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Scientific racism is still alive and well. In case you didn’t know it by Dr Satoshi Kanazawa article in Psychology Today that claimed black women are objectively uglier than all other women on the planet, then here is Dr. Stephen Marquardt.

Dr. Marquardt was featured in a section of the documentary, American the Beautiful, directed by Darryl Robert. There, the good doctor reports that “lighter skin is more valuable” than darker skin in our society.  

When initially introduced to the “well renowned expert on the science of beauty,” we learn that Dr. Marquardt believes he has the answer to why light skin is preferred: “Most cultures prefer the lightest of that particular culture’s skin.  Is there something bad about dark skin?” Dr. Marquardt continues, “…well…the current theory…and I believe it myself…. is that we have evolved to prefer skin that is easier to tell disease….Then all of a sudden it takes everyone who has really dark skin and puts them at a lower level…as far as the perceived desirability….it’s only because of this evolved behavior if you’re lighter or if you’re more valuable…”

In case you didn’t catch this, it is only natural, it is evolution, for the society to prefer lighter skin.  It has nothing to do with colonization. We’ll also ignore the fact that all people don’t in fact think that lighter skinned people are more attractive. But those people don’t count.  

The film then shows Dr. Marquardt and director Darryl Robert discussing how difficult it is for movie directors who have to deal with darker actors. “Right!” Marquardt says, “that’s not right see….we should develop a makeup they could use to make it easier to lighten them, you know what I mean, and then black actors would be easier to work with.”

Let’s just make them look like us, even if they can’t actually BE like us.

Of course, now we learn that Marquardt likes to experiment with “changing skin color.”  Now I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea, but the film hires a black model to try to change her “color.”

Marquardt is going to make her attractive by making her five shades lighter with makeup.  But before Roberts could even get his camera rolling, we are told, the black actress and Marquardt “were at each other’s throats.”

Here is the transcript as best as I can describe it. It’s insane and was difficult to watch over and over:

Actress talking to Roberts: “Letting him tell me I’m lost…is…is…really embarrassing.”

“You are lost,” Marquardt screams behind the camera, “you are lost!”

Walking out of the door, the woman proclaims, “I am victorious, ” you asshole! (okay, I added the asshole, but I really really just wanted to say that.)

“You are not victorious. You’re sad.”

“You’re sad,” she counters. “That’s why you’re still in there with nothing to do…you have no dark skinned woman to abuse. I’m done!”

Marquardt follows her out, angry. “She’s just a loser. There’s just no way a person like that….she obviously has very little education….she’s certainly not opened minded….she knows nothing about human attractiveness….she thinks I’m an asshole” (he must have read my mind).

Roberts finally says something: “What if the life she lives is so painful…that’s common too…”

Marquardt counters: “I understand what you’re saying, but a lot of people have a sad, hard life….and they don’t dwell on it. If she doesn’t want to do anything to make herself look more attractive, fine, she’s about 1 in a 100 million women in the US that don’t want that. [Everyone else] wants it. I grew up on an Indian reservation. The Indians who were….had the same opportunities as the Indians who were losers. And the guys who were losers are still on the reservation….The people who took the opportunity to move off the reservations, got their free college education… and integrated into society and are more successful than anybody else.…but the guys who didn’t, like ladies like her, who dwell on her pain are still on welfare and go to bars and get drunk and lose their teeth in the gutter.

“You kill me when you said she had a hard life, you don’t even know her. You don’t even know her…you can’t say she had a hard life she may have grown up in Beverley Hills…she was never a slave…”

Then he just loses his mind and makes faces and weird noises and bounces up and down, pretending to mock black and Natives and anyone who, I guess, isn’t beautiful and wants light skin.  It’s really a wonder to see someone claiming to be better and obviously more attractive than anyone darker than he is, behaving this way.  The documentary is worth watching, if only for this portion.

Dr. Stephen Marquardt has some real issues and like many others before him, he uses so called scientific methods to justify his racist ideology. This is nothing new.  The irony—which he’ll never see—is while lambasting the director for defending the actress’s possible hard life, Marquardt does the same thing and claims that she was instead is a loser without knowing her. He goes so far as to say she is on welfare because she refuses to accept his belief that she is ugly simply because she doesn’t have light skin. 

That’s some real science there, good doctor.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Where the fuck did this "doctor" get his degree - Racist U?


"...how difficult it is for [stupendously shitty and uneducated] movie directors [with untrained makeup and lighting crews and half-assed cameramen who have no fucking clue what they're doing on a movie set] who have to deal with darker actors..."

Fixed that.
Jul. 31st, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
There's not a lot of information about him online. His name seems to be spelled as both Steven and Stephen, which does not instill confidence. But he's appeared (I think) on Dr. Phil, received his medical degree from UCLA, and started as a surgeon.

