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Sam the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and burly Burl Ives

From the New York Times, we learn of the latest crisis requiring Maoist self-criticism among goodthinkers:

‘Burly,’ a Word With a Racially Charged History

By KYLE MASSEY AUGUST 25, 2014 5:25 PM

115 Comments

Kyle Massey is an assistant news editor. He has worked at The Times since 1999.

As protests raged after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., two articles in The Times on Aug. 16 referred to both Mr. Brown and the state police captain overseeing security in the case as “burly.” Both Mr. Brown and the captain, Ronald S. Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, are black.

Readers wrote to say that “burly” has long been a racial stereotype; the word hasn’t appeared in this context in The Times since the readers’ notes.

So here is the tale of a troublesome word with a fraught history and how The Times came to reconsider its use. Burly means stout, heavy or muscular.

Alan Blinder, along with Tanzina Vega, Timothy Williams and Erik Eckholm, who wrote the two articles on Aug. 16 that referred to Captain Johnson and Mr. Brown as “burly,” apparently meant nothing more. The articles noted that both were black.

A reader named Joseph McBride pointed out that the word was often used as a racially loaded term in the Jim Crow South, and elsewhere

This piece received 115 comments, dozens of them from people who said they were there back then and it meant no such thing.

I can recall seeing “burly” used in the mid-1960s in reference to a Green Bay Packer lineman. I think it was Jerry Kramer (6′-3″, 245) who was described as “burly,” but I can’t be sure. It could have been Willie Davis (6′-3″, 243).

Of course, that’s the point: the word “burly” had zero racial implications — except perhaps in the disparate impact sense that burly implies a lot of muscle as well as weight, and there might be more burly blacks than whites. But, in general, the word tends to have, if anything, slightly white connotations in that it implies being not just strong but thickset. Here’s Google’s definition and synonyms:

(of a person) large and strong; heavily built.
synonyms: strapping, well built, sturdy, brawny, strong, muscular, muscly, thickset, blocky, big, hefty, bulky, stocky, stout, heavily built, Herculean; More

Michael Jordan had a lot of muscle, but you wouldn’t call him burly.

Burly Brendan

In contrast, the New York Times’ own movie guide describes the star of The Guard and In Bruges as:

A former teacher, burly Irish actor Brendan Gleeson

In general, I would think that the disparate impact goes slightly in the opposite direction: a higher percentage of white football players than black football players are described as burly.

I also associate “burly” with motorcycle gang members, perhaps because a company called Burly makes after-market handlebars for Harley Davidson motorcycles. Although I’ve seen black motorcycle gangs roar by, stereotypically they are white.

But the NYT’s struggle session goes on:

, and conveyed the idea that big black men are especially fearsome and threatening.

Whereas we could all see from watching the last Super Bowl that the big black men of the Seattle Seahawks defense were pushovers. Oh, wait …

“As far back as my childhood in the 1950s or early ’60s, I remember the Milwaukee Journal stylebook stating that the phrase ‘burly Negro’ was not to be used,” Mr. McBride wrote. “I asked my father, a Journal reporter, why that expression was singled out, and he explained that it was a racial stereotype.”

Several publications have had formal or informal strictures against using the phrase, but not all were codified in stylebooks. The Times’s stylebook is silent on the subject.

Greg Brock, a senior Times editor who oversees corrections and other reader concerns, forwarded Mr. McBride’s message to the news desk, which (among other things) speaks to questions of Times style, tone, fairness and quality control.

Mr. Brock offered his own take on the word. Calling on his upbringing in 1960s Mississippi, Mr. Brock, who is white, recalled the use of “the term ‘burly Negro’ (well, with a derivation of the N-word) and then ‘big burly black man.’ ”

But pre-Civil Rights Era white southerners wouldn’t have used the the attractively alliterative phrase “big burly black man” because they didn’t much use the word “black.” Nobody did, until the liberal-radical era of the lates 1960s. The New York Times, for example, thought it highly proper to headline a story on March 17, 1969: “Turmoil in Los Angeles Schools Splits White and Negro Areas.”

He said he supposed that “burly” was just a descriptive word now, but he couldn’t put aside its coded baggage. “The phrase does have a very long history as a stereotypical label,” he wrote.

A quick Google search confirms a wide perception that the word is racially loaded, and several online sources linked the use of “burly” to the so-called “black beast stereotype.” The term was a staple in rhetoric surrounding lynchings.

