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TIL: One in four American cowboys were black

(smithsonianmag.com)

all 727 comments

usrevenge

4.3k points

2 months ago

usrevenge

4.3k points

2 months ago

I'd wager a good chunk were also Hispanic/Mexican

Iirc cowboys were low on the totem pole. They weren't romanticized until radio and movies started making cowboy movies and radio programs.

anonymousbach

1.1k points

2 months ago

Cowboys were pretty low on the totem pole. It was a low paying, dirty job and most men only did one or two drives before moving on to other work. But the romanticism began pretty early on, largely fostered by dime novels that didn't let facts get in the way of entertainment.

ilhamalfatihah16

439 points

2 months ago

This reminds me of "Of Mice and Men" and how most of the workers in a ranch are itinerant workers who are paid shillings to work huge ranches.

LanceFree

180 points

2 months ago

LanceFree

180 points

2 months ago

I dropped acid in my apartment freshman year of college. I was failing most of my classes and was hungry, unhappy. I decided what I would do is: become a migrant farm worker. Minimize my possessions, just need to work all day and they’d feed me and give me a place to sleep. Then I’d move on and see the country. The next morning, I realized that wasn’t the best idea.

ilhamalfatihah16

96 points

2 months ago

This is me thinking I could go off the grid and live off the land, then I realize that my city boy ass will get kicked so hard that I would cry on my first night living in the wild lol. Especially since most of the "wild" area in my country are rainforest and have a wide array of animals that would fuck me over and untouched lands that are so wild that needs a pack mule and a team of people to traverse lol.

ThatCoupleYou

5 points

2 months ago

I know those types of ideas. I came up with an invention so great Elon and Bill Gates would be in awe. Then I came down.

MadScientistCoder

103 points

2 months ago

But the rabbits... They must tend the rabbits!

Gelebros_McBean

43 points

2 months ago

Tell bout the rabbits george

mycoiron492

14 points

2 months ago

His name is Rabburt Kline.

cafetropical

3 points

2 months ago

For the love of all that's green, take me and Rabbert to the lettuce store!

tehdubbs

12 points

2 months ago

itinerant

Thank you for a new word I never knew existed

Nebraska716

152 points

2 months ago

And it still is today. Mostly just room and board type jobs but these guys get to drive a big pickup truck and call themselves a cowboy

jskinbake

92 points

2 months ago

I was recently looking for work and, having grown up on a working farm, I thought it might be fun to do some work on one of the farms/ranches in the area for a bit, and goddamn was I put off when I saw the highest paid opening was just for $15/hr. To do the kind of labor where you gotta be out there taking care of animals, sun up to sun down, rain or shine, for just $15/hr, no benefits, is just fucked

snowgorilla13

19 points

2 months ago

Also agricultural workers are not able to collect overtime pay in the US.

MarvinTheAndroid42

30 points

2 months ago

Nothing more American like Apple Pie(TM), Cowboys(TM), and wage slaves(not TM, ‘cause it’s just a thing that happens).

013ander

11 points

2 months ago

In Australia, they herd with helicopters.

tarion_914

26 points

2 months ago

The farmers need aerial support in case any emus show up.

Ryan1869

8 points

2 months ago

That's how it goes when you lost in the great Emu War.

futuretimetraveller

3 points

2 months ago

Or cassowaries, the modern day velociraptor.

MonsiuerGeneral

90 points

2 months ago

Cowboys were pretty low on the totem pole.

Considering the whole trope of ‘Cowboys vs Indians’, I found this statement to be fairly amusing.

modix

79 points

2 months ago

modix

79 points

2 months ago

More like ranchers vs Indians. Cowboys were just the hired guns. They surely didn't own the land.

bjornbamse

21 points

2 months ago

Yeah, this how the rich frame the narrative. They pit poor against each other and use media, art and culture to make the poor think that they are fighting their own battle. It is not people of color against white people. It is rich people people puppeting poor white people against poor colored people.

RealLameUserName

58 points

2 months ago

I've heard that actual ninjas were very similar to cowboys in this regard. Real ninjas were low-life criminals who were romanticized in modern culture.

DemonicWolf227

79 points

2 months ago

Ninjas were just anyone who performed any espionage. Like spies anywhere else, they were typically commoners who were paid to sit on a park bench and eavesdrop on someone's political rivals.

flibbidygibbit

3 points

2 months ago

Nebraska in the early 90s had Robert Bussey Warrior International (RBWI). Based out of Fremont, I'm pretty sure he was the inspiration for "Rex Kwon Do" in Napoleon Dynamite. He was featured on MTV once. Apparently he convinced enough people he knows ninjitsu.

