Edited by Azizi Powell
This post includes an excerpt from an article about the Grand Jury testimony of Darren Wilson, the White Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot and killed unarmed Black teenager Mchael Brown, Jr on August 9, 2014 as well as further comments about that excerpt.
How Darren Wilson Demonized Michael Brown
For Michael Brown, the stereotypes that Darren Wilson believed proved to be deadly. By: Sophia A. Nelson, Posted: Nov. 25 2014 6:00 PM
"Stereotypes are dangerous. And for Michael Brown, they proved to be deadly.
"Of all that we heard Monday night about the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Brown, what kept me awake for hours after the announcement was made was Wilson’s testimony.
Testimony in which Wilson said that Brown “had the most intense, aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon; that’s how angry he looked.”
It was rife with imagery that dates back hundreds of years as it relates to how white men often perceive black men. His use of vivid language, describing Brown like “Hulk Hogan” while describing himself, in comparison, like a small child holding on for dear life, is troubling. This is the power and danger of racial “stereotypes.” "
Read a December 6, 2014 Update below from a blog post about "Giantg Negroes".
INFORMATION ABOUT HULK HOGAN
"Terry Gene Bollea (born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American professional wrestler, actor, television personality, entrepreneur, and musician currently signed with WWE.
Hogan enjoyed mainstream popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as the all-American character Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), and as "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, the villainous nWo leader, in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). A regular pay-per-view headliner in both organizations, Hogan closed the respective premier annual events of the WWF and WCW, WrestleMania and Starrcade, on multiple occasions. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He was signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) from 2009 until 2013, where he was the on-screen General Manager. IGN described Hogan as "the most recognized wrestling star worldwide and the most popular wrestler of the '80s".
...Hogan frequently referred to his fans as "Hulkamaniacs" in his interviews and introduced his three "demandments": training, saying prayers, and eating vitamins. Eventually, a fourth demandment (believing in oneself) was added during his feud with Earthquake in 1990. Hogan's ring gear developed a characteristic yellow-and-red color scheme; his ring entrances involved him ritualistically ripping his shirt off his body, flexing, and listening for audience cheers in an exaggerated manner. The majority of Hogan's matches during this time involved him wrestling heels who had been booked as unstoppable monsters, using a format which became near-routine: Hogan would deliver steady offense, but eventually lose momentum, seemingly nearing defeat. Then after being hit with his opponents finishing move he would then experience a sudden second wind, fighting back while "feeding" off the energy of the audience, becoming impervious to attack—a process described as "Hulking up". His signature maneuvers—pointing at the opponent (which would later be accompanied by a loud "YOU!" from the audience), shaking his finger to scold him, three punches, an Irish Whip, the big boot and running leg drop—would follow and ensure him a victory. That finishing sequence would occasionally change depending on the storyline and opponent; for instance, with "Giant" wrestlers, the sequence might involve a body slam."
Italics added by me to highlight those words.
Note that Hulk Hogan is a White American.
HULKING UP AND DARREN WILSON'S USE OF THE TERM "BULKING UP"
The Hulk Hogan term "Hulking up" is quite similar to the term "bulking up" that Darren Wilson used in his Grand Jury testimony:
"As he is coming towards me, I tell, keep telling him to get on the ground. He doesn't. I shoot a series of shots. I don't know how many I shot. ... It looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I'm shooting at him." http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/26/infographic-darren-wilson-recounts-shooting-michael-brown/19538013/
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
The name "Hulk Hogan and the terms "Hulking up" and "bulking up" probably have their origin in the comic book character "The Hulk" (also known as "The Incredible Hulk".
"The Hulk (Bruce Banner) is a fictional superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Throughout his comic book appearances, the Hulk is portrayed as a large green humanoid that possesses near limitless superhuman strength and great invulnerability, attributes that grow more potent the angrier he becomes. Hulk is the alter ego of Bruce Banner, a socially withdrawn and emotionally reserved physicist who physically transforms into the Hulk under emotional stress and other specific circumstances at will or against it; these involuntary transformations lead to many complications in Banner's life. When transformed, the Hulk often acts as a disassociated personality separate from Banner. Over the decades of Hulk stories, the Hulk has been represented with several personalities based on Hulk and Banner's fractured psyche, ranging from mindless savage to brilliant warrior"...
Notice that the fictitious charcter Hulk is very big and is the color green.
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/11/26/3597380/in-the-eyes-of-their-killers-trayvon-martin-and-mike-brown-were-the-same-person/ also focuses on Darren Wilson's description of Michael Brown Jr. as Hulk Hogan:
"Throughout his testimony, Wilson repeatedly referenced Brown’s size, calling him “really big,” “obviously bigger than I was,” and saying he felt “like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan,” though the two men were about the same height.
Later, describing the moment right after he first fired the first bullet, he said Brown “looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon.” In other places, he describes Brown in animalistic terms (“he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound”) and supernatural ones (“it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots”).
THE STEREOTYPE OF BLACK MALES AS BUCK/BRUTE
Describing the Hulk in animalistic terms and as a mindless savage reminds me of the stereotype of Black males as "buck" and "brute":
"According to popular stereotypes during the post-Reconstruction era, "Black Buck" was a black man (usually muscular or tall) who defies white will and is largely destructive to American society. He is usually hot-tempered, excessively violent, unintelligent, and sexually attracted to white women. Most often, any attempt to restrain, reprimand, or re-educate the individual will fail, necessitating the individual's immediate execution (usually by lynching)."...
