Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 14 05:51:55 UTC 2008

"'Pinktoes,'" Chester Himes said, "is a term of indulgent affection
applied to white women by Negro men, and sometimes, conversely, by
Negro women to white men, ..."

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang of 2005, this term
means, "A light-skinned Black woman; a White girl[sic]," dates from
[ca.?]1942 and it gives a quote using the term from Himes dated 1965.
However, Himes published a novel entitled _Pinktoes_ in 1961. Are not
titles valid as cites?

Just wondering.

FWIW, had I not read Himes's novel, I would be completely unfamiliar
with this term. indeed, if it wasn't for the ODMS dating of 1942, I
would have bet money that Himes invented the term. I've never heard it
and I've read it only in material by or about Himes.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
                                              -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society -

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