neighbors do.) What I have noticed is that returned to some countries where the populations of non-whites has increased a great deal in the past 10-15 years (the period of time that covers my original visits), interest has cooled in places where my face/skin are now much less “exotic.”

    What I do notice and hear a lot is that the reasons that white men rank women of ALL other races as desirable/undesirable involve a lot of stereotypes and racism, and it’s quite distasteful to hear. Whether you are singing praises or lobbing insults, it’s pretty demeaning to all of the women who are grouped together that way. It’s funny that people don’t think that their statements could sound revolting just b/c they intend them to be “compliments.”

  3. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    Oh! I see where you’re coming from on skin tone. Where I’m from, Beyonce is . . . not dark enough to avoid being teased as too ligiht. It’s all perspective indeed.

    As for the rest – my limited travel experience notwithstanding, let me co-sign, Blaque Swan.

    • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

      Let me just clarify real quick that sociologists, historians, and other people who study that sort of thing have documented the same thing you’ve noticed. My personal experience aside, the phenomenon you noticed has been repeated throughout history.

      • Nicthommi

        Oh, which phenomenon is that?
        And in case you are interested, the book that talks about the Belgian conquest of the Congo is King Leopold’s Ghost.
        Very interesting on so many levels, and a story that hasn’t gotten any attention in history.

    • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

      It’s funny that people don’t think that their statements could sound revolting just b/c they intend them to be “compliments.”

      Sorry, sorry. But everytime I submit a comment, I remember something else!

      What you’re getting at here is the whole notion of “intent,” and it’s not limited to interaction between individuals. It’s something that just grates my nerves, the whole thing of “intent.” The argument is basically that we as women of color or just people of color shouldn’t be offended by some racist action’or’other because the person(s) in question didn’t do it with racist “intentions.”

      . . . but, I guess, that’s for a separate discussion.

      • Nicthommi

        Well, I don’t mind as long as the moderators don’t mind . I like having healthy discussions with people who don’t resort to insults if we disagree and who have well thought out opinions. It’s interesting to get different viewpoints. We had so many different experiences depending on where/how we were raised, but clearly as black women in the U.S., we have a lot of places where our experiences intersect too. When you get the chance, I hope you leave the U.S. b/c the experience of being a black American abroad is very interesting…and as I mentioned, different everytime you return someplace and also funny in the attention that you garner (or don’t).

        Are you from the South? Because even without having had black classmates, my own experience makes it hard for me to understand women esp. getting teased for being light. The only stories I’ve heard about that involve my mom (who isn’t so light really but who is lighter than her dad and has very fine, almost straight hair, and a green eyed, sandy-blond haired cousin-to me, same look as Vanessa Williams. Totally black features and kinky hair, but light colored hair and eyes and yellow skin). At any rate, even though they look very much like their parents, both heard comments that they couldn’t belong to them b/c of their skin tone. So it was a different kind of insult. Off topic so I won’t get further into it here.

        Oh, but I live in an area with a lot of Asians and Asian-American, the first time in my life where they were such a substantial part of the population, and while the women are quite popular with white men, the ways that they are treated and the reasons given for why they are preferred are stomach-turning.

        What was also interesting to me was how an Asian Americna man turned what really sounded like an issue with the Black man’s purported sexual prowess, which he cannot do anything about, into an attack on black women. So he cannot explain away why these unintelligent jungle men can get all of his women, and the white women to boot, so he instead lashes out at black women…(was having this conversation with a friend at lunch today). I’m not sure why we have to take the fall for that.

        Yes, what is so annoying too is that when you are rightfully offended by the intent and express it, you are then accused of making everything about race, as if that is something that we created. What a brilliant catch 22 to set things up so that you attempt to kill any argument by making everything our own fault.

  4. Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

    @ – The phenomenon I was talking about is that people will see immigrants as attractive until the number of immigrants becomes or threat. You described it when you talked about men hitting on you a lot your first visits to Europe, but not such later after the number of African immigrants had continued to climb.

    And I have every intention of seeing the world. All of it!

    I read KING LEOPOLD’S GHOST in college. Is a book everyone should read, even if they can only handle reading it once.

