Heard on Springer: "_Head bitch in charge_"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 20 20:05:23 UTC 2009

Spoken by twenty-ish, white woman:

"*I'm* the _head bitch in charge_ [of stripping] and [other strippers]
should respect that!"

This appears to be an obvious modification of the old

"Head _nigger_ in charge"

Back in the day, a half-century a more ago, this phrase was used in BE
only ironically and only of *others*. Leroy (his real name) was the
maitre d' of the Jewish country club ("white" CC's didn't use colored
people) in Los Angeles. It was said of Leroy that, though he was chief
of service human resources, nevertheless, "he didn't straighten up" -
he displayed only servile body language - during the whole time that
he was at work. He was a for-real "head nigger in charge."

No one would say that of himself without making it *very* clear that
he was being facetious. It was also the case that the term was usually
spoken as "HNIC."

Back During The War, before the invention of the vastly more sanitary
trash bag/garbage bag, in Saint Louis, there were only "garbage cans,"
which were the very same thing as the military's "shit cans," though
they were sometimes smaller. White men drove the trucks. Black men
handled the garbage. Needless to say, unlike the military shit cans,
which were emptied and cleaned *at least* once a day, garbage cans
were never cleaned and were used until the bottom had rusted
completely out. Only black garbage men emptied them, a dirty, filthy,
stinking job. The HNIC of the garbage men would never even speak of
his job, let alone announce it publicly as worthy of respect, even
though, of course, it was. But it was truly disgusting - a garbage
truck could be smelled from blocks away. Hence, it was a "nigger" job.
No white man, no matter how desperate, would even been allowed by the
local civil service to apply for it.

Oddly, it was "head nigger on duty"/"HNOD" that was used in Saint
Louis. I didn't come across "HNIC" until after I had moved away. And,
of course, elsewhere, no one had ever heard "HNOD."

IAC, I was startled to hear the very similar phase spoken both in
public and with pride. But, as I've noted before, black slang tends to
become meliorated, once that it jumps the color bar. And, of course,
Springer's is a "reality" show, not real life. If his "guests" weren't
odd in some way, he'd be out of business.

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.
–Mark Twain

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

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