Editors on the news desk noted that “burly” has many apt synonyms, and though no official proclamation was made, word went out to Times reporters and copy editors to find alternatives.

Yonette Joseph, a news desk editor who is black, said that the use of “burly” depends on context. “If the articles were describing the actor James Earl Jones or William (the Refrigerator) Perry, I’d see no problem with the word burly,” she wrote in an email. “But in matters of race, when the context is crime and other malfeasance, I’d flag that word.” The same would apply, she wrote, for “anything that describes a black man ‘shuffling’ into a room.”

On Sunday night, Marc Lacey, who runs the newsroom on weekends, read an early draft of a profile of Michael Brown when he circled a description: “tall and burly.”

The word didn’t make it into the paper.

Burl Ives as Big Daddy in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

To Baby Boomers like me, the word “burly” is permanently associated with burly singer and actor Burl Ives. He recorded the hobo song “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” which included the lines:

On a summer day
In the month of May
A burly bum came hiking
Down a shady lane

More memorably to people my age was that Burl Ives voiced the narrator Sam the Snowman in the 1964 TV movie Christmas classic “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

And you can’t get much whiter than Sam the Snowman!

I commented that maybe the NYT should just have listed the child’s height (6’4″) and weight (292 pounds). For comparison’s sake, you could list the height and weight of that immigrant shopkeeper that Mr. Brown was videotaped shoving around while stealing from him.

 
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  1. carol says:

    I never, ever associated the word “burly” with blackness. If anything it suggests a white trucker or lumberjack in the Great White North.

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    Madam, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
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  2. asdfsdfd says:

    OT: Friends of Israel
    The lobbying group AIPAC has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy. Is it now losing influence?

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/01/friends-israel

    Nevertheless, the lobby did not endorse or rank candidates. “We made the decision to be one step removed,” Dine said. “Orrin Hatch once said, ‘Dine, your genius is to play an invisible bass drum, and the Jews hear it when you play it.’ ” In 1982, after an Illinois congressman named Paul Findley described himself as “Yasir Arafat’s best friend in Congress,” AIPAC members encouraged Dick Durbin, a political unknown, to run against him. Robert Asher, a Chicago businessman, sent out scores of letters to his friends, along with Durbin’s position paper on Israel, asking them to send checks. Durbin won, and he is now the Senate Majority Whip. (Findley later wrote a book that made extravagant claims about the power of the Israel lobby.) In 1984, AIPAC affiliates decided that Senator Charles Percy, an Illinois Republican, was unfriendly to Israel. In the next election, Paul Simon, a liberal Democrat, won Percy’s seat. Dine said at the time, “Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And American politicians—those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire—got the message.”

    As AIPAC grew, its leaders began to conceive of their mission as something more than winning support and aid for Israel. The Gang of Four, a former AIPAC official noted, “created an interesting mantra that they honestly believed: that, if AIPAC had existed prior to the Second World War, America would have stopped Hitler. It’s a great motivator, and a great fund-raiser—but I think it’s also AIPAC’s greatest weakness. Because if you convince yourself that, if only you had been around, six million Jews would not have been killed, then you sort of lose sight of the fact that the U.S. has its own foreign policy, and, while it is extremely friendly to Israel, it will only go so far.”

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  3. H says:

    If burly = black man, does brawny = white man? See the Brawny brand paper towels.

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  4. ‘Burly’ & ‘shuffle’ are out, huh?

    Must be why I can’t find the “Super Bowl Shuffle” on youtube…

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  5. You can call the Fridge ‘burly,’ but you can’t watch him Super Bowl shuffle.

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  6. NYT caught engaging in anti-Irish racism!

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  7. Michelle says:

    Burly is not a slur. ” Big “buck” is a slur. It compares a black man to an animal. The people who lodge these types of complaints are not well read.

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  8. Danindc says:

    For the love of all that is good and holy. The Simpsons settled this 15 years ago with their fake commercial – Burly paper towels. It’s a blond lumberjack.

    Steve. I’m not nearly as smart as you and I still want to bang my head against a wall 20x a day. This F’n country.
    Hashtag ugh.

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  9. A quick Google search confirms a wide perception that the word is racially loaded, and several online sources linked the use of “burly” to the so-called “black beast stereotype.” The term was a staple in rhetoric surrounding lynchings.

