The notion that black men are more physically endowed than other races is a common myth turned legend. The undisputed theory is deeply rooted in stereotypes beget by slavery and has grown into supposed fact, but is there any validity to it?
The Grio reported in 2011 that there are extremes in size across every race but, overall, most men, regardless of race, fall close to the average lengths, ranging between 5.5 inches and 6.3 inches in length. Men’s Health Magazine agrees, reporting that research conducted over 17 studies where 15,000 men were examined, found that the average flaccid penis length, from base to tip, was 3.6 inches and the circumference, measured around the base or mid-shaft, was 3.7 inches. When erect, the average penis size swells to 5.2 inches in length and 4.6 inches in circumference. Men in the 95th percentile, according to Men’s Health, measure at 6.3 and above.
A 2012 study dedicated to improving the condom fit and attitudes toward condoms among the LGBTQ community generated results from 463 men that reflected interesting results. Out of the 463 men, 70 were black and 55 of those black men reported lengths ranging from 8 to 10 inches. In this study, 263 men were Caucasian, and seven reported having a length exceeding 10 inches. Because the men who partook in this project were not examined by doctors or certified personnel and there is no way to verify the results, the findings have a great margin of error that cannot be accounted for.
However, not all studies support the idea that black men are more endowed than other races. Take for example the 1985 study conducted on Nigerian men. The 320 men between the ages of 17 and 23 were tested across parts of Nigeria, and the following : average length of the penis (3.21 +/- 0.04 in.); circumference of the penis (3.48 +/- 0.0008 in.) All measurement are below average, according to today’s standards.
This comes as a slight surprise from, Dr. James Elist, a urologist based out of Beverly Hills, California, findings. He reported that penis sizes does in fact vary by ethnicity, but only when it comes to average size for an ethnic group. Therefore, a man of one ethnicity will not always have a larger penis size compared to someone of another ethnic group with a lower average size. According to his findings, among the African-American ethnic group, there appears to be a larger variety of sizes than in Whites and Hispanics. This does not necessarily mean bigger; it only means there is a greater chance for variations, including small or large penises. Although, in his line of work he has found that the average penis length is slightly longer in black or African American men compared with other ethnic or racial groups. The average length in this group is 14.75 cm, but by comparison, the average white or Caucasian penis size is only a quarter of a centimeter smaller, at 14.5 cm. According to the findings reported by Dr. Elist the average penis size among men of East Asian ethnicity is slightly smaller, at 12.9 cm. The global average is 13.71 cm.
Another condom study that tested primarily black men showed that black men are closer to average than many may think. The study reported that most participants in a condom fitting exercise reported that condoms generally fit properly and felt comfortable. Meaning they align with the average standards. However, a substantial number of men reported a variety of problems with the fit and feel of condoms. Specifically, 21 percent reported that condoms felt too tight, 18 percent reported that condoms felt too short, 10 percent reported that condoms felt too loose and 7 percent reported that condoms felt too long.
With all the inconsistency, where did this myth come from?
The hyper-sexualization of the black man can be directly correlated to minstrel shows of the early 19th century. The stock characters of blackface minstrelsy have played a significant role in creating and perpetuating racist images, attitudes and negative perceptions worldwide. Although every immigrant group was stereotyped during the height of these shows, the history of prejudice, hostility and ignorance toward black people has ensured a unique longevity to the stereotypes. The lust-driven and animalistic black man was birthed from the minstrel character Buck. Buck was a large black man depicted as proud, and sometimes menacing, who had a large penis, which was used to rape innocent white women. //source??
In an NPR interview//when?/, Herbert Samuels, a sex educator and professor at LaGuardia Community College in New York, and Mireille Miller-Young, a women’s studies professor at UC Santa Barbara, spoke of the role black men and women have played in the American sexual imagination and its origins.
“…really going back to the mid-1500s or so and continuing on to slavery within the United States and even further than that, black men and women were said to be animalistic in their sexual desires, particularly black men,” said Samuels. “Slavery existed as a sexual economy, and that black bodies have always been … both breeders and concubines. They have been erotic — kind of illicit erotic commodities in an economy that is built upon our labor.”
Professor Miller-Young decribed the paradoxical way that the white world views African American sexuality.
“…black bodies have historically been devalued in our labor market since, you know, slavery to the present. I think that, you know, it speaks to the ways in which there’s this simultaneous problem that was like a deep desire to have those bodies present and to consume those bodies as commodities, but a deep disgust for black people, our humanity and our bodies, at the same time that allows that devaluing to function.”
Both professors said Buck the entertainer has become a part of the African- American history, and he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Miller-Young explains,
“…black men in this country for the most part have been about as negative as you can possibly get. And if you can get one positive thing out of it, if someone says that you are good at sex or that your penis is bigger than anyone else’s, that’s about the only positive that you can get out of all those negatives to a certain extent. And I think some black men have bought into the myth that they are hyper sexual, that their sexual prowess and the size, the physicality is greater than others. And it’s sort of a false identity that sets up, and you buy into that myth yourself rather than discovering who you are as an individual.”
Dr. Tanya Hart, Associate Professor of History at Pepperdine University agrees that this myth started with slavery, but not in the typical sense.
“Being fascinated with nakedness and penis length was a way of keeping black men in their place, by linking the to animals. Having a bigger appendage meant, being able to father large numbers of children, which a big deal especially in an agrarian society, which slavery was. Initially slave owners openly advertised the slaves manhood because it was business. Subsequently, the bestial black man was born, which manifest in the buck stereotype.”
The thought that black men are more endowed than other races is deeply rooted in rumor and within the African-American history. The animalization of black men has been reinforced through racism and propelled by entertainment outlets and the adult film industry. Hart remarks that this stereotype has severely affected the African American community.
“White women want them, white men wish they had; but it’s the black matriarch that cuts the penis off of the black man, rendering him childlike and running him out of the house. But they are still viewed as the buck who is just out here spreading his seed, and wants white women because slavery is over. The worst nightmare of whites is happening.”
Dr. Hart, doesn’t solely blame the objectification of black men and subsequently black women on this one stereotype, but does acknowledge its significance.
Truth be told, despite the long-running myth that black males are better endowed, there is no conclusive factual evidence. Compelling anecdotes, origins, nor the statistics compiled by numerous studies does not add up to a direct correlation between size and race.