Are Samoans Big?

More to the point, are they inherently big?  Genetically big? We used to know that Samoans were big. But today it is possible, in principle  to develop a more detailed, genetical, causal explanation of Samoan bigness – although we haven’t really done so yet. And since that better explanation is possible and desirable, yet has not yet been developed, somehow we no longer know whether Samoans are inherently really big. The best is the enemy of the good. It could be some kind of optical illusion. Maybe bigness is a polygenic trait, which would have taken a million years to  select for, just as it took a million years to develop the German Shepherd or shrink dachshunds by 50%.  Maybe that bigness is unstable because polygenic, in the same way that Percherons get small if you let them watch too much vintage Steve Martin.

Now it might be that Samoans are big  in every known environment, but  that only shows how powerful and universal prejudice really is. It might be that we have spent hundreds of billions on attempts to shrink Samoans, without any lasting result, but that only shows that we haven’t tried hard enough.

If we had a PRS for bigness, and it showed that Samoans had significantly higher scores – well,  that would be a scientific travesty.  One that was especially apparent to anyone that had just gotten their Ph.D. in a related controversial field and was looking for an academic job.


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29 Responses to Are Samoans Big?

  1. Diogenes says:

    Noticing that Samoans are big is not who we are.

    Either way, we are working to reduce Samoan size by taking some of the smaller Samoans and putting them in classes with the very smallest non-Samoans. Shouldn’t take more than 25 years or so. The difference in heights between the Samoans and other students isn’t that noticeable; only 3-4”.

  2. Cloudswrest says:

    It’s dangerous for Chihuahuas though. They get really really small.

  3. Ursiform says:

    I had a Samoan friend in Jr High who was rail thin. With the right statistics that could make the average Samoan average size.

    • Smithie says:

      It would be interesting to see three distributions: height, weight, and BMI. I wonder if it would easier to find out the secret because they went through a bottleneck.

  4. LeoAquarius says:

    Well, I don’t think you can discard the best and most successful way we shrieked Samoans: cross them with other, preferably traditionally small people and claim that such half-Samoans (and quarter-Samoans) are Samoans and everyone who don’t acknowledge their full
    Samoan-ness is blinded by hate.

    • Yudi says:

      Or we could go the opposite route, by noting that self-identified Samoanness does not map well onto genetic Samoanness. Everything regarding identity is Very Complex. But what really matters is demonstrating that we’re all actually the same size, and anyone saying otherwise is evil.

      • LeoAquarius says:

        Amen to that. We need to stand firm against refuted-so-many-times pseudoscience of bigness differences along the ancestral lines.

  5. Proxima says:

    Prejudice explains the bigness of Samoans and smallness of Pygmies.

  6. Charles T says:

    Is this called sub-blogging? Blogging à clef?

  7. Space Ghost says:

    We can’t say Samoans are big unless we have observed the Samoan phenotype in all possible environments. Since this isn’t possible, we simply can’t say whether Samoans are inherently genetically big. After all, if you starve a Samoan he probably won’t become big, but good luck getting that experiment past the IRB. And finally there are some non-Samoans who are larger than some Samoans, so calling Samoans “big” is hurtful and wrong.

    • gcochran9 says:

      ” unless we have observed the Samoan phenotype in all possible environments” – in a dinosaur’s stomach, at the Sun’s core, through the valley of the Shadow.

      • adreadline says:

        Instead, we could: (one of the two suffices)

        1) Observe if the huge Samoan phenotype holds in the environment in which the ”opposite” phenotype is natively found — that is to say, the native environment of the tiny Pygmy phenotype (or vice versa);


        2) Observe if, where Samoans and Pygmies live together (both outside their native environment), the huge Samoan phenotype holds and coexists with the tiny Pygmy phenotype.

        If any of those two scenarios was already put in practice and the huge Samoan phenotype (along with the tiny Pygmy phenotype) held — as in, the average Samoan did not get any smaller (and the average Pygmy did not get any bigger) — then that’s already enough to seriously question any environmental explanation for the phenotype, at the very least.

        As long as Samoans keep mating with other Samoans and Pygmies keep mating with other Pygmies, one generation is sufficient to rule out environmental influences if no significant average size change took place.

        Note that if the entity you are arguing with already made up their mind that Samoans are huge because they eat a lot of coconuts and that therefore we all should have the right to eat as much coconut as we want and that the world will not be just until we do AND get as huge as the average Samoan, well, then you just wasted a lot of time.

        wehwehweh as I did typing this cause I don’t get satire wehwehweh

      • Smithie says:

        It is hard to observe Samoans in Flatland because you can only perceive depth as a fuzziness, and height not at all, but at least one need not fear getting hit blindly by their women.

    • BB753 says:

      Samoan bigness is a social construct.

  8. They had a bunch of them over at Camp Victory, Iraq in 2009 as part of the coalition of the billing.

    It wasn’t just that they were big, it was that they were happy. Standing guard in front of a place in summer heat and they were happy.

    Something wrong with them.

    And they don’t move like big people.