    My quick Google search (for the terms “Emmett Till” and “burly”) pulled up as its second result … a Chicago Tribune article about George Zimmerman! The Tribune described Zimmerman as “a burly white vigilante” who “stalk[ed] and kill[ed] unarmed African-American child for the ‘crime’ of walking while black “.

    On the second page of results, I found one for a book called Race, Rape, and Lynching, which cites an editorial by a Black newspaperman named Alexander Manly.

    http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-newsouth/4363

    Writing in the Wilmington (N.C.) Record, Manly observed,

    Every Negro lynched is called a “big burly, black brute,” when in fact many of those who have thus been dealt with had white men for their fathers, and were not only not “black” and “burly” but were sufficiently attractive for white girls of culture and refinement to fall in love with them as is very well known to all.

    That was in 1898. So the claim that the term was a staple in rhetoric surrounding lynchings is not new. But it’s news to me.

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  10. I was the 210 pound nose tackle on my high school football team in the mid 1970′s. At a team dinner my coach called me the “burly man in our defense’s center.” I always thought that he had been discretely insulting me on my lack of foot speed but maybe he was just calling me black.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right, I usually think of "burly" in football-speak has having a connotation of "immobile," which is a good thing in an interior lineman.

    On the other hand, "burly" can be used to describe a body type. I've occasionally seen Bob Hayes, the 1964 Olympic 100m dash gold medalist, described as "burly." Obviously, he was extremely mobile, but there was a certain wonder among white sportswriters in the 1960s that white assumptions of what the best body type for a sprinter was -- long and lean -- were less often true among blacks.

    , @Steve Austen
    I always thought that he had been discretely insulting me on my lack of foot speed but maybe he was just calling me black.

    If you are burly, "black" with an Entinesque lack of foot speed then I do not think it was discrete.
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  11. Hasn’t “morbidly obese” replaced “burly” as the black stereotype?

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    • Replies: @International Jew
    No, "morbidly obese" is what you soon won't be able to say about female black bus drivers.

    Maybe the appropriate way to revolt against this kind of idiocy is to always use the opposite of the appropriate word. Hence Michael Brown can be "lithe". Mike Tyson can be "brainy" (lest we inappropriately draw attention to his physical gifts). Someone who's rude can be "courtly".

    This will be in line with the evolving norm that the only acceptable examples of blacks, inthe movies as in your kids' schoolbooks, are those that are most improbable.
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  12. @Larry, San Francisco
    I was the 210 pound nose tackle on my high school football team in the mid 1970's. At a team dinner my coach called me the "burly man in our defense's center." I always thought that he had been discretely insulting me on my lack of foot speed but maybe he was just calling me black.

    Right, I usually think of “burly” in football-speak has having a connotation of “immobile,” which is a good thing in an interior lineman.

    On the other hand, “burly” can be used to describe a body type. I’ve occasionally seen Bob Hayes, the 1964 Olympic 100m dash gold medalist, described as “burly.” Obviously, he was extremely mobile, but there was a certain wonder among white sportswriters in the 1960s that white assumptions of what the best body type for a sprinter was — long and lean — were less often true among blacks.

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  13. Wow — check out this picture of Manly:

    That is one white Black man.

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    • Replies: @syonredux
    Here's my personal favorite White Black Man: Charles W. Chesnutt


    http://blackhistorynow.com/charles-chesnutt/
    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    Definitely not burly.

    Is "dandy" a racial slur? I don't want to offend Paul Craig Roberts.
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  14. Borachio says:

    Someone wrote a couple of months ago that official propaganda is intended less to convince people than it is to humiliate them by forcing them to agree to obvious falsehoods. Was that your blog where I read it?

    It makes a burly kind of sense.

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    • Replies: @Ozymandias
    "...official propaganda is intended less to convince people than it is to humiliate them by forcing them to agree to obvious falsehoods."

    'Tis the hidden agenda of the burly shufflers.
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  15. Jefferson says:

    If a Caucasian cop had not killed Michael Brown, diabetes eventually would have killed his ass . He looks like the love child of the actress Precious Gabourey Sidibe and the rapper Rick Ross.

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  16. syonredux says:
    @ben tillman
    Wow -- check out this picture of Manly:

    http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/uploads/2009/08/manly.jpg

    That is one white Black man.

    Here’s my personal favorite White Black Man: Charles W. Chesnutt

    http://blackhistorynow.com/charles-chesnutt/

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  17. Jefferson says:

    “NYT caught engaging in anti-Irish racism!”

