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Attack of the Giant Negroes
August 13, 2007 12:09 AM   Subscribe

Attack of the Giant Negroes.
posted by serazin (34 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

and Part 2, from blogger, Undercover Black Man.
posted by serazin at 12:19 AM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hey, we already had this discussion.

Shorter thread: "Black people are big 'n scary and anybody who says otherwise isn't kickin' it old skool style in teh ghetto."
posted by Avenger at 12:41 AM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

(in teh ghetto)
posted by darksasami at 1:21 AM on August 13, 2007 [4 favorites]

It's the stocky ones that you have to worry about nowadays.
posted by redteam at 1:33 AM on August 13, 2007

I don't get it.
posted by jeblis at 1:34 AM on August 13, 2007

Yep, James Brown was big even back then.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:37 AM on August 13, 2007

Without disputing the racism inherent in the giant Negro meme, I think it's worth pointing out that when the average height was around 5'6", someone 6'4" was rare and much taller than average. (Hence all the admiring descriptions in 19th century literature of manly men who are six feet tall, which would be wholly unremarkable today). Calling a 6'4" man a giant in 1897 was a different proposition than it is today.

It's pretty obvious that it was a sick justification for violence though. Had to shoot him. He was a GIANT, don't you know.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:48 AM on August 13, 2007

It's in an interesting, although entirely unsurprising, phenomenon. You could assume just about everyone was racist in 1897. Their choice in labels is irrelevent, be it "giants" or "savages" or rabid people or whatever they chose at the time.
posted by spiderskull at 2:01 AM on August 13, 2007

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:53 AM on August 13, 2007

then, mercifully, the NBA was invented
posted by matteo at 2:54 AM on August 13, 2007

Negramus Maximus?
posted by ELF Radio at 3:02 AM on August 13, 2007

...this goes way back to the slave period. The slave owner would breed this big black with this big black woman so he could have a big black kid. That's where it all started.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:10 AM on August 13, 2007

A particularly lazy excuse for getting your ass kicked. Try not drinking on the job next time.
posted by trondant at 3:35 AM on August 13, 2007

ps: "This statement was in fact historical and correct."

If Wiki says it's true then it must be true!

Just sort of adding to i_am_joe's_spleen's post. Maybe they were Giants?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:41 AM on August 13, 2007

From the last link on the Wikipedia page that uncanny hengeman posted:
It's not a pleasant subject. In fact, it is one of the most shameful chapters of our national history. But there is just enough historical basis to the breeding notion to see how the street theories of a Jimmy the Greek get started. Frederick Douglass is one former slave who described these practices. In his autobiographical Narrative, Douglass describes a young landowner named Covey, just starting out in life, who could only afford one slave. So he bought a woman named Caroline, "a large able-bodied woman about twenty years old."
"Shocking as is the fact," Douglass wrote, "he bought her, as he said, for a breeder." Then Covey went out and rented a married male slave, "And him he used to fasten up with Caroline every night! The result was that at the end of the year, the miserable woman gave birth to twins." A similar account appears in a series of narratives assembled by Fisk University in Nashville. "They would buy a fine girl and a fine man and just put them together like cattle," one former slave recalled. "They would not stop to marry them. If she was a good breeder, they was proud of her. I was stout and they were saving me for a breeding woman, but by the time I was big enough I was free."
posted by hadjiboy at 3:59 AM on August 13, 2007

VictorK I'm a conservative because I take the view that, left to themselves, and without the discipline of institutions, customs and traditions, human beings really aren't much good at all, and will behave just like Ochs (or Fleischer).

A truth that all conservatives of a certain stripe have to deal with.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 4:18 AM on August 13, 2007

Wow, Undercover Black Man looks like a really good blog. I like the tone a lot. Thanks, this was worth it for that pointer alone.
posted by mediareport at 5:47 AM on August 13, 2007

What mediareport said.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:13 AM on August 13, 2007

What mediareport said. Thanks for the post.
posted by languagehat at 6:21 AM on August 13, 2007

I really liked the blog too. Here's an interview with the author that gives a bit more info.
posted by mikeweeney at 6:22 AM on August 13, 2007

An interesting point to make is that these "giant Negro" stories appeared in the New York Times, which is usually considered the major developer of "objective," non-partisan journalism in the 19th century United States. In fact, the book Just the Facts: How "Objectivity" Came to Define Modern Journalism shows how 19th century standards of objective reporting led to major mischaracterizations of the lynching of black men in the United States.
posted by jonp72 at 6:48 AM on August 13, 2007

The worst headline I ever saw was from an Indiana newspaper, I believe it was from around 1900: "Mob Lynches Wrong Negro."

That is just wrong in so many ways.
posted by marxchivist at 7:22 AM on August 13, 2007

The Raymond Dodds story (from Part 2) would make a fine movie. Hollywood would tack a sappy or tragic ending on it, though, as the original bittersweet and ambiguous resolution wouldn't go down well with most audiences.
posted by elgilito at 7:24 AM on August 13, 2007

I've got a worse one, Marxchivist, from the paper in my town regarding the Pierce City Lynching of 1901. The Carthage Evening Press led with the headline "Three Innocent but Bad Negroes Killed in Pierce City."

Great post. An enterprising (or desperate) grad student could take that blog post and the relevant secondary sources on race and journalism and have an instant conference paper. In fact someone is doing it right now.
posted by LarryC at 9:19 AM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

OK, this is a myth--but the Giant Negro Penis is still fair dinkum, right?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:32 AM on August 13, 2007

If the porn sites I've been seeing ads for are any indication, yes.
posted by infidelpants at 9:50 AM on August 13, 2007

Great post, serazin. That's one more blog I'll have to add to my list.
posted by JackFlash at 10:27 AM on August 13, 2007

If the porn sites I've been seeing ads for are any indication, yes.

Selection bias.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 AM on August 13, 2007

Are you telling me that these Giant Negroes don't have eighteen-inch penises?
posted by infidelpants at 1:03 PM on August 13, 2007

Dang! Interesting blog.
posted by humannaire at 2:29 PM on August 13, 2007

Cool! The blogger is David Mills, one of the writers on 'The Wire' and 'NYPD Blue'.

Thanks for the link and a good post.
posted by aldurtregi at 3:26 PM on August 13, 2007

Well... They Might Be Giants.
posted by SPrintF at 6:06 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Commenting on the legendary match of 1908 between Jack Johnson and white boxing champion Tommy Burns, Jack London wrote: "A dewdrop had more chance in hell than he with the giant Ethiopian."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:28 PM on August 13, 2007

Fascinating post.
posted by gelfmag at 9:14 PM on August 13, 2007

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