of course, he didn’t really, but who cares about silly little ol’ details like that.
what happened was kanazawa got some “attractiveness” data from add health. the evaluations were made “three times by three different interviewers over seven years” (during waves i – iii). the data showed that, consistently, black females scored lower in attractiveness than white, asian, or native american women; this did not happen in the case of black males.
andrew over @evolvify makes a good point about how attractiveness was rated:
“At this point, we have no idea who the interviewers who rated the students were. The attractiveness ratings would have been altered by varying degrees of prior familiarity between the individuals… whether the interviewers were of a certain age… the same sex or opposite sex breakdown… ingroup/outgroup… interviewer race… et cetera. There are simply a lot of variables that bring the reliability of attractiveness data into question. Perhaps this information is available, but it wasn’t in Kanazawa’s article, and I couldn’t find it on the study’s website.”
well, add health (a university of
south north carolina entity) apparently outsourced its fieldwork positions to both the national opinion research center (norc) of the university of chicago (waves i and ii) and rti international (wave iii).
fieldworkers seem to be part-time, contract workers, afaics. with the connection to the unversity of
south north carolina and the university of chicago, i was guessing that the fieldworkers were likely college students — maybe grad students interested in the field — sociology or whatever the heck it is (i’m talking about the interviewers here — i realize that the add health people are in the medical field). and, who winds up in sociology? mostly white women, with perhaps a few asian women thrown in. so, i was thinking that a lot of the interviewers might’ve been young white college women — and they might not find black women to be very attractive.
however, on the norc website, there are some videos of field interviewers explaining why they love their job, etc., etc., and they’re all older folks, i.e. not college students. of course, i’m sure this group is a pc-selected group — they’ve got almost all the races included there. but, still, three out of the five are white folks. if that is at all representative, then, yeah — there could, again, very well be some bias introduced here.
it’s still interesting that black women were consistently evaluated as the least attractive, but who were the evaluators? if they had been all black men, perhaps the results would’ve been different.
what i think is even more interesting is that blacks — both men and women — consistently rated themselves as attractive or highly attractive, more than members of the other races. black and proud! good for them!:
update 05/19 - charts with y-axes starting at zero:
update - see also ANOTHER watsoning in the air?!
update 05/27 - wicherts and kaufman’s criticism of kanazawa’s number crunching: An independent analysis of race differences in ratings of attractiveness in the Add Health Study. “Kanazawa interpreted his results incorrectly as having a bearing on attractiveness of women because the ratings were taken mostly when Add Health participants were teenagers.” update 06/07: see silly refutations of kanazawa’s blog post
update 06/07: see also on the add health interviewers
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