  5. cordoba blue

    I wrote 2 papers on Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.This book is about the genocidal imperialism of white Europeans toward Africans in the 19th and 20th century. Conrad personally witnessed the brutality of the Europeans toward the people of Congo during this period and was determined to write a novel about his findings. The interesting thing was that when I wrote a paper on the book in high school English class. the actual word imperialism was never used. The word racism was never used. It was interpreted as man’s sort of general inhumanity to man. Only in college was it presented as a novel about imperialism and racism.
    The man who wrote King Leopold’s Ghost speaks (on the above link) about the 10 million Africans who were massacred by King Leopold of Belgium in the late 19th century because Leopold wanted the natural resources (like rubber) of the area. Europeans stationed there were ordered to cut off the hands of men, women and children who failed to deliver their daily quota of rubber to the Belgiums. The above link also shows us a museum that Leopold built in Belgium about the conquest of Africa, as if this was an achievement instead of an atrocity.
    Also there’s a few interesting words about when the term racism started being used in Europe. According to one narrator it wasn’t until the Holocaust. However, even though horrific acts of racism had been committed by Europeans before WWII, the word had never been used. That’s what the documentary claims, at any rate. Wealth of information in this short clip.

    • Seattle in Texas

      Cord, no problem on the last comment…but just remember, flattery gets you nowhere…. On a more serious note, thank you for leaving a good comment here, and one that is not insulting to Blaque Swan.

      • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

        I haven’t read any of Cord’s comments, including the one to which you’re responding, in weeks. I have no clue, but certainly some idea, as to what s/he may or may not have said about me. Has it really been that bad? Wow.

        Good looking out, Seattle! Thanks!

        (For the record, I was interested in what you, Seattle, thought about Kanawaka’s “theory.” Clicking the link under “recent comments” brought me directly here.)

        • Seattle in Texas

          Not a problem. I try to ignore trolls and was surprised when cord actually left a civil comment after you. I didn’t know cord had it in him or her.

          On the theory above, it’s nothing more than old school pseudo-science. While I don’t buy into any theories regarding race and hormones, etc. (there is more variation within groups than between) why testosterone for an explanation? Really? I’ve personally never associated masculinity with Black women, though I have a bit with women of other groups–friends who are naturally very androgynous. One in particular you can’t tell a male or female (including with a muscle shirt and jeans) unless she dresses a touch more feminine, which she does at times (and a touch is just that–lip gloss and a little pair of ear rings). I’ve known some androgynous Black women too, but they weren’t masculine per se as in what I was just speaking above. None of the females that are coming to mind at the moment ever raised questions about testosterone for me. But then again, I am also thinking about people doing gender too. If I were to question differences in levels of hormones between female groups for a couple of different reasons, that really have to do with with questions pertaining to white women in general–like probably having lower estrogen levels than other groups–but that too is in the same pseudo-scientific camp as the testosterone claim. Just territories in general I’m not comfortable with. But as I see it, in short, this is clearly a racist attack on female Black beauty and Black womanhood. I think Brittany pretty well nailed it.

          I guess also what is troublesome is that the field of psychology and psychologists do not seem to be challenging it? Which is rather sad since psychology is the one field that I do know has a very strong commitment to educating its students on the history and systems of psychology–which is pretty dark and provides clear warnings on always being mindful of the previous practices of pseudo-science, what they are, and to be aware of them at all times. Just because something is “legitimated” by the authority of scientists or a scholar of some sort, or a field, does not mean it is truly legitimate and scientifically sound, etc. It’s just a disappointing piece all the way around.

          • Nicthommi

            What is funny about the claim that black women have more testosterone is that we aren’t taller than average (like women in Northern Europe and Scandanavia), we aren’t hairy (like Meditterranean women), and a lot of us have very large natural breasts (even when we are otherwise average sized or slim) and round bottoms, and hip to waist ratio that is also very feminine. We also don’t have the largest features, South Asians and Pacific Islanders have quite wide noses).
            Of course, these are generalizations, but it’s an odd conclusion to come to for women who have such “womely” qualities in so many ways.
            I think I’ve said this before, but it’s interesting that what sounds like resentment over the black male’s position with regards to attractiveness to females (I’m assuming b/c of the sexual stereotypes) was turned into an attack on black women. So was this “author” so upset that he couldn’t disprove the myth of the black Mandingo that he decided to attack black women instead?

          • Nicthommi

            Yes, there is a clearly a hierarchy in terms of beauty and intelligence that exists in people’s minds, and black women are not allowed to reside at the top by a lot of people.
            Kanazawa made a point of not only saying that black women were ugly, but pointing out that we inexplicably have the nerve to like ourselves.
            You get to read how a lot of people really feel when they are able to hide behind the anonymity of the internet.
            It’s interesting that people resent it when we feel good about ourselves or have done well for ourselves.
            Yet these people would be the first to decry the lazy welfare queens who refuse to go to school, stop having babies, and doing crack using their tax dollars.
            I can’t win. Either I’m a lazy do-nothing who welches off the system, or I am only successful b/c I was given a spot that only whites or Asians were smart and hardworking enough to earn.
            And whichever bucket I fall into, it angers a lot of people if I show even the smallest smattering of pride or self-love.
            It’s interesting how people never resent the “natural” order of things but do resent it when someone that they have always considered to be inferior moves up into a perceived place of privilege or expresses any form of pride.

