Myths about Black men’s prowess reinforce racist stereotypes about Black men.
“We the shaboinkin people. We got some shit hanging down on us … Ya’ll don’t believe it? White people the ones that made up the rumor. Ya know black people got some tremendous dicks … The Brother’s dick is too big, it fucks up his balance.” —Eddie Murphy, Delirious, 1983
“I’m blessed. I’m big boneded. I’m heavy structured. I’m hung low. If I pull my shit out this whole room will get dark.” —Bernie Mac, Def Comedy Jam All Stars Vol 2, 1993
Just Another Average (Black) Dick
I have a problem with my dick size. It´s not big and I want it to be. I guess it is about average size, and that´s just not good enough!
I´m also Black and the ´word´ is all Black men have a large phallus. Not sure where I was when they gave them out, I obviously skipped kindergarten that day.
At around age 12, I had a neighbor who was hung. He felt so highly about his member that he frequently had it on display. If he was not talking about it, he was challenging other kids to a dick size contest. It was not enough that he was the tallest and seemed to garner the most female attention; he had to be hung as well.
It was not just the neighborhood kids talking about the uniqueness of African American dick size. Comedian Eddie Murphy in his hit stand up Delirious and the late great entertainer Bernie Mac also discussed the apparent enormity of Black genitalia.
Meanwhile there are literally some days when I look down at my crotch and ask “is that really all you got”?
I can´t say exactly what my measurements are because I have never taken a ruler to my penis. The primary reason for this is because I hate bad news, and that’s the type of information that can ruin my day. Furthermore, at least this way I can honestly answer “I don’t know” when asked my size. Besides I have watched enough pornography, been in enough locker rooms and read enough literature on male penis size to know the difference between big and average. I am (at most) average. And that stinks.
I suppose I have no reason to complain. No sexual partner has ever said my dick size was a problem. Then again, would they actually tell me?
Although no partner has ever informed me that I have a small penis, on two occasions I have been labeled “not big.” Upon first moving to Australia I was in a relationship with a very beautiful and caring, White Australian woman. A few months into our romance we chatted about her friends and their impressions of me. One of the first questions they asked her was, “Is it true what they say about Black men?”
The sad part is, I wanted her to be able to answer their question with “Yes, his dick is massive and magnificent.” I don’t know how she actually responded, but the look in her eyes appeared to say “You´re no porn star, but it´ll do.”
Two years later and I was dating a beautifully curvaceous, bubbly, Italian-Australian female. Early on her friends bluntly asked her: “Is his dick big?” She responded by saying that my penis was “just right.” JUST RIGHT? “Just right” is for room temperature. For my genitalia, I want BIG!
Undoubtedly, the interracial nature of the above unions played a role in the myth of the Black phallus being selected as a central topic of conversation. The question is: if the two women were Black, would the weight of this stereotype continue to bear down heavily upon me?
Long before I began dating, I was aware of the perception of that to be a Black man is to have a large penis. Therefore, it is likely that this insecurity would be present for me regardless of the ethnocultural background of my sexual partner.
I have tried penis exercises to no avail and even considered penis enlargement surgery, but I cannot reconcile the idea of sharp objects in that neighborhood. So I’m stuck with what I got.
Origin of the Big Black Dick
Digressing: I realize that systemically speaking my desire for a larger cock rests at the intersection of racism and patriarchal socialization. That is to say, I have internalized the racist notion that Black men have big dicks, which has its roots in European racism, used to justify slavery and racial oppression.
This particular brand of stereotyping has been called “sexual threat” or “sexual racism.” One author reports that fear of Black male sexuality in particular is said to be at the very heart of the subjugation of Black American men. Historically, Black men were described as sub-human, animalistic, and lust-driven. This reasoning concludes that Black men are a sexual threat to society and are prone to raping White women.
This idea is vividly depicted within the D.W. Griffith film “Birth of a Nation.” In the film, the central Black character, Gus, aggressively pursues a White female, who ultimately jumps to her death to avoid his advances. Gus is then tried and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan, who are heroically depicted in the film.
Accusations of Black male impropriety towards White women were used to justify lynching of Black men. In one of the more notorious real life lynchings, 14-year-old African American Emmett Till, was kidnapped and brutally murdered for reportedly flirting with a White female.
The porn industry plays upon sexual racism. Many of the adult movies with Black men in starring roles use racial themes in the title and often as the flick’s primary selling point. Titles such as “Big Black Dicks, Little White Chicks,” Black Cock Down,” and ‘There´s a Black Man in My Wife´s Ass,” are a microcosm of the porn industry´s perpetuation of Black male sexual stereotypes.
Larry G. Morton II, in his article entitled: MSM, the Streets, and Lockdown: Sexual Threat and Social Dominance in America, reported that present day stereotypes such as ‘once you go black you never go back’ are examples of attempts to stigmatize Black male sexuality.
So the idea of the salacious Black male and his monster cock has been used to perpetuate the objectification and brutality of African American men. However, how does one transcend messages of marginalization when they are transmitted through interpersonal, institutional and historical channels?
For starters, more education is needed in order to re-socialize males starting from childhood. Looking back, much of my education came from my childhood peers, most of whom were as misinformed as me. Such information can include confronting present stereotypes and hyper masculine ideals about male sexuality as well as providing concrete research on male anatomy.
For example, I was recently informed by a colleague that, contrary to popular belief, human males are the best endowed of the hominids, proportionate to body size. Additionally, research by Desmond Morris reports that the average human penis size is four inches. As my colleague concluded, if men were not bombarded with a barrage of messages preaching their inadequacy, insecurities related to the male genitalia would be minimal.
Furthermore, sex therapists unanimously agree that the brain is the biggest sexual organ, not external genitalia. The more in tune we are to the sexual preferences of ourselves and our partners, the more enhanced the sexual experience. This type of information may be useful in rewriting the dominant masculine narrative.
Black male voices
Finally, there is very little literature written about Black American male sexuality in the absence of disease and oppression. One might conclude that the strict scholastic focus on Black American male sexual behavior pertaining inflexibly to disease and oppression itself constitutes a racist distortion of Black American Male sexuality.
I would argue that this type rigid focus on sexuality inadvertently deflects attention away from African American men’s individual attitudes about their sexuality. Our understanding of Black American male sexuality would benefit by according attention to both macro and micro level dynamics.
Examination of the sexual experiences, attitudes and beliefs of Black American men and how these individuals construct stories about their sexual experiences appears warranted and yet conspicuously absent from the literature.
As for television, I am still waiting on a male equivalent to “Sex in the City”: a space for men to authentically talk about or experiences, hopes, dreams, and fears in reference to sex and sexuality. Discussing our insecurities in particular may be a path towards liberation from our societally imposed, hypermasculine prison. As noted author bell hooks reminds us, “You’re as healthy as your secrets.”
Image credit: cliff1066™/Flickr