    Irish Catholic Americans experience racism just like People Of Color, but Irish Protestant Americans have White privilege because they share the same Protestant religion as Mayflower English Americans.

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  18. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:

    http://toprightnews.com/?p=5394

    Black Teens Shouting ‘Hey White Boy’ Beat White Lifeguard With Rocks (Video)

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  19. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:

    NYT sure is pushy and bossy.

    Meanwhile, call homo fecal penetration ‘pride’.

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  20. Priss Factor [AKA "pizza with hot pepper"] says:
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    Thanks.
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  21. When I think of burly, I think of a muscular middle aged hairy white guy with a handlebar mustache.

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  22. Hunsdon says:

    Little black dress of comments.

    “We have become a fundamentally unserious people.”

    Hey, I’ll drop it when it stops being applicable.

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  23. rod1963 says:

    Well it’s from the fish wrapper of note, so what they say is pretty much irrelevant most of the time.

    They did get one thing right:

    “, and conveyed the idea that big black men are especially fearsome and threatening.”

    A lot of them are, especially the ones out of the big house(prison) or those that are thugging the night away, they only respect guys who can step up.Cross paths with the wrong one at the wrong time an place and they will change your life.

    Maybe if those trendy hipsters at the fish wrapping joint got out among the people instead of their high end associates they might learn something. Say, spend time in Detroit’s more interesting areas for a month, it would be very educational, provided they survived.

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  24. Jefferson says:

    A pro-Michael Brown rally turns into a anti-Gentrification rally in San Francisco’s Hispanic Mission neighborhood.

    http://venturebeat.com/2014/08/22/f-the-yuppies-ferguson-solidarity-march-turns-anti-tech-in-san-francisco/

    “The protesters argued that the very presence of white people has caused aggressive activity toward minorities in the neighborhood.”

    If Whites started White flighting out of San Francisco’s Mission District that would be considered as equally racist as the Gentrification of the Mission. It’s a damn of you do and damn if you don’t situation.

    “They’re killing babies!” shouted another demonstrator at side-walk bystanders, when referring to the
    police”

    At 6 foot 4 and 300 pounds, Michael Brown must have been the biggest baby of all time. Why isn’t he in The Guinness World Records ?

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  25. Anonitron says:

    He can lift a hundred pounds right up over his head.

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  26. Trumpenprole [AKA "Anonymous Howard"] says:

    Ethno-Maosochism

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  27. RonnyJeb says:

    I’ve always associated burly with lumberjacks, but lumberjacks have apparently been Hispanic for the last 15 years. At least the looks of the Brawny Paper Towels mascot would have you think so. Was Brawny being racist or PC when they changed the appearance of their mascot?

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  28. @Priss Factor
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2734694/It-hard-appalling-nature-abuse-child-victims-suffered-1-400-children-sexually-exploited-just-one-town-16-year-period-report-reveals.html

    Thanks.

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  29. The New York Times bucking – oops, I mean aspiring – to be Team America: Word Police!

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  30. meh says:

    Let’s cut to the chase. Any word which destroys The Narrative that the black “victim” was a “child” or an “innocent” or was “an honor student” or was “turning his life around”, is ipso facto a “racist word” or has racist connotations.

    So it could be “burly” or “brutish” or “thuggish” or “brawny” or “bulky” or “husky” or “beefy” or “muscular” or “hefty” or “hulking” or “strapping” – it’s all racist because it contradicts The Narrative.

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  31. eah says:

    protests raged

    Do protests normally rage? It looked more like wanton vandalism and thievery to me.

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  32. eah says:
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  33. rivelino says: • Website

    you are doing great work, steve.

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  34. eah says:
    @carol
    I never, ever associated the word "burly" with blackness. If anything it suggests a white trucker or lumberjack in the Great White North.

    Madam, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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  35. eah says:

    That’s a relatively well-known thought by Theodore Dalrymple:

    “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

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  36. meh says:

    Heh, they’re playing the “Burly” Simpsons episode on the FXX marathon right now.

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  37. Mr. Blank says:

    What. The. Hell.

    I grew up in the Deep (i.e., racist) South. I have no memory whatsoever of the term “burly” having any sort of “black” connotation. The only time I can remember the term being used was in reference to whites — typically blue collar Rust Belt whites. This is literally — I use that word accurately — the first time in my life (I’m 39) that I have ever seen someone suggest that “burly” has a specific racial connotation.