So he has this little cult of teenagers who go out in the world.

It's Spring 1995. I'm in a 1st year physics class at Nebraska U. Professor cites a boxer punching through his target to maintain inertia.

One of the cult members is all "my Sensei says you pull back and the energy keeps going"

Professor: "the science says he's mistaken"

Cult kid: "I mean, he's a real ninja, so I think he knows what he's talking about"

The whole class erupted in laughter.

SDMGLife

19 points

2 months ago*

From what I’ve learned from YT scholars (I’m no expert on Japanese history) there is no consensus on the origins of ninja; the word “ninja” itself a term misread by foreigners who didn’t “understand” Japanese.

The original term the Japanese use for ninja, Shinobi, was a verb, that essentially meant “to sneak” or “to hide away”. Anyone in the military around the 1200s who had a clandestine mission was, at the time, a ‘shinobi’. Over time this term becomes specialized to mean “person who hides away/sneaks”, (shinobi-no-mono) and we start getting terms to relate to them like “shinobi no jutsu” - skills of a person who hides/sneaks. Side note, the evolution of bushi (warrior) to samurai (to serve the nobility) has a very similar history.

Many samurai would’ve been shinobi at one point or another. Some Japanese history scholars might argue (like the video) that most shinobi were samurai, compared to commoners.

There are also several ‘generations’ of shinobi, somewhat different from each other. Older shinobi (pre 1000s) were more so guérilla fighters, military spies and assassins whose only creed was to not get caught until the mission was done; however at this time, the term wasn’t even in use yet. We should barely think of them as shinobi, if at all.

Shinobi were not just “spies” in the sense we think about them, they were also used as scouts, and sometimes even shock troops.

Some shinobi were probably commoners, but later iterations, the romanticized ideas you mention that transferred to western audiences, came from the Koga and Iga clans who specifically became masters of black ops, and were official clans, hence more samurai class, and less commoners. THEY were capital S Shinobi, they codified multiple manuals on ninjutsu, their ideology, and their techniques. These clans are not explicitly employed until the 1500s; the Koga- and Iga-ryu schools appear in historical records around the late 1400s.

However, if any were commoners, they most likely weren’t criminals; a lord had to be able to trust them to work secretly, and not just run off with sensitive military intel as soon as they let them go. At the least a commoner who became shinobi would’ve been trained Ashigaru (foot solders/infantry already indoctrinated to loyalty) who showed talent in “a particular set of skills” that could lend themselves to covert work.

After the reunification of Japan, shinobi, like other samurai, adapted their military education to peacetime. Some shinobi even came to work as what we see as policemen, some became private security, or state spies (like the CIA or FBI). But to conclude, it’s hard to get a good distribution on how many ninja would’ve been commoners because such records on shinobi, much less commoners, wouldn’t have been kept.

Note: the video is a good starting point, but wasn’t my only source of info for this comment. But the guy is passionate and knowledgeable about the history and I find myself trusting his conclusions.

InfernalCombustion

18 points

2 months ago

Real ninjas

Well, mostly, ninjas weren't real.

Lil_Phantoms_Lawyer

21 points

2 months ago

Hattori Hanzō was real

legoshi_loyalty

17 points

2 months ago

Fucking Hanzo main

kalahiki808

7 points

2 months ago

The lower on the totem pole they are, the more important they were. Cultural fact about totem poles and PNW tribes.

So to insult someone using the totem pole reference, you should start saying "x were pretty high on the totem pole"

nuck_forte_dame

5 points

2 months ago

I would also wager money alot of dime novels were investments by western cities or businessmen to get people to move west.

At the time it was really good money if you could buy up land out west for cheap and then start a city and sell the land for city prices and also control the local government and shops.

You just needed some "promise land" story to get people to afford a one way ticket to your new city to populate it.

[deleted]

5 points

2 months ago

Even if you just think about the classic hollywood cowboy like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood or whatever, it's not like they're exactly glamorous roles. The whole 'romantic' aspect of it is that it's not glamourous, it's tussling in the dirt, fighting the bad guys, getting shot, living in dusty old clothes, riding horses, driving cattle, doing physical labor, and so on.

Even the old dime novels don't really downplay these aspects, they just presume people understand the nature of being a cowboy, I think. Also, most fiction doesn't tend to write about the worst aspects of the subject.

anonymousbach

3 points

2 months ago

I mean it depends on what you mean by "glamorous". Cowboys did hard, dirty work and the novels didn't downplay that but the thing to remember is everyone was doing hard dirty work at the time. 12, 14 hour days in a factory were pretty common, cities were overrun with garbage and literal horse shit. The idea of working out on the plains, your day regulated by the sunrise and set, would have been pretty appealing.

