"Rastus" < "Jazz Means Happy and Loose Like" (1917)

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Tue Dec 4 13:13:07 UTC 2007

It is my impresssion/recollection that sometime around the late 1950s, "Rastus" as the prototypical name for the black male protagonist in racist jokes started alternating with "Leroy" (pronounced with the first syllable, [li], stressed), and now he is often "Tyrone." Perhaps the changes parallel the progress of the character from the plantation to the 'hood.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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