To keep her analysis consistent with her dubious assertion, Rhode analyzes black women’s quest for light skin and straight hair, but she does not once mention white women’s love of tanning — a #ad#This thesis also gets her into trouble when, in a hilariously innumerate passage, she analyzes the results of the Miss America pageant. population is Jewish, meaning that even by random chance, you’d expect a Jewish winner only once every 50 years.
She expects us to find it damning that only one Jew and four blacks have won in the pageant’s 75 years. Also, as she notes, blacks didn’t start entering the contest until 1970 — and as she doesn’t note, four winners in 40 years is 10 percent, just below blacks’ proportion of the population.
(It is of course problematic that blacks didn’t enter the pageant until 1970, but there’s no reason to think this has anything to do with our standards of beauty, as opposed to our troubled racial history.) She also thinks it telling that a Hispanic winner had to attend classes to tone down her Spanish accent — while providing no evidence that a white contestant with a strong accent wouldn’t have been sent to such classes.
In addition to being inherently racist in some cases, Rhode argues, appearance bias is equal to racism in its severity.
Liberals who think that every unfair decision by a business justifies government intervention will see things completely differently.
That’s a fundamental conflict that no one can resolve.
One could just as easily argue that since racism has declined to the point where it’s comparable to appearance bias, we should back off on anti-racism measures — especially ones, such as affirmative action, that themselves Rhode offers many potential legal remedies for the problems she depicts.
Some are relatively commonsensical, such as a requirement that people be given better information about plastic surgery and beauty products.
And in her new book #ad#Of course, one’s opinion about anti-discrimination law depends a lot on one’s opinion about the role of government.
Those who tend toward Paul’s view — even those who concede that the Jim Crow South was an extreme case and an exception — will not be sympathetic to Rhode’s thesis.