[Ads-l] [Non-DoD Source] Re: blue serge

Thu Dec 29 14:17:07 EST 2016

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> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Wilson Gray
> Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2016 5:05 AM
> Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: blue serge
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> On Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 10:34 AM, MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US) <william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil>
> wrote:
> > The Diane Rehm show reran an interview with Albert Racehoss Sample, a
> > mixed-race man who was born in 1930 in Longview TX.  He said something
> > like "My momma was married to a man named Alan Sample, but everybody
> > called him Blue.  Blue was from his complexion.  He was blue serge --
> > that's blacker than black."
> >
> Longview, Texas, was my mother's birthplace.
> "Blue[-Black]"/"[Blue-]Black" are common nicknames for a dark-complexioned person. They can also be used as greetings/terms of address
> for any random person. "Blacker-Than-Me" can be used - only in The Lou? - as a greeting/term of address, if it's a fact, then, when you call
> someone that, you chuckle. A smile is insufficient.
> As for blue serge being blacker than black, that's not true, is it? Not IMO, anyway.
> There's no correlation between complexion and so-called "blue gums." A person who has an unusually-dark complexion may have gums as
> pink as those of an albino. Or not. And an octoroon may have blue gums. Or not.
> Youneverknow.
> What was his mother's race, I wonder, if she wasn't black and a black man was *married* to her in Longview or in any place else in Texas
> and the South in 1930? Not to mention that no one with one black parent could be anything other than *absolutely* a black person
> anywhere in the United States and her territories in 1930. Few people accept the term "mixed-race"
> with respect to  black people at this very nanosecond. Interestingly, not only bleeding-heart liberals, but also some staunchly-racist
> conservatives accept the designation, "mixed-race," for the obvious political reasons.

His mother was a black prostitute, his father was white (a cotton broker, if I recall), and his mother's husband (as mentioned above) was dark skinned black.  He was light skinned and took hell from whites and blacks growing up because of that.

I meant nothing political or otherwise by using the term "mixed race"; just trying to say economically that one of his parents was black and the other white, because skin shade was relevant to the context.

The show is online:
and is fascinating as these things go.  I've never cared that much for Rehm as an interviewer, but Sample's story is gripping, and revelatory of a world that my middle-class white self just about cannot fathom.

> If the political reasons are not obvious, a couple of the more obvious are the splitting-apart of black political unity with the concomitant
> dissolution of black political power and the distortion of black history by subtracting figures ranging from Frederick Douglass through
> Barack Obama from the "black" designation and adding them into the new, "mixed-race"
> designation, twin of the former "Colored" designation used in the old Union of South Africa.

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