        • Nicthommi

          I’m a bit confused here b/c I saw a rude comment directed at you by someone calling himself Joe(on another article) and thought about commenting back but he didn’t seem to be worth it.
          I’ve realized that a lot of people who launch anonymous attacks only read part of what you write and are just looking for a reason to vent…

          • Seattle in Texas

            Nicthommi, I’m not sure what the deal the author was and maybe that’s the case. But he’s clearly got issues of some sort. I appreciate the points you make and have to agree. I was thinking about women and testosterone this morning and what came to mind too was women who have had hysterectomies–women who have either had bad treatment, couldn’t take medication or perhaps get medication for hormonal balance–their bodies go though some changes a bit. I don’t know, the testosterone claim and Black women is odd, as well as both sexist and racist. I can’t believe it’s been legitimated as sound scholarship. I’m curious what folks in the field of Genetics would think? (a field that creeps me out, but has been doing some important work often with regard to diseases and so on…and scientifically and ethically sound work so far as I can see…) I don’t think they could or would support it. Backwards thinking….

            On rude comments directed at Blaque Swan–several people have done so over the last few years without any reason. It’s very annoying and inappropriate. It’s racism coupled with white people who have serious power issues and are used to muscling their way to the front and dominating others with their own status, prestige and power they have within their own social settings. They’re used to be on a pedestal. Keep hanging around and you will see it again, and again, and again. Sadly.

          • Blaque Swan, previously No1KState

            If we’re thinking about the same comment, I’m almost positive Joe didn’t mean it for me. I think I remember a reply from Joe that seemed strange. I think I read it a couple of times just to be sure, and it wasn’t a reply to me. Joe is a professor at Texas A&M. He and I are real cool.

            As for estrogen production, I’ll be correcting my mental encyclopedia. Thanks!

          • Joe

            Nicthommi, which rude comment are you talking about here? It did not come from this Joe, and I wrote this original article. Thanks for all the interesting comments and participation. JF

  6. cordoba blue

    @ Seattle
    It’s called education Seattle, not flattery. I just call ’em like I see ’em. My advise is to stick to tangible facts instead of playing “I’ll watch your back, you watch mine.” Not very sophisticated, to say the least. Intellectual curiosity is a great asset..like mine about the Belgian Congo.

    • Seattle in Texas

      It’s flattery, cord, flattery.

      But on education and commenting, Blaque Swan is unquestionably the finest on RR who not only sticks to the facts, but empirically supports any claims she makes. Facts alone don’t always hold water and can even be false and misleading. And facts are of little good without having a clear and honest grasp of the larger picture. Think of the many issues regarding “facts” that are associated with the criminal justice system, for example. It doesn’t hurt to be critical in a healthy way. Just freely and uncritically relying on facts as gospel is somewhat naive and lazy, and can be more harmful than good. But, live in your world of facts and continue to call ’em as you see ’em–everybody’s got a perspective. It’s just nice when you’re not a jerk about it.

  7. cordoba blue

    “But on education and commenting, Blaque Swan is unquestionably the finest on RR who not only sticks to the facts, but empirically supports any claims she makes.”
    And this isn’t flattery Seattle? As far as education goes, yes I have an honest grip of the larger picture. Don’t throw the baby away with the bath water. When you were objecting to school hours (they’re just for the convenience of the teachers), all the subjects taught (why should black children have to learn subjects white men choose?) and commenting that teachers don’t give enough credit for knowledge the kids already know (like we should award stickers for knowing how to blow your nose)..to me that sounds like an extremist radical, like a hippie with a grudge. Since when is teaching children math, for example, trying to “oppress” them?
    Plus, it wasn’t exactly “polite” when you said I couldn’t survive in any other “reality” than mine. Uh..could YOU Seattle? You definitely have that “I’m from an upper middle class WHITE background..but like..I don’t hang with those cats anymore..I’ve seen the light man..and education..that’s like a WHITE THING” vibe.
    And which reality are you referring you? Like in the housing projects? Like you’ve lived in the housing projects? Really? Explain. Because people who live in those projects want desperately to get out. If you gave them your nice apartment, I’m sure they’d gladly trade places with you.
    Shame on me for seeking to educate myself so I can afford to live in a nice house, huh Seattle? Not that most people who live in the projects haven’t tryed to get out, and yes racism has definitely influenced that failure. My point is YOU ARE WHITE. So be careful who you call a supremacist. You do not truly know what African Americans have suffered. No white person does. So don’t pretend you have a secret handle on racism no other white person does. It’s full of self righteous anger, but not based (no way) on your particular reality. And didn’t you mention your brother was an attorney? Sounds like white upper middle class background all day long, Seattle.