    What. The. Hell.

    That’s it, folks. I officially no longer have any clue what is considered “racist.” As best I can tell, “racist” now means any word or phrase which, when used in reference to any black person anywhere on the planet, might suggest that any black person anywhere throughout all of history is anything less than a perfect specimen of humanity. Even then, you have to be careful: “Joking” about the perfection of blacks, even in a positive, approving away, is apparently racist for non-blacks. But don’t take my advice: As a white man, any advice I offer is automatically suspect.

    The best policy, if you’re a white male with a net worth of less than $300 million, is evidently just to keep your mouth shut about everything and punctually observe every rule promulgated by your PC overlords. Even that won’t completely shield you — you are still a white male, which means that everything that goes wrong is YOUR fault, because Racism — but it might at least prevent you from becoming a PC scapegoat with your photo in The New Republic, Slate, Vox, The Huffington Post and Salon.

    Be careful out there, folks! :)

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  38. The funny thing about the black brute stereotype is that it summarizes an impression of subsaharan men which is exatly the impression the antiracist majority has any way. They do not feel different about blacks, it is just that they do not express this impression in a negative way, actually they try not expressing it at all.
    They see blacks as stronger, more dangerous etc. and this is the reason they adore them so much in the first place. Because especially white femalles feel attracted to this kind of person.
    There is some irony in the fact, that, if white liberals would not see black men like that, they would not even care about about them, and in consequence would also not write articles about black people in which they critizise the black brute stereotype.
    And if Brown would not have been such a strong guy who had enough guts to attack an armed cop, but say a small framed asian guy who immediately stepped to the sidewalk after being told to do so nobody would care too.
    Sometimes I think the fascination of liberals telling the black victim narrative is similar to the fascination the Siegfried Legend had in germany. The Siedfried legend is about a very strong man who has one little weaknes. And so we all whine about how this strong guy was murdered in the end. Or the same with Achill in the Ilias. Lets not be sad about those hundred of peoples Achill had killed, no lets be sad about how Achill died in the end. Actually this kind of hero worshipping is very humane, and I guess pretty much everybody feels about this. So maybe this whole Micheal Brown Story and what the media made out of it is just the normal humane way to feel and think.

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  39. For literary scholars “burly” is undoubtedly associated with the British phrase “hurly-burly” , as used in its harshest sense by the wyrd sisters in Macbeth to refer to the chaos resulting from war. Perhaps the connotations of the phrase “hurly-burly” have been reduced to “burly” and subliminally projected upon the African American community?

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  40. dearieme says:

    I’m rather burly m’self.

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  41. This is all news to me and I’ve been called “burly” my entire adult life, often by my own grandparents.

    A commenter at the NYT raised this question.

    If Burly means black, then what is the adjective to use for a big muscular white or Hispanic man?

    Since they asked, I propose we go with “strapping” for the former and “muy Muñoz” for the latter.

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  42. Bruce says:

    A burl is a round, lumpy knot on a tree trunk. I had a great grandfather named “Burl.”

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  43. I’ll bet the NYT got really bent out of shape when that city councilman a few years back outraged stupid (say 1.1 SDs below the mean) fellow council members by daring to use the word “niggardly” in public.

    By the way, “burly” really isn’t an appropriate term for this wannabe thug, based on the photos I’ve seen. A better description might include words or phrases such as “obese”, “morbidly overweight”, or just plain “fat”.

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  44. @ben tillman
    Wow -- check out this picture of Manly:

    http://www.learnnc.org/lp/media/uploads/2009/08/manly.jpg

    That is one white Black man.

    Definitely not burly.

    Is “dandy” a racial slur? I don’t want to offend Paul Craig Roberts.

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  45. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Remember the “Burly Brawl” scene in the Matrix sequel? One white guy fighting a hundred white guys.

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  46. @Larry, San Francisco
    I was the 210 pound nose tackle on my high school football team in the mid 1970's. At a team dinner my coach called me the "burly man in our defense's center." I always thought that he had been discretely insulting me on my lack of foot speed but maybe he was just calling me black.

    I always thought that he had been discretely insulting me on my lack of foot speed but maybe he was just calling me black.

    If you are burly, “black” with an Entinesque lack of foot speed then I do not think it was discrete.

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  47. George says:

    Burly, Racist? Ok, that finally tears it. With all of the media reporting the incident as “execution”, “murder” and “gunned down” and nobody calls it out and then this egg-head wants to make “burly a racist connotation. What an asshat!

    The whole world has been turned upside down when a thug is honored by heads of state and a US Marine is beaten into a coma by the rhetoric of race baiters like AL Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the NAACP.

    Let’s have an age of personal responsibility for your actions and quit blaming white people and the police for your bad decisions. Pull your pants up and go to school. After you do those things and really try instead of “showing up”, you will not have as much time for marching because you will have a job.

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  48. Dr. Evil says:

    Why not “jockish” – or it is racist against Scots?

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  49. Rifleman says:

    Some White liberal writer back in 2008? said calling Obama “skinny” was racist!

    So you’ve been warned.

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  50. charlie says:

    I’d say, after looking it, that “Burly” had some racial connotations 100 years ago, and some echos of that 50 years ago.

    Rather like calling the Indian shopkeeper “effete” or “skinny”.

    I know this isn’t Steve’s world, but I am a bit surprised that nobody on jumped on the “Bisons” name with the Redskins brouhaha. Wait, that word is racist as well? Well, the Howard U football teams is named the bisons — you know, Buffalo Warriors and all that. Genocide. Terrible. I am offended.

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  51. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Burly, blue-collar Big Ten West is wide open”:

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/272816611.html

    Whoa, burly AND blue collar. Burly is a term for corn-fed whites used most prevalently by suburban and urban Midwesterners in my experience. If anything it has class implications.

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  52. @Harry Baldwin
    Hasn't "morbidly obese" replaced "burly" as the black stereotype?

    No, “morbidly obese” is what you soon won’t be able to say about female black bus drivers.

    Maybe the appropriate way to revolt against this kind of idiocy is to always use the opposite of the appropriate word. Hence Michael Brown can be “lithe”. Mike Tyson can be “brainy” (lest we inappropriately draw attention to his physical gifts). Someone who’s rude can be “courtly”.

    This will be in line with the evolving norm that the only acceptable examples of blacks, inthe movies as in your kids’ schoolbooks, are those that are most improbable.

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  53. Read More
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  54. @Borachio
    Someone wrote a couple of months ago that official propaganda is intended less to convince people than it is to humiliate them by forcing them to agree to obvious falsehoods. Was that your blog where I read it?

    It makes a burly kind of sense.

    “…official propaganda is intended less to convince people than it is to humiliate them by forcing them to agree to obvious falsehoods.”

    ‘Tis the hidden agenda of the burly shufflers.

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  55. File this with the Atlantic‘s “Beards are Racist” article.

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  56. Anan says:

    What you’re seeing is liberal bias. All those New York chair-bound ectomorph writers are not burly, and they don’t personally know a single working-class burly white male who does manual labor for a living. They never use burly in conversation among their own social circles; they only see it in print about blacks. The word is used in print for whites too, but liberals don’t know that because they absolutely refuse to read about white males who do manual labor. The latter barely exist in the liberal mind. What’s more, liberals will never read about working class white males because liberals think they’ll risk contamination by conservative ideology if they bother to learn more about them.

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  57. Eventually, there will be some kind of anonymous folk song written in the vein of Ray Stevens or Shel Silverstein, that will catalog how everything is racist, or there’s racism everywhere: “There’s a racist in your cheeseburger, and a racist in your car, racism in your motor oil, and a racist candy bar.”

    What will make it truly folk is how it, like many silly songs, allows one to let off psychological steam. It will be a forbidden ditty that everyone knows and you hear in bars

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  58. FWIW says:

    At one time, fat kids jeans were labeled ‘husky’ Haven’t seen that label in years. It is somewhere between a micro aggression and fighting words.

    These days we have vanity sizing in women’s clothing.

    But even worse are vanity golf clubs. The lofts on clubs have been reduced at least one club. So average players are hitting it further with the same club.

    When an amateur hits a PW like an 8 iron, it is because it is an 8 iron.

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    They still have husky sizing for kids clothing. Walmart, Lands End, etc. My oldest two sons wear them.
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  59. TWS says:

    @Steve
    For comparison’s sake, you could list the height and weight of that immigrant shopkeeper that Mr. Brown was videotaped shoving around while stealing from him.

    Five nothing, one hundred and nothing?

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  60. Dr. Evil says:

    But even worse are vanity golf clubs. The lofts on clubs have been reduced at least one club. So average players are hitting it further with the same club.

    When an amateur hits a PW like an 8 iron, it is because it is an 8 iron.

    This sounds like grade inflation in commercialized martial arts.

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  61. This is yet another example of Humpty Dumptyism “Words mean what I (or my alleged and so butthurt group) says they mean.”

    Bottom line: The NYT could use a word tomorrow in an article, say the word is….”gravitas” and BOOM, Al Sharpton goes on Fox News and says “You know, people think that gravitas came outta nowhere. Actually, it was invented about 50yrs ago in the south. Why? Because it was a nickname that whites, SOUTHERN (e.g. dogwhistle for audiences) whites, gave to blacks as they were at their separate drinking fountains. I was there, so I should know. Whenever a black person had to drink at a separate fountain, and a white passed by, they called him a ‘gravitas’, which honestly, is just another way of saying the N-word.’

    And BOOM. Just like that, the NYT and others would pick up the cue from having heard the dogwhistle and would immediately write articles about the dangers of using the word gravitas in the public arena.

    Same thing is being attempted on the word “redskins” by various leftists, claiming that that word once had alleged racial overtones, etc.

    In this situation, “Who, Whom” aptly applies. Whatever word that the group in power deigns to be racially insensitive is automatically out.

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  62. Dr. Evil says:

    When talking about African-Americans and their mighty thews, consider that they were brought here as slaves. Eugenics were involved. What would make the ideal slave? Big, strong, dumb, insensitive, and obedient. It was those Africans who were captured for the slave trade. Not the small, smart, creative, rebellious, nerdy ones. Similarly, many white immigrants self-selected for the same traits.

    Obedient, I said? Yes. There is no much thing as an “obedience” gene, though, so something else would have to be selected. Dominance/submission. Adorno, despite being a leftoid hypocrite, had definitely noticed something real with his “Authoritarian Personality”. It was Cro-Magnon dominance and submission – and black Americans have it in spades. (I know, bad pun.) Under slavery, and without leaders of their own they submitted. Now, they still submit, but to their own leaders not the white ones.

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  63. Bruce says:
    @FWIW
    At one time, fat kids jeans were labeled 'husky' Haven't seen that label in years. It is somewhere between a micro aggression and fighting words.

    These days we have vanity sizing in women's clothing.

    But even worse are vanity golf clubs. The lofts on clubs have been reduced at least one club. So average players are hitting it further with the same club.

    When an amateur hits a PW like an 8 iron, it is because it is an 8 iron.

    They still have husky sizing for kids clothing. Walmart, Lands End, etc. My oldest two sons wear them.

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  64. Jim says:

    Calling blacks “black” is probably racist too.

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  65. Marc says:

    Isn’t someone large and in charge but not necessarily ripped what most people think of as burly? Someone who can through their weight around regardless of their race.

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  66. Dr. Evil says:

    When talking about African-Americans and their mighty thews, consider that they were brought here as slaves. Eugenics were involved. What would make the ideal slave? Big, strong, dumb, insensitive, and obedient. It was those Africans who were captured for the slave trade. Not the small, smart, creative, rebellious, nerdy ones. Similarly, many white immigrants self-selected for the same traits.

    Obedient, I said? Yes. There is no much thing as an “obedience” gene, though, so something else would have to be selected. Dominance/submission. Adorno, despite being a leftoid hypocrite, had definitely noticed something real with his “Authoritarian Personality”. It was Cro-Magnon dominance and submission – and black Americans have it in spades. (I know, bad pun.) Under slavery, and without leaders of their own they submitted. Now, they still submit, but to their own leaders not the white ones.

    [Come on Steve, if you are going to reject my message, just do so. Don't leave it "awaiting moderation" for three days.]

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  67. You know who was really burly? Burl Ives.

    FWIW, I always thought “burly” referred to old-school Teamsters and Longshoremen.

    Trying to think of a burly Golfer. What about Craig Stadler?

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    Nicklaus was burly before he lost 20 pounds in 1970, although Nicklaus (like Tom Seaver) was always more of a lower body strength guy (Nicklaus was an all league high school basketball player -- he expected to walk on the basketball team at Ohio State but when he got there they had Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek and so he realized he really ought to concentrate on golf), while burly suggests upper body strength. Palmer was more of a brawny guy with big shoulders and a narrow waist.

    Mickelson doesn't seem burly to me, though. He seems like a brawny guy who periodically gets fat and soft looking. Does that make any sense?

    Is there a class aspect to burliness? Craig "The Walrus" Stadler looked like a blue collar guy, while Mickelson looks upper middle class, North San Diego County all the way.

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  68. Michelle says:

    Two weeks ago I researched the ancestry chart of a co-worker who is an African-American, although both of her great-grandmothers, and one grandmother, turned out to be listed as mulattos in a few censuses. It was one of the most exciting and most rewarding family histories I have ever done as I was actually really moved by finding her great- grandfather, who was born in 1849 in Kentucky, in the 1900 census as having told the census taker his mother was from Kentucky and his father was from Africa. Seeing Africa hand written on the original census form as his father’s place of birth was thrilling. Also, finding a death certificate listing my co-worker’s uncle (mother’s brother) as having “a freight train ran (run) over him, severing his body in two” at the age of 17, in 1935, while he was working as a laborer brought a lump to my throat. In any case, I was led to many slave history sites and found, most fascinating, the runaway slave notices. Some of the runaway slaves were large in size, 5’10 to 6′ tall, 160 to 200 lbs. They were never, ever, as far as I read, listed as “burly”. They were listed as ” thick” and “chunky” and “muscular”. Thick survives in Black culture today as a description for those of large frame. Often, the runaways were listed as being intelligent, well spoken, speaking German and French as well as English, having valuable trade skills such as carpentry and blacksmithing, able to read and write and, very often, good looking (“of good countenance “). This puts paid to the idea that all slave owners thought Blacks were of inferior intelligence. Some escapees were identified as having, ” fresh whip marks” making it very clear why they ran away in the first place.

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    Thanks.
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  69. @Michelle
    Two weeks ago I researched the ancestry chart of a co-worker who is an African-American, although both of her great-grandmothers, and one grandmother, turned out to be listed as mulattos in a few censuses. It was one of the most exciting and most rewarding family histories I have ever done as I was actually really moved by finding her great- grandfather, who was born in 1849 in Kentucky, in the 1900 census as having told the census taker his mother was from Kentucky and his father was from Africa. Seeing Africa hand written on the original census form as his father's place of birth was thrilling. Also, finding a death certificate listing my co-worker's uncle (mother's brother) as having "a freight train ran (run) over him, severing his body in two" at the age of 17, in 1935, while he was working as a laborer brought a lump to my throat. In any case, I was led to many slave history sites and found, most fascinating, the runaway slave notices. Some of the runaway slaves were large in size, 5'10 to 6' tall, 160 to 200 lbs. They were never, ever, as far as I read, listed as "burly". They were listed as " thick" and "chunky" and "muscular". Thick survives in Black culture today as a description for those of large frame. Often, the runaways were listed as being intelligent, well spoken, speaking German and French as well as English, having valuable trade skills such as carpentry and blacksmithing, able to read and write and, very often, good looking ("of good countenance "). This puts paid to the idea that all slave owners thought Blacks were of inferior intelligence. Some escapees were identified as having, " fresh whip marks" making it very clear why they ran away in the first place.

    Thanks.

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    Dearest Steve, I am unsure why you are thanking me, but I thank you for thanking me. I admire you tremendously.
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  70. @Honesthughgrant
    You know who was really burly? Burl Ives.

    FWIW, I always thought "burly" referred to old-school Teamsters and Longshoremen.

    Trying to think of a burly Golfer. What about Craig Stadler?

    Nicklaus was burly before he lost 20 pounds in 1970, although Nicklaus (like Tom Seaver) was always more of a lower body strength guy (Nicklaus was an all league high school basketball player — he expected to walk on the basketball team at Ohio State but when he got there they had Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek and so he realized he really ought to concentrate on golf), while burly suggests upper body strength. Palmer was more of a brawny guy with big shoulders and a narrow waist.

    Mickelson doesn’t seem burly to me, though. He seems like a brawny guy who periodically gets fat and soft looking. Does that make any sense?

    Is there a class aspect to burliness? Craig “The Walrus” Stadler looked like a blue collar guy, while Mickelson looks upper middle class, North San Diego County all the way.

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  71. AnAnon says:

    “Of course, that’s the point: the word “burly” had zero racial implications” – look, we’ve always been a war with eastasia.

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  72. Michelle says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Thanks.

    Dearest Steve, I am unsure why you are thanking me, but I thank you for thanking me. I admire you tremendously.

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