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.