  8. cordoba blue

    Also, if this helps, I’m a white woman. I’ve been a teacher in the North Carolina public school system for 22 years, and began my own ESL tutoring business because I love teaching kids from different cultures. I learn a great deal about how other culturtes live and view education, as well as their views on America. American kids are Lazy and Spoiled compared to children who come here from different countries. They don’t complain about anything. They just dig in and get the job done. And their parents push them like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve taught kids and adults from Turkey, El Salvador, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Cambodia, India, China and Brazil.

  9. Nicthommi

    My bad…I went back and there were a couple of other people who had made rude comments to Blaque Swan. One started with a J…so sorry for mixing you up.

    • Blaque Swan

      I thought you and Seattle were talking about comments left to me, but I didn’t want to be so stuck on myself, you know.

      Oh, well. What can I say? I’ve pissed people off. I stick to facts and recent research. I try my level best to avoid personal insults. But yeah, I’ve pissed people off. I’ve been accused of hating white people, that kind of thing. But like Seattle said, it’s to be expected. You can’t challenge white supremacy and think no one will challenge you in return.

      If you think what I write here is awful, just imagine what I say on my own blog! Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Nicthommi

    Oh, and steatopygia describes the case where a woman stores more fat in her thighs and butts…it’s what made Sarah Baartman such a curiosity to the Britsh.

  11. Blaque Swan

    You know, this whole discussion of what’s beauty and why black women ain’t it just reveals more of the cognitive dissonance of racism. Right? How can black women have butts too big, hips too wide, but at the same time, look manly? Right? Cognitive dissonance.

  12. Joe

    Yes, good point. And notice how strong the white racial frame of what is and is not beauty actually is, and how it crashes into all communities, black and non-black.

    Yet, objectively, the white image of beauty seems rather pale and sort of anemic? And even whites love to tan themselves, get bigger lips, etc…. Isn’t that revealing…

    • Blaque Swan

      Yet, objectively, the white image of beauty seems rather pale and sort of anemic? And even whites love to tan themselves, get bigger lips, etc…. Isn’t that revealing…


  13. Nicthommi

    Hey @Blaque Swan…
    I could not reply in the same box as before, but regarding the examples that you mentioned, it again comes down to what they PERCEIVE to be white. But yes, you are TOTALLY right. So much in the news is about how minorities are becoming the majority, and to a lot of younger people, b/c of pop culture and other things, it’s more cool to be “other” than to be white. I agree with your theorty.

    So I think that they know Halle Berry’s parentage b/c it’s always been a big part of her story. They probably wouldn’t guess it otherwise. But Alicia Keys is an R&B singer who definitely speaks in a “black” voice, and Jason Kidd is in the NBA and Lisa Bonet is best known for one of the most famous black sitcoms ever. And I admit, I sometimes have to remind myself that Diana Ross’s kids had that Jewish dad (and the younger boys had the Norwegian dad) b/c Tracee and Chudney look just like her…only difference is that their hair is real!!

    And I’m guessing that b/c the green eyes, they assume incorrectly that Vanessa Williams and Tyra Banks have a white parent, although neither does…they just have regular black parents and I think that tends to blow their minds. Actually, I’ve heard both of these women referred to as mulattos. What is funny is that the runner up to Vanessa Williams in the Miss America pageant, Suzette Charles was actually half white, but putting them side by side, I don’t think that most white people would correctly guess that.

    You know, just speaking for myself, the part of Tiger Woods Caublansasian nonsense that was irksome to me, was the “Cau” part since he had just a regular black daddy. So fine, you have an Asian mom and black dad. Blasian. Own it. Live it. I don’t care. Why the need to try to pretend like your dad is not a regular black man. It’s interesting that he wanted to emphasize a part of his heritage that was no more significant for him than it is for the average black person-not culturally and not genetically (I think a lot of us can find a white or half white ancestor at the great-grand part of the family tree, which again most people find shocking since they think that our only link to them is a possible link to a slave master 200 years ago).

    • Blaque Swan

      Tiger’s mom is, apparently, 25% Dutch – wikipedia. Which makes him 1/8 Dutch. I’m not sure it’s enough to call yourself Caublinasian (wiki, again), but to each his own, I guess. You’re right that he’s as white as any other black person, which makes the whole Caublinasian thing so irksome. You’re right that at ton of us have white ancestors in the last 100 years or so. I know I do. Maybe we all should start calling ourselves “Cau-black-casian,” or something.

