Did Hollywood use the bounty hunter in Harriet to propagate the Black male myth ? – By Yvonne Sam

 – By Yvonne Sam

In the movie Harriet the first feature length film to capture the most quintessential female abolitionist, suffragist and activist in American history, may have been succinctly used by Hollywood to propagate longstanding myths playing out in our culture.

One such example is the fictional bounty hunter named Bigger Long played by Omar Dorsey.  Although the character is fictional, the name nevertheless alludes to male sexuality, the fear of which in particular has been a core reason for the subjugation of Black American males. One would not be surprised if “dong’ was replaced by “long” to throw viewers off the track, a clear plan of subterfuge.       

Perhaps the directors/ producers should be called upon to clarify/ justify the appellation, or the origin of the nomenclature, so out of context with slave names existing during that period. The word is that every black man has a large long phallus.  Historical description of Black men shows them as being animalistic, sub –human and lust driven, and also included the black man as a “sexual superman” with a  male organ larger than the white man and increased potency.

Intensification of the perception of black male obsession with white females was often used to justify lynching of Black males. Such an inference concludes that Black men are a sexual threat to society and are prone to raping white women. In fact black sexuality can be termed a national terror. This particular type of stereotyping has been called “sexual threat” or “sexual racism.”

Bigger Long (Dong) continuously meanders through the country side looking for the heroine Harriet, all the while hoping that he can utilize the money to buy more time with white prostitutes.

Such a concept is also vividly portrayed in the 1915 film Birth of a Nation, produced by D. W Griffith, wherein blacks are shown to have savage bodies, savage minds and the object of desire of a ‘black’ is a White female goddess. The central Black character Gus, a plantation hand, aggressively hounds a White female who ultimately jumps to her death to escape his amorous advances. Gus is ultimately tried and killed by the Klu Klux Klan, who are depicted as heroes in the movie. So the idea of the lubricious Black male and his giant phallus has been used to perpetuate the objectification and brutality of African American men.

In her 1977 book Big Bad Wolves: Masculinity in the American Film Joan Mellen took Melvin Van Peebles the filmmaker and director of Sweet Sweetback’s  Baadasss Song to task for “marrying his criticism of racial injustice in America to the myth of the inexhaustible sexuality of the black male, refurbishing the old racist stereotype of the ‘buck’, the black stud… Sweetback is nothing more than an embodiment of how white society has fantasized black sexuality

Pervasive racist media further alludes to an anxiety that white men feel about the Black phallus and what it represents (By creating a sexual monster, they had created something that needed to be controlled and feared). Such an anxiety can find connection in the revulsion that the lynch mob in Glendora, Mississippi in the 1950’s felt for Emmett Till when he whistled at Carolyn Bryant a white woman. Of particular note is the fact that during the rape trial of basketball star Kobe Bryant, and former boxing champion Mike Tyson, the size of their male organs were sometimes hinted at in some publications.

Across the field of specific research on the myth of the Black phallic body, critics and academic theorists agree on what has always defined Black men. It is primarily imagined in two specific ways: first, in terms of its hypersexual power because the penis is seen as over-large; second, the Black body is read as potentially dangerous because of its musculature and physical strength.

The Black male body is a site– a location- a sight—a visible entity of physical excess and a fright– feared by white men. Frantz Fanon said the measurement between Black and White sexual anatomies is unanswerable; nevertheless, the Black body is loaded with exaggeration. The name Bigger Long epitomizes male masculinity, and depicts Hollywood’s awareness of what has always defined black men.

It is apparent that Hollywood seemingly bent on recounting history from the perspective of a Black female slave turned abolitionist, crossed the line or juxtaposed what was “history” and what can be termed  continuing “the story” via their naming and depiction of the male hero. Such a cleverly veiled cinematic move is not immediately apparent but gradually arrived at following more detailed attention as the plot unfolds. In the film Harriet not just one story has been told.

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  • Charles Cadogan  On 11/18/2019 at 1:05 am

    Thought provoking read!

  • Trevor  On 11/18/2019 at 7:16 am

    “Intensification of the perception of black male obsession with white females was often used to justify lynching of Black males. Such an inference concludes that Black men are a sexual threat to society and are prone to raping white women.”

    Replace “white women” with a certain identifiable group (known for being elitist and racist against Afro-Guyanese) in Guyana, and it’s no different!

    Caribbean women who identify as “Asian-Indian” tend to form an alliance with the white woman to prop up hate.

    But the “Indo-Caribbeans” who gaff and laff with the whites have 100% Asian ancestry, and whites are starting to dislike anyone who is brown, from the mixed-race Latino to the Kashmiri Indian.

  • Trevor  On 11/18/2019 at 7:19 am

    Papoose from NY Harlem says it best!

    Big Sean speaks like a woman when he talks…he keeps his legs crossed….


  • Trevor  On 11/18/2019 at 5:20 pm

    Why did the cop shoot up a man in his car informing the cop that he has a licensed gun in his possession? Because the man was African-American:

    If it was an Indo-Guyanese, the wife would stay easy though. This is what Guyanese go to live in? Countries where police shoot up non-whites?

    • Emanuel  On 11/19/2019 at 2:24 am

      That is cold-blooded murder. The white pig cop should be held accountable and spend the rest of his life in jail. If the driver was white, the outcome would have been dramatically different. America is really a shithole country. Shame on them!

      • Trevor  On 11/21/2019 at 12:08 am

        AmeriKKKan police are messed up. This is what Guyanese migrate to live in? Places where they can get pumped with copper and lead for having a darker shade of complexion?

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