Part 2 of my “Racial Dictionary” continues with words, both academic and inappropriate which you may come across in your research. Some of the words will be familiar; others will be from a world long forgotten. So smile, laugh, cry and be in amazement at the world of our ancestors and how they saw each other.
You will find a list of sources utilized and genealogical reviewers at the end of Part 3. To gain a full context, you will need to read the introduction to Part 1 of this blog series.
First Peoples/First Nations: A contemporary Canadian term for Native Americans.
Free Black: Sometimes referred to as “free persons of color” or “free color,”’ they were either free slaves, African Americans who were born free, or mixed-race who were bi-racial or tri-racial.
Free Issue (Free Issue Negro): A USA term for a black or mixed-race person who was free by manumission or birth. This term was common in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Free Mixture: A mixed-blood person who was not a slave.
Frog: see Bay Frog
G. and B. Indians: This USA term for tri-racial isolates in West Virginia is taken from the Grafton and Belington Railroad.
Golliwog: A predominately UK expression for people of color, especially Afro-Caribbeans. It references a late nineteenth century children’s literary character and a type of black dolls.
Greeks: A USA term used at times in North Carolina for tri-racial isolate groups.
Green Nigger: Historically used mainly in large USA cities with large Irish populations because the Irish were held in low regard as were the African Americans of the period.
Griff(e) (Griffane, Griffin): A USA term for a person having a black parent and a parent of Native American ancestry; or an alternative for the word mulatto, in Louisiana.
Gringo: A Latin American term used disparagingly against North Americans and North Europeans. While it can be used as a slur, it is not always; such as, a Mexican using it to refer to an American.
Groid: An older USA slur, a derivative of negroid.
Gub(ba): An Australian Aboriginal slur for a white person.
Guineamen: A USA slur to describe tri-racial isolates who lived in an area called Guinea Neck, Gloucester County, Virginia.
Guineas: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates in Barbour and Taylor counties, West Virginia. The name is thought to come from the district of Guinea on the Tygart River, West Virginia.
Haliwas: A USA term for tri-racial isolates in Halifax and Warren counties, North Carolina.
Hairyback: A South African slur for white Afrikaners.
Half and Half: see Half Breed
Half-Breed (Half Blood, Half Blooded): A historic North American derogatory term for anyone of mixed Native American and white parentage. The French term is Metis and the Spanish version term is Mestizo. It can also apply to someone who is part black.
Half Caste: A UK slur for anyone of mixed-race; it is often shortened to “Halfie.”
Haole: A Hawaiian USA term for non-natives, especially whites. It has different contexts and is less commonly used against non-Hawaiians.
High Yellow: A derogatory USA term for an African American of mixed-race who has African features with a light skin tone which appears yellow or golden. The phrase was popular in nineteenth and early twentieth century USA culture. An alternative term is “High Yeller.”
Hillbilly: A USA slur used for white Americans of Appalachian or Ozark ancestry. The Scots-Irish were frequently described by this term.
Honies: A USA term to describe tri-racial isolates of Slaughter Hill in the southern part of Schoharie County, New York.
Indians of the Green Swamp: see Cherokees
Injun: A historic North American offensive term used for a Native American.
Irish Tinker: Sometimes seen as just Tinker it is used in the UK and Ireland for the Irish Travellers or, more generally for a lower class person.
Issue: A USA slur historically used in Virginia counties by whites to describe tri-racial isolates or mulattos as they saw them. The “Issue” mixed-bloods were centered in Amherst County.
Jackson Whites: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates scattered in New Jersey and New York. They are located in the Ramapo Valley and adjoining Passaic, Bergen and Morris counties, New Jersey. In New York they are in Orange and Rockland counties. Today they are known as the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation.
Jim Crow: A historic USA term for a black person derived from the segregation laws which ended with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Jim Fish: A South African slur for a black person.
Jock(ie) (Jocky): A UK slur for a Scottish person, although it has been used in several contexts over the centuries. Derived from the Scottish language as a nickname for John and the English version of Jack among the English it is used as an insult.
Jukes: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates living in New York in the nineteenth century.
Lace Curtain Irish: A term for Irish immigrants who thought they were better off than their neighbors by hanging lace curtains in their windows.
Limey: This USA slur for a British person refers to the practice of giving sailors limes to prevent scurvy.
Marabou: A person with 5/8 black ancestry; the child of a mulatto and a griffe. This term is usually found in Louisiana.
Marlboro Blues: A USA description for tri-racial isolates in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.
Maroons: African slaves who escaped into the Jamaican frontier and formed their own communities.
Melungeons: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. They are also known as Ramps in Virginia.
Mestizo: A person of mixed Spanish and American Indian or European and East Indian ancestry.
Metis: A North American term referring back to the mixed-blood families of the French and other European fur traders on the North American frontier.
Mick(ey) (Mac, Mickey Fin): A historic term in the USA, the UK and the British Commonwealth for an Irish person or a person of Irish descent. In Australia, it has been used from the nineteenth century to mean a Roman Catholic.
Moors: A USA slur for several tri-racial isolates groups in Cumberland County, New Jersey and Kent County, Delaware.
Mucker: A slur used historically in Boston for Irish who found employment filling in the Back Bay which was marsh and water at the time.
Mulatto: A somewhat vague term to denote mixed-race: means bi-racial, tri-racial or more.
Mulattoes: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates of Washington, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
Munt(er): A derogatory term used by whites in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia for a black person.
Mestee (Mustee): See Octoroon
Mzungu: Used among blacks in Malawi and Eastern Zambia for a white person, although not necessarily offensive.
Nams: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates who in 1912 were living in Estabrook and Davenport, Delaware County, New York.
Negro(e): 1.) A common term to describe a person of African descent from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries. 2.) A common word figuratively used among whites to mean a slave, as in “I’ll be no man’s negro” meaning “I’ll be no man’s slave.” 3.) Variations of the word, depending on regional English accents or the ethnic group using it are Nigger, Niggra, Niggroid, Nigra, Nigrah, Nigruh among others. It may or may not be offensive depending on the context.
NINA: A term to denote “No Irish Need Apply” used in the nineteenth century in the USA when many people would not hire Irish immigrants.
Ocker: Used in Australia and New Zealand for an uncultivated Australian.
Octoroon, (Mestee, Mustee): A person who is 1/8 black and 7/8 white; the child of a white parent and a quadroon.
Okie: A slur for the massive waves of poor white and mixed-blood migrants escaping the Dust Bowl of the 1930s bound for California. Estimates are 15% of Oklahoma residents left. They were viewed as a virtual ethnic group within California’s larger white community. Their plight was popularized in John Steinbeck’s classic novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) It is still used today and depending on the context may or may not be offensive.
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