      I’m about to go off topic, but I’m pretty sure I can bring it all together.

      Not a few white men had black families well into the Civil Rights Era. Not a few black women have been raped through the years. I understand why white men would stay “hush, hush.” But for whatever reason, their white wives also turned a blind eye to the blue-eyed mulatto boy who looked just like their husbands. So since white men pleaded the 5th on the issue, and white women ignored the issue, I can just about understand why so few white people have black people in the family stories they’ve shared one generation with the next.

      I say “just about” because, I’m sorry. There’re just too many black people with light-skin or blue/green/hazel eyes or both for people to really think the white fathering of black children ended with slavery. What’s more, I’ve seen too many white people with black features not too know some-black-body in their family was passing. When you get right down to it, maybe they just don’t wanna see that Charles is biracial while Williams is not.

      Which gets me back on topic. It’s really hard for me to take seriously the idea that black women are less attractive when I look around and can see somebody other than black men found them attractive. White lawmakers during neo-slavery (Jim Crow) kept lowering the age of consent because, they claimed, it would be unjust for a white man to go to jail after being “seduced” by a young black girl.

      We ain’t all that ugly, huh?

      • Nicthommi

        I know right…plus they just love our features when they are on someone that isn’t black.
        They act like Angelina Jolie has the most amazing lips ever, but many of us have naturally full lips.

        They act like J.Lo and Kim Kardashian are amazing and unique for being curvy yet tiny-more irksome since Kim K. had her body altered to fit her black man fetish. Plenty of small black women have large natural breasts.

        They tan until their skin looks like treated leather and then use chemicals to peel off layers or to inject under the skin to achieve the firmness that we keep for decades.

        And for all of the whining about how straight hair is so coveted, for many decades in the 20th century (WWI years, the 30’s-mid 60’s, and then late 70’s-early 90’s), white people LOVED making their hair curly, wavy, and big. If you look in a Sears catalog from 100 years ago, you marcel irons that were being bought by white women.

        When I was in grade school, the white girls with straight hair got curly perms. Actually, almost everyone with straight hair got curly perms or their moms tried to curl their hair through high school. People just started moving to sleeker, straighter cuts in the mid to late 90’s. We’re really the ones with the curly hate altough it is a manifestation of being called unattractive in other ways.

        But there are so many contradictions. It gives me a headache trying to wrap my mind around them all…but I do see that some women have internalized a certain place in the pecking order, and they are very disturbed when it is disrupted.

        • Blaque Swan

          Uh, yeah. I have a saying I usually save for times and discussions like this one. Except that one time when . . .

          But I digress.

          Here’s my saying: white folks is crazy.

          To those who’d demand proof: did you read the post? Have you been paying attention to the last few years of US politics?

  14. Nicthommi

    @New Yorker,
    Yes, Vanessa Williams and pretty much everyone else I mentioned (except Alicia Keys) had nose jobs AFTER they became famous.(Keys had her nose altered before she hit the scene, not after). Tyra Banks was already doing well in modeling with her black nose and with her black relaxed hair slicked back.
    Vanessa Williams AND Halle Berry won beauty contests with their black noses and big 80’s, very black looking hair. So I have to laugh when people say that they look like tan white women. They didn’t get “white” noses with their nose jobs, and they certainly didn’t have “white” noses to start.
    So I’m not sure where the impetus came for slicing things up.
    I think it just lends credence to the fact that non-black people are not good at all recognizing our faces in great detail.
    I was trying to explain to someone that no, not all black people have big noses even though some high profile black people have had their noses slimmed. I mean, there are plenty of sharp featured black people running around but someone they can’t see it at all. And I also had to explain that no, while many people here do have European ancestry, the features passed down from people’s African ancestors are quite varied.
    It all too just makes you realize how much race is a social construct.
    Have you ever noticed how a lot of white people don’t recognize blacks from Latin America as being black, even when they are quite dark? Again, so weird. And I’m convinced that white people think that most Brazilians look like Gisele Budchen.

    • NewYorker

      Nicthommi, just to let you know, I am a white man. I share your bewilderment. Although it is true they have mixed ancestry, Vanessa, Halle and Tyra clearly have African ancestry. It is very strange that they are widely regarded as beautiful women, but there is a tendency to downplay or deny the “Africanness” of their beauty. I think most people can see it, but for whatever reason, it is almost taboo to acknowledge it.

        • Nicthommi

          Neither is Vanessa Williams. I thought I’d already pointed that out. In fact, out of the women he mentioned, only Halle is biracial. The others aren’t any more “mixed” than anyone else walking down the street. I wrote a very long reply about assumptions that are made about our “blackness” and the fact that they shouldn’t assume and don’t seem to know much about our genetic origins.

