Part 3 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.
If you have just joined this particular blog, don’t forget to study my introduction to the series in Part 1 to place these blogs into a context. I have listed the sources I utilized and genealogical reviewers who judged my accuracy at the end of this Part 3.
Paddy: A slur in the UK for the Irish dating back to the eighteenth century.
Pakeha: A Maori term for a European especially one of British Isles descent. It now means foreigner, to include all non-Maori.
Peckerwood: A historic USA term used through the mid-twentieth century by southern African Americans and upper class whites for the poor rural whites. It is still found among African Americans as a slur against whites.
Person County Indians: A USA term used to describe the tri-racial isolates of Person County on the North Carolina-Virginia border. Today they are the Sappony Tribe.
Pik(e)y (Piker): A UK term with several meanings; derived from “turnpike,” it means an Irish Traveller, Gypsy, or itinerant poor person. In the nineteenth century, it was also a general slur for the Irish.
Pommy (Pommies): A term used in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand for a South African of British Isles descent.
Pineys: A USA slur for tri-racial isolate families in Burlington County, New Jersey.
Pondshiners: see Bushwhackers
Poor White Trash: see White Trash
Pot Licker: A slur for the Irish, derived from the fact that during the Potato Famine the Irish would lick their pots to obtain the last morsel of food.
Potato Eater: A term for the Irish used by the gangs of New York City.
Potato Nigger: A USA slur for the Irish because they ate lots of potatoes.
Quadroon (Quarteron): A person with ¼ black and ¾ white ancestry. It also applies to having a white and mulatto parent.
Quinteron: A person who is 1/16 black or 15/16 white.
Ramps: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates in Western Virginia. See Melungeons
Red Bones: A USA slur for several tri-racial isolates groups in: Calcasieu, Vernon, Allen, Rapides and Beauregard parishes, Louisiana and Richland County, South Carolina. See Sabines.
Red Legs: A USA slur often seen as “Redlegs.” 1.) For tri-racial isolate families in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, which today are the Beaver Creek Indians. 2.) In Barbados as an offensive term for the islands’ labor-class whites.
Redneck: 1.) A USA slur for Southern labor class poor whites which referred to the Scots-Irish in the American South. See Redshanks. 2.) South African slang from rooinek (red-neck) to refer to an Anglo-African.
Redshanks: This insult used by both blacks and the white planter class described white slaves and indentured servants in the Colonial Americas whose limbs reddened in the sun of the southern colonies. This may be where the term “redneck” originated.
Redskin: A historic USA slur for Native Americans.
Sabines: A USA description for tri-racial isolates in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana; which name comes from the Sabine River. A historical slur was Red Bones.
Sawny (Sandy): A common name for a Scotsman.
Shant: A derogatory term for the poor Irish who lived in shacks known as shanties.
Shanty Irish: A historic USA term for poor Irish.
Shelta: In Ireland, this slur for the Travellers is derived from the Irish word meaning “The Walkers.”
Slaughters: A USA term used to describe a clan of tri-racial isolates of Slaughter Hill in the Schoharie Valley, Schoharie County, New York.
Smiling Indians: A USA term used to describe the tri-racial isolates in Orangeburg County, South Carolina known as the Beaver Creek Indians . They also were called Brass Ankles, Croatans, Mulattos, Red Legs
Smilings: A USA term for the tri-racial isolates in Robeson County, North Carolina who moved from Sumter County, South Carolina, and did not amalgamate fully with the Lumbees.
Smoked Irish(man): A nineteenth century USA term for blacks. It was a double insult for both blacks and the Irish.
Summerville Indians: A USA term for tri-racial isolates in Summerville, Berkeley County, South Carolina, now known as the Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown Indians. See Brass Ankles.
Swamp Yankee: A USA term meaning rural white Protestant farmers from Rhode Island and western Connecticut.
Tan: A derogatory term for British people used in Ireland. It is derived from the Black and Tans, the nickname for an auxiliary British Army unit deployed to Ireland in the 1920s.
Teaguelanders: A common term for Irishmen (Tea Gueland meaning Ireland).
Teapot: A nineteenth century British term for blacks.
Tinker: see Irish Tinker
Touch of the Tar Brush: A British slur for a person of predominantly white ancestry who has suspected African or Asian ancestry.
Tri-Racial Isolate: A USA term to describe families from isolated communities, who trace back into the colonial period having white, black, and Indian ancestry.
Turks: A USA slur for tri-racial isolates in Sumter County, South Carolina.
Thick Mick: A slur commonly used in England where Irish immigrants did much of the manual labor.
Wesorts: A term, first to be documented in 1896, used to describe tri-racial isolates in Charles and Prince Georges counties, Maryland.
White Nigger: (Wigger): A USA nineteenth century term for the Irish; it is still used with different meanings.
White Trash: A USA slur to denote whites (often of Scots-Irish roots) who were poor, under-educated, and historically “not quite white.” Treated as a race of their own, especially in the South, this sub-group has been the subject of popular literature for years. Another variation is “Poor White Trash.” Both variations are still in use today.
Yank(ee): A historic and current USA term used by Southerners to describe Northerners. It has been adopted and used by non-Americans to describe Americans. The term originally meant someone from New England.
Yellow Carib: A term used in St. Vincent by the colonial authorities to describe those of Carib heritage as opposed to a Black Carib.
Yellow People: A generic USA slur used to describe tri-racial isolates.
Yokel: A term used in the UK, USA, and Canada for an unrefined white person.
Zambo: A term meaning several things in the USA: 1.) The child of a mulatto and a black; 2.) A child of a Native American and a black; 3.) Three-quarters black.
SOURCES: “List of Ethnic Slurs”, www.enwikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_slurs, “List of Ethnic Slurs by Ethnicity” www.en.eikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnc_slurs_by_ethnicity, “List of Regional Nicknames”, www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regional_nicknames, “The Racial Slur Database”: www.rsdb.org, Virginia Easley DeMarce, “Very Slitly Mixt”: Tri-Racial Isolate Families of the Upper South – A Genealogical Study,” in National Genealogical Society Quarterly 80 (March 1992): 5-35: www.genpage.com/DeMarce.pdf , William Harlen Gilbert, Jr., Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States (Washington D. C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1949), Francis Grose, “1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,” www.fromoldbooks.org/Grose-VulgarTongue/, “Old Time Racial Terms & More People of Color,” www.smoot-family.us/terms.html
REVIEWERS: I would like to thank the following genealogists for reviewing these three blogs for accuracy and for providing suggestions: Jayne Davis, past president of the Franklin County, Ohio Genealogical Society, www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohfcghs ; Ann Eccles and Tom Rice with the Irish Genealogical Society International, www.irishgenealogical.org in South St. Paul, Minnesota; Leland Meitzler, publisher and blogger of www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com and www.genealogyblog.com based in Utah; Claire Smith-Burns. Library & Public Education Committees Director for the Kelowna & District Genealogical Society in Kelowna, British Columbia, www.kdgs.ca, and Bob Murray, genealogist in Belfast, Northern Ireland, www.youririsheyes.com