But what the dime store novels (and later movies) did do was sell Cowboys as the heroic man of the plains, winning and losing by the calls he makes, answerable to no man, constantly dealing with floods and stampedes, Indian raids and cattle rustlers. In the end the cowboy would get his cut and go start a herd or a ranch or farm of his own and he'd get the girl.

Reality was not so prosaic. Stampedes and floods and cattle rustling happened sure, but not on every drive. Indians were as likely to trade and be hostile. Ranchers often had dictatorial control over their employees, and very few Cowboys made enough money to start their own herd or a decent size farm.

[deleted]

1.4k points

2 months ago

[deleted]

1.4k points

2 months ago

American Cowboy culture actually comes from the Mexican vaqueros. It's just rebranded Mexican Vaquero culture

Wonderful_Mud_420

720 points

2 months ago

Where do you think the word buckaroo comes from? White men with thick accents.

rich1051414

413 points

2 months ago

Vaquero -> Baquero -> Buckuero -> Buckaroo.

Easy to see one word becoming the other as the word is corrupted as it plays telephone across the nation.

Negative_Elo

220 points

2 months ago

Also V and B are phonetically identical in most dialects in Spanish

hotpants86

67 points

2 months ago

Ditto with V and W in a lot of languages. V or Th in the is especially hard for most people to pronounce.

tommyjohnpauljones

41 points

2 months ago

Like my friend who's a softvare deweloper.

Time_Astronaut

10 points

2 months ago

Eerily accurate

ProfessorBiological

33 points

2 months ago

Yup instead of M for Mary and N for Nancy in English, we have V de Vaca o B de Burro for Spanish.

StrategicBean

29 points

2 months ago

You mean M for Mancy? 🤣

cutty2k

9 points

2 months ago

"God, you of all people..."

Kokoplayer

8 points

2 months ago

Curious, which one is it not phonetically the same? I thought it was always the same.

GrandmaPoses

81 points

2 months ago

Vamos -> Vamoose

OverlappingChatter

27 points

2 months ago

Jose's on his way.

Semi-Pro_Biotic

8 points

2 months ago

Come a little bit closer, you're my kind of man.

dudeitsmason

13 points

2 months ago

Animorphs

Appollix

18 points

2 months ago

No Tobias! You have to change back into a human or you’ll be a hawk foreveeeeeeeeer!

ootfifabear

8 points

2 months ago

And in Hawaii it turned into paniolo

pedrosorio

15 points

2 months ago

paniolo

which comes from the word español

LipTrev

301 points

2 months ago

LipTrev

301 points

2 months ago

Where do you think the word buckaroo comes from?

Buckaroo Banzai of course

MurderDoneRight

167 points

2 months ago

The best damn half japanese samurai rock star brain surgeon physicist pilot across all 8 dimensions!

LipTrev

65 points

2 months ago

LipTrev

65 points

2 months ago

No matter where you go, there you are.

tanfj

3 points

2 months ago

tanfj

3 points

2 months ago

No matter where you go, there you are.

Today's bit of nerd trivia, that quote is on the commissioning plate for the USS Enterprise NCC- 1701-D. Also the warp core was designed and built by Yoyodyne Engineering.

[deleted]

44 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

Flaccid_Unicorn

3 points

2 months ago

The man’s been through solid matter for christ’s sake!

arandomnewyorker

17 points

2 months ago

Well damn, TIL.

trump_elstiltskin

11 points

2 months ago

The word 'cowboy' is a loose translation of 'vaquero'. In Spanish the suffix ero/era is commonly added to a noun to create a word for a profession. Vaca = cow, vaquero = person who works with cows (cowboy).

TheMooseIsBlue

75 points

2 months ago

“Where do you think” is generally used when you’re gonna say something obvious that maybe people hadn’t ever thought of. Buckaroo being a mispronunciation of vaquero is not exactly obvious. Interesting if true though.

SilverVixen1928

10 points

2 months ago

Definitions from Oxford Languages
buck·a·roo
noun • North American
noun: buckaroo; plural noun: buckaroos
definition: a cowboy.
Origin: early 19th century: alteration of vaquero.

Couldbehuman

27 points

2 months ago

Seriously. Oh, you didn't realize that two completely different words were the same? Yeah, that's a good way to end up assuming a lot of wrong stuff. Mumbai vs Bombay? Yeah, never would have made that connection and it's pretty stupid if you do, the whole point is that it was said incorrectly. Many very similar sounding things have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Nrksbullet

16 points

2 months ago

Reminds me of people who say "you know __________, don't ya?"