      • Nicthommi

        Oh, that’s interesting(the fact that you are a white man-my own fault for making assumptions), but I gues my point is that you would be hard pressed to find a black American or really a black person whose most recent ancestry comes from the Western Hemisphere who doesn’t have mixed ancestry. I mean, I have mixed ancestry but I’d guess that b/c I’m brown, you would assume that I don’t, or that I have less than these women. That’s just probably not true.
        You shouldn’t really group Vanessa Williams and Tyra with Halle Berry in that regard, because one has a white mom and the others have black parents and grandparents.
        I’m not sure how often white people understand that. I have several first cousins who have popped out with green eyes and light hair. I’m a brown skinned black women but it is highly unlikely that Vanessa Williams and Tyra have any more “mixed” ancestry than I do, or any of the black people that you encounter everyday. This is where that whole race as a social construct comes into play and I can’t even begin to parse through the details.
        I have a good friend whose black mom has the same look as Tyra…medium color, afro hair, and green eyes. Both of my friend’s mom’s parents are half-white, however the “black” parents in that situation would not be 100% African. I’ll point out that my friend is quite dark, and I’m sure some people would assume that she is 100% African too, but in reality, she’s probably got the closest and most traceable white ancestry of any of my friends excluding the ones who have one white parent.

        My own mom is the same color as my friend’s mom, with dark eyes but very wavy hair…both of her parents are “black” but for example, I know for a fact that if you were to look at things genetically, my grandma probably has more “other” than African ancestry. Her mom was the product of an interracial relationship, but of course the black mother in that equation wouldn’t be anywhere close to 100% either. And that would probably be pretty common to anyone who could actually trace their family tree…the white branches are not discussed but everyone has them.
        My parents are from the rural south, and their parents and grandparents all had a lot of offspring (usually 10-12) so if you see a large extended black family you’ll see how varied people who are from the same family tree can look.
        I guess my point is that we all should be careful in attempting to “quantify” people’s heritage(esp. in trying to declare someone mixed, mulatto, biracial unless you know their immediate parentage), and I’m not going to assume that it is what you meant to do, but it’s also why I like “black” as an accurate, catch-all term in at least THIS country b/c it can capture us all. I do consider Halle Berry and Alicia Keys to be black women (as do they themselves) and I personally don’t think that identifying them as black in any way refutes their parentage.
        I just find that a LOT of non-black people don’t understand why some of us look one way and some of us look another, and the reasons that they use to justify them are often very incorrect.
        And it is so confusing for people from racially homogeneous countries. I had a Chinese immigrant friend who didn’t understand why her Latino boyfriend “looked” like a dark-skinned black man for example(darker than me), of she’ll regularly confuse light skinned black people who have African features and hair with white people (although she does the same with half Asians who to me look completely Asian).

        Sorry, this was long and rambling and I do appreciate the fact that you recognize that the African origins of many lighter women of color is not acknowledged as the source of their beauty.

        • NewYorker

          Nicthommi, you are right that of the three women, only Halle Berry is “biracial.” Tyra Banks is straight African American. Vanessa Williams is African American (as she identifies), but she also falls in a “multigenerational mixed” category. According to what I have read, she does have some relatively recent non-African ancestry. She has light skin and eyes, but I agree with you that her features are more “African” than most people want to admit.

          • Nicthommi

            I’d like to know how you came to the conclusion that Tyra Banks’s background is “African American” but Vanessa Williams is somehow less so. Wikipedia? A lot of what is written was written by non-black people who have trouble understanding why she is fair-skinned and has green eyes.

            Vanessa Williams’s parents lived down the street from a good family friend, and her parents are both black, and her grandparents are black, and as I said, as a non-black person you shouldn’t attempt to quantify her blackness based on the color of her skin and eyes.

            Neither of her parents have green eyes, but she and her brother both do, just another testament to the genetic diversity that is present in American Blacks.

            She’s not any more “multigenerationally” mixed than the average black person. I have plenty of cousins who look like her, and genetically speaking a black family never really knows what might pop up…green eyes, red hair, gray eyes, light skin, straight hair, and lots of other combinations. And her original nose is much wider than my nose, and her real hair is much kinkier.

            I find it odd that white people made up all of these rules about what it means to be black but now only seem to think that skin and eye color tell you the whole story. I have noticed that people of other races don’t seem to know much about our hair(I have to laugh at the number of non-blacks who think that Beyonce’s blond wig is her real hair), and really don’t seem to be good at distinguishing features either. The problem is that in America, they tell you nothing unless you know someone’s family tree. As I mentioned, I have a good friend whose family tree is actually “multigenerationally mixed” (as in people with one white parent marrying other people with a white parent), and she’s very dark skinned.