Just putting it out there, but I'm guessing he should have stuck with the cutting people opened and left the psychology and sociology, and studying people and behavior, to others.
Jul. 31st, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
Guess what I found
Marquardt’s Phi Mask: Pitfalls of Relying on Fashion Models and the Golden Ratio to Describe a Beautiful Face

E. Holland

Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2008, Volume 32, Number 2, Pages 200-208
"The mask is ill-suited for non-European populations, especially sub-Saharan Africans and East Asians. The mask also appears to approximate the face shape of masculinized European women...as seen in fashion models."

"Stephen Marquardt has shown how misleading overenthusiasm
for the golden ratio and a reliance on fashion
models can be. His mask is unable even to describe aesthetically
pleasing proportions for white women, especially
because of its masculinization."

Edited at 2012-07-31 08:33 pm (UTC)
Jul. 31st, 2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
I saw that article posted with comments not happy that the author questioned Marquardt's methods: http://www.femininebeauty.info/stephen-marquardt-phi-mask-refuted

As always there is lots of racism disguised as scientific proof.
Jul. 31st, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)

OK, so if we've "evolved" to prefer lighter skin, how come tanning salons are so profitable?
Jul. 31st, 2012 10:28 pm (UTC)
"we should develop a makeup they could use to make it easier to lighten them, you know what I mean, and then black actors would be easier to work with."

This is all manner and degrees and kinds of wrong.
Aug. 2nd, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC)
He's on Wikipedia--he got his medical degree and completed his residency at UCLA; doesn't mean he's not batshit crazy. That is really strange, especially when he knew he was being taped.
Nov. 16th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
Hi! Sorry I'm a stranger and all of that but... I'm currently writing something I intended to reference Scientific Racism in and could think of almost no better example than Stephen Marquardt in "America the Beautiful". The sheer amount of scary ass bullshittery that shot out of his mouth with his insane flopping about and near breakdown at being challenged was totally jawdropping when I saw it. And yet, when I searched "Stephen Marquardt Racism" in Google, your journal is the only thing that came up! I was totally shocked! I also think that should be remedied.

Honestly, that part of the movie made me feel totally sick. Of course, it's not just in a movie, it's everywhere... but all the same... man. I can't say I would have kept my cool in that situation if I were either Darryl or the model. His whole tirade about how the Indigenous who chose their own way instead of assimilating to the standards of White America were losers was also another... just ... horrible thing that I could totally rant about but that might be weird because I'm just some weirdo you don't know dropping in on your journal.

So I'll just cut it off here and say thank you for posting the transcript from the film because it's really helped me out for my project. I'll also say that your tag cloud looks pretty much like my tag cloud and that's awesome. So cheers and thanks and let's all keep refusing to be silent and speaking the truth and all <3 Have a nice day!
Feb. 16th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
No problem. You're welcome.
Jan. 31st, 2013 05:29 am (UTC)
I cannot agree more!
I cannot agree more about what you have shared here. The fact is, my jaw dropped when I saw Dr. Marquardt's behavior in the documentary. In addition, he REALLY revealed an obvious resentment he has toward the African American community. He is an absolute disgrace, and I hope as many people as possible will see the documentary and see what he is all about.

For one thing, to say that a person who does not agree with his ideology is "sad" and "uneducated" is just ridiculous. The rant he proceeded to go on made him look like such a fool, babbling about shoveling gravel and a schizophrenic mother. Regardless of whether or not he is racist to the core (which I believe he is), he sure as hell made a complete ass out of himself and now millions of people will see it. He should have really thought twice before saying some of what he said.
Jenny Keys
Nov. 21st, 2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thankyou for writing this...
I also looked this dude up on google with "racism" in front of his name and your article is the only commentary that comes up. This is upsetting, and I can't help but wonder if its on purpose...
Jun. 24th, 2015 03:14 am (UTC)
Narcissistic Sociopath??
Please look up this definition. It sounds like you. You think everyone needs to hear your shitty white verse black breakdown of the walking dead? You clearly think your opinion matters more than others and loop all black and white people into the same boat which is shameful. You or no one else will probably ever see this because you clearly are just another random loser spewing your own racial thoughts that everyone that paid attention at first now ignore because of your radical stances. I feel bad for someone like you who thinks every race believes the exact same thing about other races. It's just not true no matter how much you want to believe it.
Jun. 24th, 2015 04:21 am (UTC)
Re: Narcissistic Sociopath??
Couldn't you have just responded to the Race and the Walking Dead post since that seems to be your problem? Some people simply cannot stay on topic.

If you're interested, however, I have a novel coming out in the fall, around the time I start my PhD. The title is The Strange Crimes of Little Africa. You can find it here: http://rothcopress.com/chesya-burke/

I also have a comic book, a novella, short stories and several articles and essays on race, class and gender coming out soon. I will be sure to keep you updated since you seem so interested in my career. Mind leaving your name?

Ms. Burke
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )