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Black Players: The Secret World of Black Pimps Paperback – 9 Nov 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: King Flex Ent (9 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983104905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983104902
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,079,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Richard Milner is an Associate in Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History, contributing editor at "Natural History "magazine, and Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. Author of three award-winning books on evolution, he has published articles in "Scientific American "and other science magazines and has been featured on the History, Discovery, and Animal Planet channels, as well as on BBC Two and "Nova. " Milner has performed his one-man musical Charles Darwin: Live & In Concert in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and in Darwin's beloved Galapagos Islands.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
To validate flawed political doctrines such as cultural determinism and feminism, generations of anthropologists have ventured to deserts, jungles and other remote, dangerous and inhospitable corners of the world in an effort to discover (or, if necessary, fabricate) the existence of a society in which traditional western sex-roles are reversed. The enterprise has been singularly unsuccessful (see Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance; and The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future).

However, back in the 70s, Milner and Milner, two American anthropologists, discovered precisely what their colleagues have been searching for in vain right in America's own backyard - or rather back-streets - namely the world of pimps and 'hos'. Here, women are the "economic providers" and "a man may spend hours a day on his hair, clothes and toilette while his women are out working to support the household" (Milner and Milner 1973: p5).

Of course, since pimp culture has now been popularised by generations of rappers, the "secret world" promised by the title may be more familiar to modern readers than on the book's first publication (though even then blaxploitation films had introduced the pimp archtype). However, the picture created in rap lyrics is necessarily so comically caricatured out of all recognition that the Milners' exploration of the reality remains as revelatory as ever.
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By A Customer on 10 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Great story of subculture of Black Pimps in US. Milners did a great work! It was published 30 years ago and it is hard to find this book. It is available from Amazon.com's Z-shop.
If you have even moderate interest in the subject, read it! It is as good as Iceberg's PIMP or even better.
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Format: Hardcover
Haven't finished reading it yet, but it's a very interesting book to read.
I am not an anthropologist or a sociologist or something, but the book has detailed info on quite an interesting hidden world of a group of people who has been performing one of the oldest job(s) in the world. What they are doing are indeed well known in a lot of ways, but I haven't seen a single movie or a book elaborating the hidden world to this degree.
To put the all the info together requires guts and a lot of sacrifice. So, it was an excellent job from the writers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97a53a98) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9788cad4) out of 5 stars Anthropology Meets True Crime: A glimpse into a world where women are the breadwinners and men are truly dominant 28 Sept. 2011
By V E Lane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To validate flawed political doctrines such as cultural determinism and feminism, generations of anthropologists have ventured to deserts, jungles and other remote, dangerous and inhospitable corners of the world in an effort to discover (or, if necessary, fabricate) the existence of a society in which traditional western sex-roles are reversed. The enterprise has been singularly unsuccessful (see Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance; and The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future).

However, back in the 70s, Milner and Milner, two American anthropologists, discovered precisely what their colleagues have been searching for in vain right in America's own backyard - or rather back-streets - namely the world of pimps and 'hos'. Here, women are the "economic providers" and "a man may spend hours a day on his hair, clothes and toilette while his women are out working to support the household" (Milner and Milner 1973: p5).

Of course, since pimp culture has now been popularised by generations of rappers, the "secret world" promised by the title may be more familiar to modern readers than on the book's first publication (though even then blaxploitation films had introduced the pimp archtype). However, the picture created in rap lyrics is necessarily so comically caricatured out of all recognition that the Milners' exploration of the reality remains as revelatory as ever. (For example, it is likely that relatively few of the listeners to 50 Cent rap on the radio or MTV about his 'pimp stick' are aware that, according to Donald Goines, 'pimp sticks' are "two wire coat hangers twisted together" used by pimps as a weapon to discipline whores (Whoreson p212)).

Male Dominance and Pimp Philosophy

Of course, although women are the economic providers and pimps are concerned with their clothes and appearance, in one crucial respect, conventional sex roles appear not to be reversed but rather accentuated. Male dominance, the Milners' make clear, was complete and unquestioned.

However, 'pimp philosophy', the worldview passed down among pimps from mentor to student and described by the Milners in detail, raises serious questions about whether this too, in some respects, represents a reversal of the sex roles apparent in mainstream society and whether, in square society, it is in fact men who are dominant (see also The Myth of Male Power).

According to the 'pimp philosophy', "White men (and square blacks) are thought to be 'pussy-whipped' by their wives after being brain washed by their mothers to accept female dominance as the natural order of things. Most families today are controlled by women, who direct the goals and manage the money... by withholding sexual favours" (p161).

It is indeed the case that, while men work longer hours and earn more money than women, women are known to control the vast majority of spending decisions. For example, according to Pocketbook Power: How to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Today's Most Coveted Consumer - Women women make approximately 88% of retail purchases in the US.

According to the 'black players', square husbands are 'pimped' by their wives every bit as ruthlessly as street-prostitutes, by being obliged to earn money and financially support their wives in return for sexual access.

This view of male-female relations, interestingly parallels that of anti-feminists such as Esther Vilar (The Manipulated Man) and Matthew Fitzgerald (Sex-ploytation: how women use their bodies to extort money from men). For example, one pimp's describes how wives bear children because "she knows once she has one or two babies she's gonna have him locked down tight and even if he leaves she can still get four or five hundred dollars a month if he's making any kind of money" (p227). This parallels Vilar's description of children as "hostages". Like Vilar, pimps believe "woman's liberation movement is not revolutionary" but that "what would be truly revolutionary would be the liberation of men" (p227).

According to the pimps, male dominance is the natural and harmonious order of mankind, disrupted only (according to pimp mythology) when Adam gave into sexual desire, and was tempted by Eve to bite into the forbidden fruit, thereby becoming, not the first man, but rather the first trick (166-70). On this view, pimps represent "the only real men in America today" (p162).

Pimp Philosophy Evaluated

Pimp philosophy is certainly more interesting and insightful than the feminist social theory, which represents the dominant paradigm for viewing the relations between the sexes in the academic and political establishment and the mainstream media. The Milners are themselves clearly taken by this perspective. "Once the world, and particularly the relations between the sexes, is viewed from a black player's vantage point", they acknowledge, "things never again seem quite the same (p243).

According to the Milners, this is hardly surprising. "Like the sociologist and anthropologist, pimps and hustlers depend for their livelihood on an awareness of social forces and the human psyche" but the "social scientist... has far more leeway than the hustler or the pimp in being wrong before he is out of a job" (p242). In other words, whereas feminist sociologists protected in their universities by ivory towers can hold to their ideological dogmas with blind faith notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary, the pimp's analysis is subjected to ruthless falsification by the market forces beloved of neo-liberal economists.

However, in claiming that male dominance is the natural state of humanity, pimp philosophy seems to take a wrong turn. If male dominance is so natural and harmonious, why is it found today only among a small subculture of pimps? What is more, why even among pimps is it maintained only by levels of violence and of self-control on the part of pimps far greater than that typically apparent in square relationships?

The most fatal flaw in the pimp perception of male dominance as the natural and harmonious state of nature lies in the nature of the pimps' own dominance over their women. As the Milners note:
"[Although] the Book [i.e. the unwritten code of how to pimp passed from mentor to student] provides a blueprint for a male-dominated society and a rationale for wrestling all control over men from women... ironically, this condition is achieved by making women's full-time occupation the control of men who are outside the subculture" (p48).

In other words, the pimp's exploitation of his women relies and depends on those women's exploitation of other men. The Book provides, therefore, not a blueprint for male domination throughout society, but rather a blueprint for domination by a necessarily small subset of men both of women and, indirectly, of other men. The pimp survives, not only through the exploitation of women, but also, more fundamentally, by the vicarious exploitation of other men (namely the prostitutes' clients, or, aptly named, 'tricks').

Sweet Jones, a character from Iceberg Slim's Pimp: The Story of My Life, summarised the point:
"A pimp is really a whore who has reversed the game on whores. So Slim, be sweet as the scratch, no sweeter, and always stick a whore for a bundle before you sex her. A whore ain't nothing but a trick to a pimp. Don't let 'em georgia you. Always get your money in front just like a whore." (Slim 2002: xxi)

[Curiously, the Milners claim to have interviewed Iceberg Slim (née Robert Beck). However, Beck, without mentioning them by name, denies this in The Naked Soul of Iceberg Slim (p200), where he accuses the Milners of stealing black culture. Iceberg Slim: The Lost Interviews with the Pimp apparently includes the alleged interview.]

On this view, with their characteristically feminine concern for clothing, hair and hygiene and their ability, like housewives, to live off the income of their sexual partners, pimps represent, not "the only real men in America today" (p162), but rather second-rate female-impersonators.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97ba800c) out of 5 stars Extraordinary 17 Mar. 2007
By Ordinary Language - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Milner, a white graduate student at Berkeley, working for years as a stripper in San Francisco wrote this personal and academic study of pimp culture in the Bay Area during the late 60s. As a stripper working in establishments with "player's club" sections, she had ready access to lounging pimps eager to add her to their "stable". From a dependable factual foundation of dozens of participating pimps, she writes a study amazing in scope and readable detail.

When I claim wide scope, I mean the richness of subjects spans anthropology, social psychology, and sociology. In an eye opening chapter she explains the culture's patriarchal ideology, catechism, and symbols. Drawing from Scripture, the pimps narrate the fall of Adam and Eve, reworking the story to become a symbol of the defeat of mankind by woman. The story propels a pimp system of beliefs that asserts "square" society--all of us but them--is ruled by women and pimp culture is the last bastion of male domination in the Western world. I was invigorated by this new approach to gender relations. The claims are outrageous but these men are living their bluster, and that will make them credible enough for you to rethink to your relationship to the other gender.

That's enough material to make for amazing reading but it's just introductory. A large section will not disappoint--it's probably more than you could hope when you first sought a pimp studies book. In instructional detail, the mechanisms for controlling hos are explained. For any square the psychology of control is not intuitive. Pimps do not shy away from violence but the method of operation is psychological submission. The pimp must be a master of manipulation because the relationship between pimp and ho is an inversion of gender role. The pimp builds alpha magnetism, inspiring the sexual worship of his ho, a conquest so commanding that she becomes the wage earner so she may court his affection, allowing him to have the leisure to shop for fine clothes--quite an inversion.

This is a sociological work covering the bread and butter topics of the department such as race, deviance, and law, giving the book an academic comprehensiveness. The book manages to be intelligent and pure as an academic treatment and remains readable, the prose infused with the flair of that gilded age and place, late 60s San Francisco. The sociological observations spring from wacky encounters between hippies and pimps living in the same neighborhood, pimp war and peace, and more good times.

Find a research library and find this book.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97bac624) out of 5 stars One of a kind. A truly unique study. 1 Mar. 2005
By Justo Roteta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book was the product of an anthropological study regarding both the lifestyles and subculture of San Francisco Bay Area pimps and their prostitutes. Given the fact that the authors befriended many of the local pimps prior to interviewing them they were able to obtain a lot of information that would otherwise have been unavailable. In short, this book gives us a truly unique look at one of America's most controversial subcultures.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x978a0b64) out of 5 stars Out of many One 16 Mar. 2005
By R. Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the book that anyone, anyone, Anyone who wants to know about the game should start out with. I read this book in a research library then purchased it. It is the only book that I have ever seen that truly depicts the life objectively and fairly. Thorough, factual, multi-faceted, "real," and scholarly. This book is truly worth $100.00.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x978a0d14) out of 5 stars Anthropological study of Black pimp subculture. 10 Jun. 1999
By Jordan R - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Academic study of the Black pimp subculture in the Bay Area. Truly a fascinating book!
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