  9. Gord Marsden says:

    Happy or Halliburton?

  10. Steve Sailer says:

    From Tom Wolfe’s 1970 book “Radical Chic and Mao-Maoing the Flak Catchers:”

    “Why so few people in San Francisco know about the Samoans is a mystery. All you have to do is see a couple of those Polynesian studs walking through the Mission, minding their own business, and you won’t forget it soon. Have you ever by any chance seen professional football players in person, like on the street? The thing you notice is not just that they’re big but that they are so big, it’s weird. Everything about them is gigantic, even their heads. They’ll have a skull the size of a watermelon, with a couple of little squinty eyes and a little mouth and a couple of nose holes stuck in, and no neck at all. From the ears down, the big yoyos are just one solid welded hulk, the size of an oil burner. You get the feeling that football players come from a whole other species of human, they’re so big. Well, that will give you some idea of the Samoans, because they’re bigger. The average Samoan makes Bubba Smith of the Colts look like a shrimp. They start out at about 300 pounds and from there they just get wider. They are big huge giants. Everything about them is wide and smooth. They have big wide faces and smooth features. They’re a dark brown, with a smooth cast.”

    • josh says:

      Samoans would be to Rugby what blacks are to basketball if there were more of them.

      • Unladen Swallow says:

        Not just Samoans, Polynesians in the Commonwealth hit way above their numbers in Rugby. Tongans, Maoris, and Fijians ( More Melanesian, but considered honorary Pacific Islanders ) do very well at the two different Rugby codes. There was a documentary about it a few years ago on Netflix.

      • Grant Rickerton says:

        Nope, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact the most sucuessful rugby franchise in the world – the “canterbury crusaders” – had a Polynesian quota in the early 2000s. The Canterbury provincial team in New Zealand have won 10 titles in 12 seasons with this Polynesian quota system in place. Read about it here
        Polynesians have the highest propensity of Type IIb fast twitch muscle fibers in the world. Rugby is a sport predicated on repeated sprints, tackling, wrestling and static pushing for 80 minutes. No other sport requires such Intelligence, selflessness and teamork – attributes Polynesians are completely devoid of. Polynesians are in fact one of the last population groups in the world you would want to base a rugby team around.

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      Wolfe was wrong. San Francisco did know about Samoans in those days. I was just out of college and worked as a Social Worker for the City Welfare Department. This was the sixties and liberals in those days didn’t yet believe in all the loony equality propaganda. Social Workers in theory got the next case to come through the door irrespective of race, religion or previous condition of servitude.

      But there were some well established exceptions. There always was a Gypsy Caseload and every gypsy was on it. The department had learned from painful experience that the gypsies were too clever and manipulative for the average white bread middle class Social Worker who had been raised in the suburbs.

      Another special caseload was the Samoan caseload. I had that special caseload. I’m 6’4″ and in those days I was about 260 pounds. I was never the most compassionate or caring Social Worker in the Department – but I was the biggest.

      Most of the public Social Workers were of course young women. I got called up a lot when some male client got violent in the waiting room. There were other young strong male Social Workers but they usually lacked something in fierceness.

      I had the head of the Samoans on my caseload. At that time they met in attic the ‘Mission Rebels” building. I’m used to being the biggest guy in the room. But not that room.

    • Thersites says:

      Richard Henry Dana also wrote at length on the astonishing size of his Polynesian (Hawaiian) roommate in California, in Two Years Before the Mast:

      “My new messmate, Nicholas, was the most immense man that I had ever seen in my life… He was considerably over six feet, and of a frame so large that he might have been shown for a curiosity. But the most remarkable thing about him was his feet. They were so large that he could not find a pair of shoes in California to fit him, and was obliged to send to Oahu for a pair; and when he got them, he was compelled to wear them down at the heel. He told me once, himself, that he was wrecked in an American brig on the Goodwin Sands, and was sent up to London, to the charge of the American consul, without clothing to his back or shoes to his feet, and was obliged to go about London streets in his stocking feet three or four days, in the month of January, until the consul could have a pair of shoes made for him. His strength was in proportion to his size, and his ignorance to his strength- ‘strong as an ox, and ignorant as strong.'”

  11. athEIst says:

    such letters are traditionally sent to Pravda

    I know what you mean, but I came across a pravda about 6 years ago while web surfing. It was mostly about religion…in a positive light.

  12. James GW says:

    I played football, wrestled, fought competitively.

    Yes, Samoans are big and strong. If any study attempted to refute this hypothesis I would look for the flaw in the study and not my lying eyes.

  13. mapman says:

    Kodiak bears got really big and developed into a recognized subspecies of brown bears in just 12,000 years of isolation on Kodiak Archipelago. But we all know that nothing like this can ever happen with humans.

  14. Ghj says:

    There are multiple modes of “big” that you are conflating. There is no one phenomenon of bigness. You are conflating being big hearted, having a big ego, being awfully big of you, a bigot, big-time, or having a big name. You can not single out a univocal “big” for measurement, and thus can not claim that someone is bigger than someone else.

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