Sunday, August 12, 2007

It was a "Big Black Man"

I don't know why people even use variations of this excuse anymore. It makes them look not only like liars, but racist jerks who think that the general public is even dumber than they are. The excuse goes something like this: "I'm not to blame it was some Big Black Man who caused me to (insert unlikely sequence of events)." It has to be said that it has a history of working.

As is mentioned in the article Charles Stuart made good use of the "Big Black Man" excuse when he killed his wife. The Boston police were quick to pursue the preposterous story and charge Willie Bennet. After Susan Smith drowned her kids in a lake she was able to convince the country to be on the lookout for a "Big Black Man" who kidnapped her kids and stole her car. Of course Hispanic men appear to be the new dark skinned bogeyman as evidenced by the runaway bride.

Florida State Rep. Bob Allen would have done better to just plead out the solicitation charge. His tory that he offered 20 bucks and oral sex to an undercover officer because he was scared of the "Big Black Man" smacks of the Mandingo myth, the untamed "Big Black Man" understands nothing but violence and sex. The myth has been fostered in popular culture by pornography, obviously, music and television. Poulson-Bryant makes a decent point that the myth of the ubiquity of large penises among Black men leads to an idea of hyper-masculinity among Black men in the broader society. This idea of hyper-masculinity gives plausibility to the "Big Black Man" in the mind of the broader society. So much testosterone is flowing through their brains that they can't think clearly and only understand violence and sex.

Allen's excuse is rather odd when one considers that while hyper-masculinity has homo-erotic elements (just look at the cover of a hip-hop magazine) offering to give a robber some of the money from your wallet and a sex act would seem to increase the chances of getting hurt not lessen them. While homo-eroticism is part of hyper-masculinity in the Mandingo myth it is merely there as an underlying element more as a response of the observing male to the Mandingo who is sex personified. The hyper-masculine is hyper-heterosexual at least outwardly.

Allen's excuse also rests on the unstated racist assumption that the Blackness of a man further up the walk is equivalent to a gun or knife, a threat in itself that demands mitigation. According to Allen's account he made the offer of money and sex without provocation of what turned out to be a police officer. His excuse also has a unique twist on the gay panic defense. The gay panic defense had mixed success in the Matthew Shepard case.

Usually with gay panic the defendant says they went temporarily insane and had to kill the victim for coming on to them. It is a form of jury nullification basically saying that the defendant was within their right to prove their masculinity by killing the victim. In this case Allen turns gay panic on its head, "I had to offer him oral sex or he might have raped and killed me." Not to put words in Allen's mouth (poor choice of words) but this appears to be where his defense is heading.

If Allen is lucky he can find a jury racist and homophobic enough to reduce his sentence or perhaps let him off. I say homophobic enough since they would have to buy into the stereotype of gay men that they will have sex with anyone and if possessing enough power will rape smaller more fragile men, the prison myth. While their obviously is some rape in prison there are obviously some Black men with above average penis size. The two generalizations are combined in the "Big Black Man" myth to form a hyper-sexed, hyper-violent, thug who has a huge penis that he'd love to stick in the White man. It's miscegenation and homosexuality wrapped in a bow looking for the right jury, one that is bent on taking a stand for "traditional values" against a railroading Democratic government. Allen is taking a big risk because he is going to alienate not only the Black and gay vote, who probably wouldn't have supported him in huge numbers anyway, but also some of the conservative backbone of his constituency who may just stay home.

If the Republican party is lucky Allen will plead out before the next election gets too close. One congressman's hypocrisy has a quick way of branding the whole party, see how fast the Democrats dropped support of Jefferson. The Republicans seem to be playing it right so far, let him hang himself. If McCain is lucky no one will remember that this guy was his man in Florida. It doesn't help to appear to have a record of appointing felons when you're making a run for the White House. Once you get in you can spin this type of situation like a top. Every president in the modern era has had some questionable people in their cabinet but you don't want to start off with the plausible deniability game before the inauguration. To be honest Lyndon LaRouche has a better chance than McCain of winning the White House.

The Democratic party will probably just sit back and bide their time. This isn't a huge national issue but can provide a regional opening if they let Allen commit political suicide. They don't have to worry about the body they'll just blame the "Big Black Man."

No comments: