In Greek mythology, Priapus was a rustic fertility god whose anatomy was marked by a colossal penis. In ancient Greece, primitive statues of him were erected in vegetable plots to simultaneously promote fertility and to frighten predators.
In modern British society, the black male penis hangs somewhere between pain and promiscuity; culture and caricature as the black male attempts to move away from classic depictions of the dick towards complete decolonization 65 years after Empire Windrush traveled from Jamaica and docked at Tilbury on 22 June 1948. Equally capable of inducing fascination and fear, the black male anatomy sustains a puzzling history that has seen society single us out as men who father children, without then acting as their fathers, and that is tragically linked to Priapus via an engorged phallic mythology that goes along with depictions of the black male and the assumption of the big black dick.
During racial slavery, when they were lynched, the necks of enslaved men would often be snapped leading to the spinal cord trauma that resulted in their deaths. Following death, the erect penis would be severed. The clean break of the neck (cervical fracture) leading to the resulting death erection meant the black male had truly been well hung.
The medical term for the death erection is, of course, priapism, which is derived from the name of the rustic fertility god Priapus!
Today, in mainstream media, little is written about black male sexuality that does not allude to oppression, disease, rape and ridicule in what often appears to be a concerted effort to well and truly hang the black male by the foreskin.
"A lot of people have looked at my physique and two things can come into their mind - admiration and envy." - Linford Christie.
On 19th June 1998, three days prior to the 50th anniversary of Windrush, The Guardian reported how during libel action brought by Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie against robber-turned-journalist John McVicar, 'a bemused Mr. Justice Popplewell asked: "What is Linford's lunch box?" [To which] Christie replied: "It's a reference to my genitals, my lord."
In the ongoing struggle towards a post-race Britain, Linford's widely propagated lunch box quickly became a colloquial conduit for sexual racism, one that perfectly highlights the colonial fantasizing that continues to conceptualise the black male anatomy for its athleticism and animalistic ability while compelling more and more black males to rebel against their assumed sexual voracity and corporeality in favour of promoting a psychological proclivity for education, empire and excellence.
As of January 2013 I have exited gay clubs on three separate occasions due to straight females exercising anatomical privilege. A sign that after all these years, it seems, the black male is still subjected to intense erotic objectification; still comes without the privilege of protecting his penis and is still viewed as property.
For many black men, straight and gay, it often seems exercising the legal right to protect the penis may result in lawful punishment. It seems I am allowed to be objectified every time a straight female nonchalantly removes an item of my clothing (usually a hat) without asking and calls me angry when I ask to have my property returned. It seems I am a candidate for reduction when she garishly grabs at my genitals as if the package ought to be delivered to her and calls me a faggot when I inform her that just as her breasts belong to her, my big black balls (the female abuser's words; not mine) belong to me.
Then there is the straight woman in the gay club who laughs when I tell her that regardless of race, age or gender, sexual assault is a crime and while it may challenge the heteronormative notion of black male masculinity, irrespective of orientation, the black male has a right to maintain his physical privacy in any public place.
The gay male is entitled to maintain masculinity without being accused of faking it or being on the DL for choosing to do so and gay male masculinity is not a passport for straight female perversions to come play with Priapus. Women who have suffered the indignity of gay male anatomical privilege that sees strangers randomly grab at their breasts may understand this type of violation and the desire to retain the rights to their anatomy and regulate how it is used.
There is more to the black man than his anatomy and the myth of the black male penis that now has less to do with promoting pornography and more to do with repressing potency; little to do with the size and everything to do with the seize. The black male is a burgeoning body of triumph in spite of the ongoing attempts of racial fetishization to dispossess him and continually familiarize him with his previous status as the bastard child of colonialism.
If you consider the black man to still be property then understand that he now owns himself and that while the perceived power of the black man is in his groin, the actual power of the black man is in his psyche - fertile, free, upstanding and capable of the intensity, intimacy and pleasure that once so easily eluded the black male's penis.
In a nation still hung up on the well hung caricature, Priapus is ready to climb above the 47.4% unemployment rate of black 16-24 year olds; elevate himself beyond the 40% of black males that occupy the male prison population and, having long encountered silent abuse and mistaken it for quiet admiration, Priapus is ready to speak out against the sexually aggressive type that has trapped him for too long.
With a history that has seen the black man hang - by ligature, Lithium and a criminal loss of his civil liberties - the black male in Britain is now finally ready to rise high and let his dick hang low.
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