"The brute caricature portrays black men as innately savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal -- deserving punishment, maybe death. This brute is a fiend, a sociopath, an anti-social menace. Black brutes are depicted as hideous, terrifying predators who target helpless victims, especially white women. Charles H. Smith (1893), writing in the 1890s, claimed, "A bad negro is the most horrible creature upon the earth, the most brutal and merciless"(p. 181). Clifton R. Breckinridge (1900), a contemporary of Smith's, said of the black race, "when it produces a brute, he is the worst and most insatiate brute that exists in human form" (p. 174)...
During the Radical Reconstruction period (1867-1877), many white writers argued that without slavery -- which supposedly suppressed their animalistic tendencies -- blacks were reverting to criminal savagery. The belief that the newly-emancipated blacks were a "black peril" continued into the early 1900s. Writers like the novelist Thomas Nelson Page (1904) lamented that the slavery-era "good old darkies" had been replaced by the "new issue" (blacks born after slavery) whom he described as "lazy, thriftless, intemperate, insolent, dishonest, and without the most rudimentary elements of morality" (pp. 80, 163). Page, who helped popularize the images of cheerful and devoted Mammies and Sambos in his early books, became one of the first writers to introduce a literary black brute. In 1898 he published Red Rock, a Reconstruction novel, with the heinous figure of Moses, a loathsome and sinister black politician. Moses tried to rape a white woman: "He gave a snarl of rage and sprang at her like a wild beast" (pp. 356-358). He was later lynched for "a terrible crime."...
DARREN WILSON'S DESCRIPTION OF MICHAEL BROWN, JR AS A DEMON AND THE DEPICTION OF THE DEVIL AS A BLACK MAN
Stereotyping Black males as brutes and savages goes far back to the early days of Christianity, and even earlier than that. I posted this inforrmation on the history of depicting the devil as a Black man in the discussion thread "Folklore: The Devil The Color Black" that I started in 2009 on the Mudcat folk music forum http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=123578
"Here's a link to an article about Christianity & the depiction of the devil as the color black and as a Black person: http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/aah/sierichs_12_4.htm
"The Christian Origin of Racism: That Old Black Devil"
Part I by William Sierichs, Jr.
Here are some excerpts from that article:
"Christians had equated the color black with evil as early as the second century. In Satan—The Early Christian Tradition, historian Jeffrey Burton Russell said the second-century Epistle of Barnabas portrayed a war between God and Satan, with clear choices. One could follow a path to heaven, while a "road of darkness, under the power of 'the Black One,' leads to ruin. The equation of evil, darkness, and blackness, a source of later racial stereotypes, occurs here for the first time in Christian literature. The immediate sources of Barnabas' use of the terms 'black' and 'blackness' are Jewish, Ebonite, and Greek. Behind these is the Mazdaist idea of the darkness of Ahriman, and behind Ahriman is the worldwide, almost universal, use of blackness as a symbol of evil." Russell added that the Devil's dark color represented his lack of goodness and light, and did not have a racial connection—he might be black but have European features.
Some Christians from an early period, however, did depict Satan and his demons as African or in a context that linked black skin to Satan. An influential 4th-century biography said Satan repeatedly tempted the monk St. Anthony, who was living in the Egyptian desert, and once "he appeared to Anthony like a black boy, taking a visible shape in accordance with the colour of his mind. . . . ."
In a 7th-century biography of clergy in Merida, Spain, a man had a vision in which he saw "some hideous and terrifying Ethiopians, giants, most vile to behold in their darkness, so that from their restless gaze and jet-black faces he was given to understand as he saw them clearly that they were beyond doubt servants of hell." A similar linkage of the Devil to Africans also appeared in the "Passion of St. Perpetua and St. Felicity."
It seems to me that the depiction of the Hulk was influenced by the much earlier depictions of the Black buck/Black brute and those depictions were influenced by the even earlier ideas about the devil as a Black man.
In that same Mudcat discusson thread I shared information about the German children's game of tag that is called "Whose afraid of the Black man?" Although Darren Wilson probable never heard of that game, it certainly seems to me that his words and actions that fateful night when he killed the unarmed 18 year old Black teenager Michael Brown, Jr-who was both tall and big- were very much influenced by the stereotypes of the Black male as brute, buck, Hulk, and the devil. That Darren Wilson also referred to Michael Brown, Jr as "it" and "demon" serve as further proof of my conclusions.
UPDATE: December 6, 2014
From http://undercoverblackman.blogspot.com/2007/07/attack-of-giant-negroes.html Tuesday, July 10, 2007 "Attack of the GIANT NEGROES!!" as quoted in http://www.vox.com/2014/11/25/7283327/michael-brown-racist-stereotypes ..."In 2007, a fascinating post from blogger Undercover Black Man spread through what was then quaintly known as "the blogosphere." The post highlighted newspapers' — particularly the New York Times' — obsession with "giant negroes," superhuman in strength and impervious to normal law enforcement methods, who terrorized police and civilians. From the turn of the 20th century until the 1930s, terrifying tales of "giant negroes" popped up regularly.
Here's a sample of how this played out in the Times:
• The September 24, 1900, edition included a double whammy: back-to-back stories about criminally insane negroes of "gigantic build," headlined "Giant Negro Attacks Police" and "Big Negro Spreads Terror."
• In 1897, the paper exclaimed, "Giant negro disables 4 policemen in fight." He was eventually felled by a baton blow to the head."...
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