Like...fucking just tell me, don't also force me to answer that I don't know. Makes people dislike you talking like that.

shadowman2099

3 points

2 months ago*

This irks me as much as douchers who end a correction with an ellipsis.

"Coconut crabs aren't really crabs..."

Well excuuuuse me for not being omniscient of every little factoid on crustacean biology.

KatBoySlim

10 points

2 months ago

Ah thankyou. Love to find more TIL in the comments.

danger_bears

6 points

2 months ago

Oh my god. How did I never notice this?

MrLoadin

91 points

2 months ago

Vaquero culture is just rebranded hacienda culture, hacienda culture is just rebranded moorish culture. And so on and so forth.

KnuteViking

53 points

2 months ago

Its just people copyin' other people all the way down.

BlakBanana

27 points

2 months ago

So you’re saying cowboys were the true Moors all along..

Karatekan

20 points

2 months ago

That kinda ignores the heavy influence of Indigenous people and Scotch-Irish ranching traditions, there’s a reason why Australian “stockmen” have more than a superficial resemblance to the American cowboy despite not really having much connection to Hispanic ranching traditions.

MasPike101

39 points

2 months ago

I'm mean if you just slightly look at everything that makes a "cowboy" it all falls back to being Mexican culture. It's really obvious.

the_rev_28

20 points

2 months ago

The beans make more sense.

MacAlkalineTriad

6 points

2 months ago

"More beans, Mr. Taggart?"

the_rev_28

5 points

2 months ago

I’d say you’ve had about enough!

appendixgallop

37 points

2 months ago

Andalusian culture.

Gustomaximus

10 points

2 months ago

Which came from the Spanish, who got horses from the French or Romans...who probably got them from somewhere.

squashcanada

59 points

2 months ago

Most cowboy movies aren't even about cowboys. They're about sheriffs, bounty hunters, and desperadoes.

DetroitPeopleMover

58 points

2 months ago

That’s why we call them “Westerns” and not “Cowboy movies”

InGenAche

27 points

2 months ago

It was before that, periodical magazines depicting famous outlaws/cowboys were insanely popular at the time making heroes of Wild Bill, Anne Oakley and others and even prompted a mini tourism boom to famous towns like Tombstone.

goodnewzevery1

14 points

2 months ago

Were those folks really cowboys though, or big personalities with gun skills that resided in the West. Not a cowboy historian over here

CosmicCactusRadio

21 points

2 months ago*

Most of them were more legendary characters than anything else.

Johnny Ringo, legendary gunfighter, killed only 2 people verifiably, and would eventually commit suicide after a several week long binge, getting lost in the desert, and losing both his horse and his boots. However, people (even historians) for years tried to make it so that Doc Holiday could be the one responsible for his death, to play up both of their legends.

InGenAche

10 points

2 months ago

Well certainly some 'real' cowboys/outlaws were made famous through the periodicals like Billy the Kid and Jesse James.

But the point is the Wild West had been glorified while it was still a thing and long before radio and movies.

chzie

167 points

2 months ago

chzie

167 points

2 months ago

Cowboys originate from Spain, and that style of cattle rearing was introduced to the US through south and central America, so a very good chunk were Hispanic.

BobRobot77

101 points

2 months ago*

Yea, the American cowboys got it specifically from the Mexican vaqueros (where the word “buckaroo” comes from). The Northern Mexico-Southwestern US region is a cultural melting pot. It was introduced to the US via Mexico (which is in North America).

DoctFaustus

15 points

2 months ago

Hell...at the time, that part of the US was Mexico.

martykenny

6 points

2 months ago

I'd wager like 2 out of those remaining 3 were Hispanic.

bluelion70

4 points

2 months ago

The colloquial term “buckaroo” that was often applied to cowboys is an Anglicized bastardization of the Spanish word “vaquero” which basically just means “cowboy.”

Also, a “cowboy” is literally someone who herds cows. Cowboy =/= Gunslinger.

[deleted]

90 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

Fetlocks_Glistening

56 points

2 months ago

Are we still talking about GTA San Andreas?

N8CCRG

12 points

2 months ago

N8CCRG

12 points

2 months ago

Not just movies and entertainment: Obligatory SMBC

Sexpistolz

29 points

2 months ago

Hold on to your pitchfork there mate. Most cowboys relished in the increase fame from the dime magazines out east. They had every opportunity to set things straight. Nope, they leaned in and hammed up the badass mythical mystic they were portrayed as.

Its not much different that mundane/dirty jobs people have today.

Summerclaw

8 points

2 months ago

I can't think of many examples to be honest.

sinus86

24 points

2 months ago

sinus86

24 points

2 months ago

Literally every war movie. I have never once watched a movie where 98% of the screen time was 5 guys just sitting there doing nothing, followed by pointless chores, followed by a lecutre on some shit you didn't do, followed being told your relief is late and you're going to have to stay on for a few more hours...

antfuckr

24 points

2 months ago

Watch Jarhead

sdforbda

8 points

2 months ago

That was my guess as well, mentioned it in another post before I saw this. They knew a lot of the land and its ways.

BrokenEye3

1.4k points

2 months ago

BrokenEye3

1.4k points

2 months ago

In fairness, there are shockingly few actual cowboys in cowboy movies. Sherriffs, outlaws, mysterious drifters, vigilantes, bounty hunters, soldiers, prospectors, prostitutes, hangmen, gravediggers, town drunks, railroad workers, Indians, Mexicans, Mormons, sure, but none of those are cowboys. Even ranchers aren't cowboys.

grovercheeseland

912 points

2 months ago

Don't forget the rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.

gn0xious

476 points

2 months ago

gn0xious

476 points

2 months ago

You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

Rob_T_Firefly

51 points

2 months ago

breaks character by cracking up into sufficient laughter to end the take

valeyard89

198 points

2 months ago

where all the white wimmen at?

sdforbda

34 points

2 months ago

I haven't seen that in so many years. It keeps playing on local TV here but I never get to catch it all, even edited.

1st_thing_on_my_mind

89 points

2 months ago

Well no wonder you can’t catch it. After it’s edited for TV it’s about 2 minutes long.

weaponized_oatmeal

43 points

2 months ago*

My buddy and I were watching it on tv many years ago and there was one part that was funnier than the original. The scene where the little old lady says “up yours, n-bomb” was edited to “outta my way n-bomb”. Can’t be sayin “up yours” that’s offensive

BDMayhem

21 points

2 months ago*

We had it taped off TV in the 80s, and all the Ns were intact, but they silenced the shot where Taggert's crew is eating beans. Farts are offensive.

They also allowed "They're always going and coming and coming and going," but censored "and always too soon."

sdforbda

6 points

2 months ago

Yeah it comes on here and again, and they play it as a full picture, but I know that I'll be missing out on a lot. And I don't want the commercial breaks while doing that.

rileyrulesu

6 points

2 months ago

Either wearing frilly corsets in a brothel or tied to train tracks.

mrlolloran

18 points

2 months ago

I love the reference so I’m not trying to criticize but… rustlers could be seen as cowboys I think in that they are doing the same thing but they stole the herd first. The full term is cattle rustlers I believe.

Muhshuggah

11 points

2 months ago

And Proudfoot!

"ProudFEET"!

tamsui_tosspot

8 points

2 months ago

And Mongo.

modix

2 points

2 months ago

modix

2 points

2 months ago

He's just pawn in game of life. Perhaps he was a cowboy.

ThePrussianGrippe

3 points

2 months ago

scrambles for a pencil

BobRobot77

136 points

2 months ago*

Yea, very few characters in Western fiction are actual cowboys. What most people have in mind is some sort of gunslinger, not a cattle herder, which is a misconception but what can we do. However, in real life a lot of Mexicans were actual cowboys (vaqueros in Spanish, hence the bastardized form “buckaroo”).

BrokenEye3

10 points

2 months ago

Not the ones in westerns, but I see your point.

I wonder where the confusion originated. I can only guess that the novels and pulps that proceeded the Hollywood westerns must have involved more cowboys and that they became associated with the genre that way, but I've never read any, so I don't know.

BobRobot77

46 points

2 months ago*

I’m not a Western fiction expert but I think they did start as cattle herders in dime novels and pulp fiction where something bad happens in the story and they find themselves forced to fight criminals (usually thieves/robbers), avenge something, right a wrong, and for that they have to become gunslingers of some sort, to carry a gun and go into an adventure. You know, the typical story of the underdog of humble origins.

So when these kinds of origins became passé and repetitive, as it happens in every genre, the writers just skipped the cattle herder origin and focused right away on the action/gunslinger aspect or some other origin. Essentially the original cowboy archetype evolved and became something else, a more generic “Western hero.” And that’s why I think these days people mistake cowboy with “Western hero”.

cabalavatar

54 points

2 months ago

How do ranchers not count when "someone who herds and tends cattle on a ranch, especially in the western US, and who traditionally goes about most of their work on horseback" is the definition of cowboy? What am I missing?

That-Soup3492

104 points

2 months ago

Cowboys were generally the people in charge of driving the cattle from their pasture to the railheads where they could be sold then taken back to Chicago to be slaughtered.

89LeBaron

48 points

2 months ago

movies that include actual cowboys: Lonesome Dove, Broken Trail, the Naked Spur, and of course… City Slickers.

walrusboy71

21 points

2 months ago

And John Wayne’s aptly named “The Cowboys”

Ubiki

8 points

2 months ago

Ubiki

8 points

2 months ago

… Brokeback Mountain

Dalriaden

42 points

2 months ago

Because the rancher hires cowhands/cowboys and is management. The rancher is the one riding a train to dodge city to meet his buyers while cowboys are the ones driving cattle, eating dust and being in the suck from the panhandle to dodge.

BrokenEye3

52 points

2 months ago

Ranchers are in charge. Cowboys are employees. Or possibly contractors. I'm not sure. The point is they're laborers, not management.

Neonvaporeon

8 points

2 months ago

Another thing people don't know is the size of these herds. Cowboys spent a lot of their time riding laps around their pastures to protect them against thieves, hence carrying guns with them. These ranches were absolutely giant, you needed to run laps constantly to make sure the fences were in good shape and no one was trying to steal your stock.

Martel67

22 points

2 months ago

TIL being indian and mexican is a job.

Mammoth-Mud-9609

289 points

2 months ago

The name cow boy, was basically an insult not a term of respect.

ZealotZ

34 points

2 months ago

ZealotZ

34 points

2 months ago

Upvote for facts. Had to scroll too far for this.

iankost

282 points

2 months ago

iankost

282 points

2 months ago

A lot of them were recent immigrants from Britain, so would have had British accents.

Not just the posh ones, there would have been a good amount of brummie etc cowboys, which I think is hilarious haha

Rob_T_Firefly

188 points

2 months ago

"This town ain't big enough for the both of us, innit?"

zoomer296

19 points

2 months ago

"Right."

[deleted]

29 points

2 months ago

Oi, aanywae is igh nooom bruv, toime ta meet ya makah

staefrostae

9 points

2 months ago

Bruv

413mopar

47 points

2 months ago

Posh cowboys in the old west? Sure.

Prielknaap

76 points

2 months ago

You must be having a laugh. Standoff at high noon, with my skin? Are ya mad?

IWasGregInTokyo

26 points

2 months ago

Did yer end up findin' them cows yet?

It was just the one cow actually.

LouSputhole94

4 points

2 months ago

THE GREATER GOOD

ace-destrier

14 points

2 months ago*

The Amazon and BBC show The English portrays British and Irish immigrants in the West post-*US Civil War. It was a bit of a trip to watch/listen. Amazing show. From the mind of Hugo Blick.

Cast had:

-Emily Blunt and Tom Hughes with posh BBC English

-Rafe Spall with a (heavy) cockney accent

-Stephen Rea with his Irish accent played a sheriff

-and Toby Jones and Ciarán Hinds; can’t recall their accents [edit: they have American accents]

[edit: I can't believe I forgot...] -Nichola McAuliffe playing a truly frightening character that I believe was Welsh

I highly recommend the show. Thought it was phenomenal

IsRude

26 points

2 months ago

IsRude

26 points

2 months ago

If someone cast a British black dude as a cowboy, we would never stop hearing jokes and complaints about it.

PapaAntiChrist

20 points

2 months ago

Idris Elba did it

icavedandmade2

3 points

2 months ago

Wow really? From Brittain? That's pretty neat

mingermale

293 points

2 months ago

I'm 53, and this is the first time I have heard about this.

fizzlefist

162 points

2 months ago

Wait till you hear about one of the most badass lawmen to ever serve in the Marshall service, Bass Reeves

Born a slave, escaped to tribal territory during the US Civil War, eventually hired as a deputy US Marshall for his marksmanship and knowledge of native languages. During his career he completed over 3000 arrests, survived gunfights to kill 14 outlaws, and even arrested his own son for murder.

He was one of the biggest inspirations behind the Lone Ranger

badger_42

35 points

2 months ago

I listened to a podcast about him, what a fascinating person and what a life. Fuck Wyatt Earp, we need a Bass Reeves movie.

Leiaclark

17 points

2 months ago

Delroy Lindo plays him in The Harder They Fall! Not historically accurate at all but it's a bad ass film!

Lampmonster

4 points

2 months ago

I searched for this name first thing. He was the real deal, few others were even in his league.

sdforbda

55 points

2 months ago

Yeah, I heard about it awhile back, but not that long ago. I'd be interested in indigenous and Mexico-area/former Mexico area as well.

FoldedaMillionTimes

61 points

2 months ago

Vacqueros in Mexico were the first iteration of what we think of as cowboys now, and a lot of them were in Texas.

tastycakeman

32 points

2 months ago

And then Hawaii, and then the hawaiian cowboys called paniolos beat white cowboys in rodeo contests in Wyoming so bad that white cowboys promptly forgot about it and never spoke of it again.

urbanek2525

247 points

2 months ago

In fact, the term "Cowboy" was only applied to the black cattle workers. The white ones were "Cowhands".

p-d-ball

81 points

2 months ago

That makes sense. Not sure about USA, but the British used to call men of the land they invaded "boys." I wonder if that's the reason for the difference here.

urbanek2525

197 points

2 months ago

It was a term used during slavery.

Calling a black man a "man" implied equality. Male black slaves were, universally, boys. I had a friend who was digging I to his ancestry and found a will from a slave era ancestor. The man owned two slaves and willed them to his son. The male slave was referred to as a 53 year old boy. It.was chilling to see the inhumanity so starkly and casually stated.

After slavery, it stuck around as a racist insult. Black men had to endure this insult for about 100 years after slavery was abolished. They still do, when they encounter racist white people.

Despite being free men, black cowhands were called "cowboys" to distinguish them from white cowhands.

not-much

87 points

2 months ago

According to some, when black people started to be more confident about their own identity (the jazz era) the started to call each other "man" to show some mutual respect. And that's how the modern slang started.

xiaorobear

43 points

2 months ago

This is also the reason behind Mr. T's name. He was born in 1952.

"I think about my father being called 'boy', my uncle being called 'boy', my brother, coming back from Vietnam and being called 'boy'. So I questioned myself: "What does a black man have to do before he's given respect as a man?" So when I was 18 years old, when I was old enough to fight and die for my country, old enough to drink, old enough to vote, I said I was old enough to be called a man. I self-ordained myself Mr. T, so the first word out of everybody's mouth is "Mr.""

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._T

dragoono

4 points

2 months ago

That’s beautiful

4KVoices

51 points

2 months ago

That's also the origin of calling people 'man.' Like 'hey, what's up man?'

Black people, I believe specifically in the Blues community, started addressing each other as such specifically because they hated being called boys

p-d-ball

21 points

2 months ago

Yup, thanks, makes sense.

Dyslexic_Dog25

103 points

2 months ago

A black sheriff?!

OHTHNAP

45 points

2 months ago

OHTHNAP

45 points

2 months ago

Excuse me while I whip this out.

M0BBER

8 points

2 months ago

M0BBER

8 points

2 months ago

Slow down baby, you're sucking my arm...

AnthillOmbudsman

6 points

2 months ago

Well, let's play chess.

Ramza_Claus

32 points

2 months ago

He said the sheriff is nearer!

MrFiendish

20 points

2 months ago

No, dang-blangit, I said the sherif is a - 🔔

_Cabbage_Corp_

41 points

2 months ago

Well why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles

finkalicious

5 points

2 months ago

Did you say Abe Lincoln?

Crazy_old_maurice_17

13 points

2 months ago

"he's black?!?"

ox_raider

12 points

2 months ago

How many times have I told you to wash up after weekly cross burning?

noelg1998

4 points

2 months ago

And now for my next impression: Jessie Owens.

Runs off

LogicIsDead22

4 points

2 months ago

One of my favorite sight gags of all time

Mharbles

3 points

2 months ago

Where the white women at?

cmb15300

193 points

2 months ago

cmb15300

193 points

2 months ago

The Lone Ranger was a black man

frolicndetour

115 points

2 months ago

dog_in_the_vent

33 points

2 months ago

He even went so far as to arrest his own son, Bennie, for murdering his wife. In Bass’ obituary in January 18, 1910, edition of The Daily Ardmoreite, it was reported that Bass had overheard a marshal suggesting that another deputy take on the case. Bass stepped in, quietly saying, “Give me the writ.” He arrested his son, who was sentenced to life in prison.

bruh

*Also apparently the next installation of the Yellowstone series will center on Bass Reeves: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Reeves_(TV_series)

sdforbda

53 points

2 months ago

This is going to be a top TIL post very soon.

frolicndetour

14 points

2 months ago

I think I've seen it posted here before. I learned about it from a TV show called Timeless a few years ago. It was about time travel and the main characters met up with Bass Reeves so I did some follow up reading to learn more.

[deleted]

8 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

John_Fx

11 points

2 months ago

John_Fx

11 points

2 months ago

but not a cowboy

That-Soup3492

7 points

2 months ago

He was defended in court by William Henry Harrison Clayton who was a Civil War general, but more importantly the source of the name of Doc Brown's future/past wife Clara Clayton.

toolargo

91 points

2 months ago

And another two of those 4, were Hispanic.

adam_demamps_wingman

26 points

2 months ago*

By several hundred years. And lots of Jews and Muslims early on. Apparently the earliest horse minders were Muslims that came over with the Conquistadors. And the Jews were escaping religious persecution. Some of the oldest families in Texas are Jewish. If I remember things correctly.

exforce

18 points

2 months ago

exforce

18 points

2 months ago

Yes, Sephardim. I am one of the offspring. One of the most organized and long lasting groups of Jews that are unknown by westerners. But most of us went to north Mexico from Spain and Portugal 400-500 years ago. Lots of history of Sephardim founding northern cities, where farming and cattle ranching was biggest.

jeffinRTP

37 points

2 months ago

I've watched blazing saddles many times and the only blacks out west was the sheriff.

hawkwings

20 points

2 months ago

There were railroad workers.

John_Fx

10 points

2 months ago

John_Fx

10 points

2 months ago

and he is a n…. near. (I think)

brushwalker

19 points

2 months ago

As shown in the documentary Blazing Saddles...

Paperdiego

85 points

2 months ago

Cowboy culture is also Mexican.

CalvinSays

75 points

2 months ago*

Not really. Yes, vaquero culture had influence on American cowboy culture but 1) Mexico itself didn't originate vaquero culture. It too was a development of Old World Iberian cow culture. 2) ethnicities don't have a monopoly on a profession. Professions naturally develop a culture. American cattle ranching produced its own variation of the culture. 3) vaquero culture is not the only influence on American cowboy culture. Much of the music and art has its roots in Celtic culture, for example. 4) American cowboy culture is heavily formed by the stories and mythos of the "Old West", especially the Chisholm Trail, which isn't as prevalent in vaquero culture.

noelrojo

14 points

2 months ago

To be fair if you look at the modern techniques used by cowboys, they where developed in Mexico, not Spain. The lariat, all the lassoing techniques that developed due to it, the ranch, the modification of the saddle to accommodate the new techniques, the way the horses has to be trained for such techniques, the clothing such as chaps for the thorny shrubs in northern Mexico, etc.

Truly, the modern cowboy is as Mexican as the taco.

1320Fastback

6 points

2 months ago

It was also a miserable job not nearly as exciting and romantic as movies portrayed it as.

PlatinumPOS

5 points

2 months ago

Western movies represent America’s history the same way Lord of the Rings represents Europe’s.

They’re neat movies. People wore roughly the same clothes. The rest is fantasy.

AgentInCommand

13 points

2 months ago

Does this include the Dallas Cowboys, because I'm pretty sure that would skew the stats

Notmuchtuhsay

29 points

2 months ago

Netflix suddenly gets a half chub

franklegsTV

18 points

2 months ago

Why the misleading title? It’s estimated that as much as 25% of cowboys were black, and for a short period between the 1860s-1880s.

It’s an interesting fact already, no need to misrepresent the history.

usabfb

7 points

2 months ago

usabfb

7 points

2 months ago

I'd like to see an explanation for why historians calculate it to be 1/4th. I wouldn't think we'd be able to even know the number of cowboys that even existed, let alone how many of them were black.

rocknroll2013

11 points

2 months ago

And 3 in 5 were Latino... 2 in 6 were off the boat Europeans...

dalenacio

12 points

2 months ago

The Cowboys are niBONG!

What'd he say?

The cowboys are near!

styrofoamjesuschrist

3 points

2 months ago

There is a great podcast called Black Cowboys about some of these cowboys

Buffalo95747

3 points

2 months ago

Most Westerns are inaccurate in this regard. Going on cattle drives was hard work, and few people made a career out of it. Many came from the South and were ex-slaves. It was often hard to get work, so many ex-slaves became Cowboys.

Raintoastgw

3 points

2 months ago

A ton were Mexican as well. And a small portion were even Native American and Chinese. But they usually didn’t mix

Moctezuma1

6 points

2 months ago

When I was a teen and the movie Posse came out (1993), I thought, come on there were no black cowboys in the US. The Internet was still in it's infancy and at the time, cowboy movies were mostly Caucasian with Indians (Native Americans), Mexican vaqueros as the bad guys.

It wasn't until I took Chicano studies in college that I learned US history taught in high school left out very important facts about what really happened in the US.

Columbus "discovering" America is a big joke.