            I just think it’s a big presumptuous for non-black people to try to assign a level of blackness to people based on their own flawed opinions and ideas about what phenotypically black people look like.

  15. Blaque Swan

    I was dying to get into this, but I didn’t want to start rambling myself.

    First off, ditto to everything you say!

    I have an Irish ancestor on my father’s side, either as or great-grand or a great-great-grandfather, (Someone was raped, but I keep forgetting who.) but my father is somewhere between brown and dark-chocolate, depending on how much tan he has. He has light-skinned aunts and cousins, though. And I’m fairly certain I’ve noticed “good” hair in some his family. What’s most undeniably, though, is their Amerindian heritage. Our cheeks are incredibly!

    My mom is a few shades lighter than Tyra Banks. Come to think about it, unless she’s been in the sun a lot, she’s probably lighter than Halle Berry, too. Everyone “knows” there’s white in their family as a grandmother or great-grand is buried in a white cemetery. There’s light skin and good hair and a few people with hazel eyes. My mom likes to tease me for being lighter than she is, even though I’m not. But I have the trump card because her dark-skinned brother has greenish-blue eyes.

    I agree that people should stay away from quantifying heritage. Especially since some people, eh hm, are just plain bad at it. And especially since so often, people are objectified and reduced to their perceived heritage. A lot of people think Vanessa Williams is mixed, but why? And what difference does it make? Why does it make a difference?

    I too appreciate that NewYorker can acknowledge the source of black women’s beauty. Or women’s beauty in general. Do white people not notice, or do white people think we don’t notice, that what’s ugly and “disproportionate” on a dark-skinned black women becomes more attractive the lighter a woman becomes. Bearing in mind that it helps women of African heritage that we store fat differently, and that there’s a lot of African heritage throughout Latin America — exactly what’s the difference between Serena Williams and America Ferrara?

    The funny thing is that we’ve blown up Kanazawa’s theory in a million and one different kinds of ways, but still, the topic is just so . . . fantastic, as a professor used to say. It involves history, intrigue, sex, and not to mention its present day implications that we don’t necessarily have to limit to physical beauty. Right? Why is it that when white America absorbs some Ebonics idiom, it’s suddenly not so improper? How did Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync become so popular when their style of music was a few years behind?

    Besides, what’s to be gained even if Kanazawa’s study could hold up to scrutiny, if he were right? Why does he feel it necessary to put this out there? Is he just trying to rationalize black women’s standing throughout society? Is he, an Asian-American male, projecting his social angst onto black women?

    And as I think about it, shouldn’t other women feel queezy about this, too? Setting aside the issue of objectification of women, that there’s something inherently sexist about Kanazawa’s research, what does it mean for other women that black women are viewed as less feminine? That is to say, is this notion of “femininity” something other women want to ad-hear to? Exactly how “feminine” were the white women who helped “settle” the West?

    There’s just a lot to this issue that people, white Americans in particular, need to think about.

  16. NewYorker

    “I too appreciate that NewYorker can acknowledge the source of black women’s beauty. Or women’s beauty in general. Do white people not notice, or do white people think we don’t notice, that what’s ugly and “disproportionate” on a dark-skinned black women becomes more attractive the lighter a woman becomes. Bearing in mind that it helps women of African heritage that we store fat differently, and that there’s a lot of African heritage throughout Latin America — exactly what’s the difference between Serena Williams and America Ferrara?”

    Blaque Swan, thank you (and Nicthommi) for your comments. I have heard some other white men and women appreciate beauty in African-descended women. Unfortunately, that perspective does not get that much coverage.

    America Ferrera’s family is from Honduras, but I think it is very likely she has some African ancestry, as many in Latin America also do. She looks it to me. Jennifer Lopez probably does too. There is no doubt in my mind Rosie Perez has substantial African ancestry, but I don’t think she acknowledges it. She has every right not to, but I would love it if she embraced it.

  17. NewYorker


    “She’s not any more ‘multigenerationally’ mixed than the average black person. I have plenty of cousins who look like her, and genetically speaking a black family never really knows what might pop up…green eyes, red hair, gray eyes, light skin, straight hair, and lots of other combinations. And her original nose is much wider than my nose, and her real hair is much kinkier.”

    I know her natural nose was wider. Didn’t I acknowledge that she has African features? However, I don’t think she looks 100% African. Do you?

    Who is “quantifying” her? Not me.


    “Her father was of mixed heritage (European and African-American) and her mother was of African-American lineage.”


