Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Psychology Today: Stop Publishing Racist & Sexist Articles" (from

The following is from Go to this link to SIGN THE PETITION.

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."

Monday, May 16, 2011

“Sing Your Song”: Harry Belafonte on Art & Politics, Civil Rights & His Critique of President Obama

A Family Watches "Freedom Riders" by Stanley Nelson

I went to my brother and sister-in-law's home in Virginia two weeks ago for Mother's Day. Jenny B. Silver had wished for an extended Mother's Day weekend with her children so we obliged. It was a sweet weekend of enjoying each other's company and playing with Hoshi (my brother and sister-in-law's dog). Saturday, we took Ms. Silver shopping where she picked the gifts of her choice. That night, we went to a Japanese hibachi steakhouse but on Mother's Day my brother cooked a traditional soul food dinner, a highlight of the day. other highlight was Freedom Riders, the documentary by renowned filmmaker Stanley Nelson. The new film is based on the journey of young activists who, in the spring of 1961 (50 years ago this month), decided to challenge Jim Crow laws of the south. I'd brought the DVD to watch on the train ride to Virginia but didn't get that chance so I asked my family if we could watch it together. My mother agreed reluctantly. It was sometimes difficult, she said, to re-live this particular past.
I think you'll agree, if you watch the film tonight on PBS, that Freedom Riders is an instant classic. Eager to capture the personal feelings of someone familiar who had lived during this time, I got my mother on video. Click the image below to hear from the woman who birthed and raised me. She was 13 when the Freedom Riders came to the state where she was born.
Jenny B. Silver
click images above to WATCH VIDEO
Know Stanley Nelson and Firelight Media
I've known about Freedom Riders for about nine months now. Last summer AKILA WORKSONGS (AW) was hired to do a Put On BLAST!® email marketing campaign (POB!). While I missed the screenings then, I acquired a copy of the DVD in April from a friend working on the film's community outreach. And on May 4, Oprah dedicated a show to the historic journey and it included Stanley. It was exciting to watch Mr. Nelson being warmly appreciated by one of the most powerful media titans in the world. Yet I was floored to find out later that POB! was a part of Oprah learning about the film in the first place!
My first introduction to the master filmmaker was via Ras Baraka in 2001. At the time I didn't know who was behind a documentary that Ras kept talking about. Once I watched Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind, however, I understood what all the raving was about.
In 2003, AW managed and publicized the  National Black Writers Conference where Dr. Brenda Greene featured Mr. Nelson and his latest project, The Murder of Emmett Till. Another classic. In 2006, AW began working with Byron Hurt, one of Nelson's mentees. Nelson executive produced Hurt's Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, the award-winning film documentary that also aired on PBS. Over the years, I'd come to watch and/or promote other Nelson projects: Running: The Campaign for City Council (2002), Sweet Honey in the Rock: Raise Your Voice (2005), Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple (2006), and Wounded Knee (2008).
I do not understand how one becomes as prolific and uniquely revealing as Stanley Nelson. He makes hard working people look like slackers. However it happens, I'm thanking God for Firelight Media. The company's work is necessary in our journey for self-knowledge as a community. The writer Joan Morgan once said, "I don't know how you can call yourself a Black writer if you haven't studied James Baldwin." By extension, I don't know if you one can claim they know the Black experience if they haven't seen a Stanley Nelson film.
Freedom Riders airs on PBS tonight but you can also own a copy, get background educational information, join the outreach campaign, and/or make a donation to keep this kind of documentary filmmaking alive.Take the next step now.