Miss Ann, Mr. Charlie & Uncle Tom

Materials: crackers, Oreo cookies, small lights, museum board platform
Size: base platform - 34X70", house - 14hx16wx15d"
Date: 1999

Definitions:

Miss Ann - a noun. 1. A woman of European descent who runs a household which employs female workers of African descent to perform tasks such as cooking, cleaning, ironing etc. These tasks are usually household but are not confined to that category in all cases. 2. As in; " I gotta go clean Miss Ann's house" or "She think she a Miss Ann".

This term is also closely related linguistically by the use of the prefix "mis" to terms such as; mistress, misname, misfortune, misquote, misbehave, etc. Although not strictly related linguistically, it is also related thematically and phonetically to the word miscegenation.

Mister Charlie - a noun. 1. A man of European descent who runs a business which employs male workers of African descent to perform tasks such as building, hauling, farming, etc. These tasks are usually menial but are not confined to that category in all cases. 2. As in "Mister Charlie is comin' today" or " He ain't nothin' but a Mister Charlie". The phrase is sometimes used without the title Mister as in "Here come Charlie".

This term is also closely related linguistically by the use of the prefix "mis" to terms such as mistreat, misfortune, miscalculate, misjudge, etc. Although not strictly related linguistically, it is also related thematically and phonetically to the word miscegenation.

Uncle Tom - a noun. 1. A man of African descent who works for a man of European descent and defers to the man in all matters to the detriment of his own well being. While viewed as smiling from a frontal profile, an interior view reveals deep rage and sorrow. 2. As in "Uncle Tom ain't feelin' well today" or "He's an Uncle Tom". The phrase is sometimes used without the title Uncle as in "Here come Tom" or as a verb in "He's tomming".

Although only marginally related linguistically, this term can be associated connotatively with other terms such as tomfoolery, tomcat, tomboy and tomb.

All of the above terms can be used with affection or derision depending upon the speaker and her/his ethnic origin, the person to whom the term is referring, and the time of day.

Although these terms were originally used in the South during legalized slavery, they have retained their usage in present time. The context and usage of the terms is generally bound by gender, class and ethnic distinctions although the meanings migrate freely at times as in this art piece.

Stephanie Anne Johnson

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