  18. NimWhatever

    I am a black woman, these are my opinions of why black women are viewed this way:

    1. White men are more physically attracted to what they consider normal. They may find black women exotic and appealing physically sometimes, but we’re not what they’d marry…if they don’t find us appealing, then it is strictly on the basis of us being too different looking from everyone else.

    2. Unlike the civilized people on this blog, and a great many who are not, a lot of black women do indeed exhibit behavior that is generally unacceptable according to the general public.

    POINT 1: In general, I think that white men, along with a lot of other races, such as Asians, that are frequently in the company of white people are afraid of what they don’t really know. They make statements based off of what they gather from an outside perspective. They look at our hair, which is usually a much different texture from the majority of other races besides African and some Latin countries, they look at our faces, which hold a different structure than that of white people, Indians, and even some medditeranian and middle eastern features, and they look at our skin tones. Whereas we know that we come in a variety of tones, they only know that we are usually darker than most other people. Often times, white people get their “black culture” from the idealized and unrealistic things portrayed on television. When you see an ad, you usually see all white people, and one MAYBE two mixed raced black women. More commonly you will see normal black men, but when it comes to women, they are usually not completely black. That is what they deem beautiful. I notice, sadly albeit, that when I am walking with my six month old mixed race daughter (she is black and white) that white people will more often than black people, comment on how beautiful she is. Of course, besides her nose, my daughter has, at least what I consider, very white features, but it is obvious that she is not white, even though some people wouldn’t be able to tell if she’s just with her daddy, my husband. I find that funny, because it is obvious, but that shows how little White people pay attention to things like that.

    POINT 2: Where I would like to say that it’s not true that black people (especially younger ones) do not usually exhibit socially unacceptable behavior, I cannot lie. At least where I live, black women do no justice to themselves when they, in a public place such as a store, or a movie theater, or a resturant, scream everything they say, cackle loudly, or curse excessively. It happens. And it is only them. For instance, every time I walk into Walmart, I hear it. I see it. They abandon modesty and act like kids would. When I was in high school, there was one table in each lunch period where black students would sit usually, and that table would be the loudest, and most rowdy table in the whole lunchroom. I would frequently be walking to class and without fail, someone would slam into me while they were screaming and chasing someone else down the hallway. they wouldn’t even turn back to apologize. No matter what stares or looks of disapproval people gave them because of this, they still do it, showing their disregard for anyone else, therefore invoking distaste. Even more so than the men, the women do it, and when a white man walks into a store and each time he does, he hears someone screaming their conversation or cackling excessively, that’s all he’s going to notice. He won’t notice the quietly shopping black woman in front of him, and his selective memory is going to select to remember all the rude black women he sees. Sad, but true. I have a mixture of friends, of all races, and don’t mind what or who you are so long as you are sensible, but no one could deny that they would find that kind of behavior, especially among people who are suppose to be adults, annoying.

    IN CONCLUSION: I feel as though a lot of the opinions that white people, and this Japanese psychologist, have are unjustified based on their reasoning, but when you look at the reasoning from the perspective of point 2…it can be understandable why someone who has no prior teachings or understanding of black women or their culture would find them unappealing, and will instead of eyeing the loud although pretty black woman to his right, will look at the quietly shopping but and beautiful white, Asian, Latina, whatever she might be, to his left. I shake my head at this, but I think everyone needs to learn something about the other reasons we’re viewed so distastefully.

  19. cordoba blue

    “No matter what stares or looks of disapproval people gave them because of this, they still do it, showing their disregard for anyone else, therefore invoking distaste.”
    I’m a white woman so anything I observe about the black community is strictly as an outsider. I’ve observed black men and women who are poor, conduct themselves sometimes, in what would be considered inappropriate behavior in public. However, black people in the suburbs can be very “preppy”. And black people who live in the country act just like white people who live in the country..more laid back, friendly, folksy etc.
    I think it’s the culture, unfortunately, of the inner city streets that propagates this attitude of loud, wearing your feelings on your sleeve, seeming oblivious to those around you, arguing in public etc. Maybe it’s the only way to navigate in an area where there are absentee parents or unemployed parents. Also if kids don’t have structure in the home, for whatever reason, and poverty can certainly contribute to that, then they behave like their older cousins or brothers etc who are just teenagers themselves. Children raising children.

  20. love black women

    i am a white man who has no problem admitting my attraction towards black women. i personally find black women the sexiest women on Gods green earth. black women hands down are the prettiest of all races and this scientist has his head where the sun doesnt shine because black women are the epitome of beauty and then some.


  1. Black and Missing Part. 4 | See Me

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