Hi folks,
Recently I had a chat with an American parish priest living in California, but born and brought up in Chicago countryside. Intrigued by the scarceness of my name "Shine" in the US, he asked me if I knew what it meant to a black person. I said, "no". Well, I was astonished to hear him say that, among other meanings, the word "Shine" was also a disparaging term for a Black person.
I never thought the name "Shine" had such a black side! To my dismay, the dictionary.com testifies it, though it comes only as the eighth sense:
Shine
n.

1. Brightness from a source of light; radiance.
2. Brightness from reflected light; luster.
3. A shoeshine.
4. Excellence in quality or appearance; splendor.
5. Fair weather: rain or shine.
6. shines Informal. Pranks or tricks.
7. Slang. Whiskey; moonshine.
8. Offensive Slang. Used as a disparaging term for a Black person.

Given the fact that I am not a black, is it strange for someone to call me "Shine", when s/he already knows it as a disparaging term for a black?
Any comments about my name?
Love,
Shine.
I appreciate any spelling, grammatical or punctuational corrections by you in my post.
1 2 3 4
Shine filted:
Recently I had a chat with an American parish priest living in California, but born and brought up in Chicago ... to hear him say that, among other meanings, the word "Shine" was also a disparaging term for a Black person.

It's a fairly rare usage, and is probably more so today than it was in the past...for one thing, we're supposed to be more "sensitive" about things like that, and for another, there are vanishingly few people of any race in the shoe-shining profession these days (I once had one offer to brighten my Adidas, which should give some indication of how scarce the work is)..

That said, I have encountered this sense of the word once before, when someone mentioned that Stephen King originally wanted to use "The Shine" as the title of his story of a man who goes insane in an isolated Colorado resort...both the original title and the modified version that got out refer to the boy's gift of being able to see ghosts, a gift he shares with the old caretaker, but since the caretaker is Black, King's agent thought there might be misunderstandings..r
Shine filted:

Recently I had a chat with an American parish priest ... "Shine" was also a disparaging term for a Black person.

It's a fairly rare usage, and is probably more so today than it was in the past...for one thing, we're ... ghosts, a gift he shares with the old caretaker, butsince the caretaker is Black, King's agent thought there might bemisunderstandings..r

The Steven King book and movie is The Shining . "Shine", a song by the Mills Brothers decades ago, refers to the perjorative usage.

Mark in Stumptown.
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Shine filted:

Recently I had a chat with an American parish priest ... "Shine" was also a disparaging term for a Black person.

It's a fairly rare usage, and is probably more so today than it was in the past...for one thing, we're ... (I once had one offer to brighten my Adidas, which should give some indication of how scarce the work is)..

You think that's the source of it? I dunno. Black complexions seem to reflect, or shine, more than lighter complexions. It's easier to envisage a shiny black face than a shiny white face.

I wouldn't bet either way, though.
Mark in Stumptown filted:

The book was published as "The Shining" because Mr King took the advice of his agent and changed it from the title he originally intended..

It is possible to understand a title as meaning something completely unrelated to what the work's creator intended...I know of two glaring examples where I did just that:
(1) Michael Nesmith's experimental video album "Elephant Parts"...I took it as referring to the poem "The Blind Men and the Elephant" by John Godfrey Saxe, and implying that the video was made up of pieces none of which gave an accurate picture of the whole...I later discovered that Nez wanted to call attention to ivory poaching..
(2) Sting's album "The Dream of the Blue Turtles"...I thought it had to do with the story of Urashima Taro, in which Japan's version of Rip Van Winkle is taken to an undersea kingdom on the back of a blue turtle, returning home after what he thinks is a short time to find that many years have passed...Sting made it clear in an interview that he had something else altogether in mind, although I still don't understand quite what that something else was..

Others point to John Landis's film "An American Werewolf in London", which had no connection to a certain Warren Zevon song...that didn't stop everyone who heard the name of the project from assuming that the song was the basis for the movie..r
Shine filted: It's a fairly rare usage ... (and) there are vanishingly few people of any race in the shoe-shining profession these days ...

You think that's the source of it? I dunno. Black complexions seem to reflect, or shine, more than lighter complexions. It's easier to envisage a shiny black face than a shiny white face. I wouldn't bet either way, though.

I would take this bet. In Philadelphia where I grew up this was a fairly common racist appellation and there was never any question what the speaker meant. The connotation was clearly "shoe shine" related.

Good luck and good sailing.
s/v Kerry Deare of Barnegat
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You think that's the source of it? I dunno. Black ... a shiny white face. I wouldn't bet either way, though.

I would take this bet. In Philadelphia where I grew up this was a fairly common racist appellation and there was never any question what the speaker meant. The connotation was clearly "shoe shine" related.

I'm not defending either source. Someone that dates first appearances might shine some light on this. How early in our history were shoe shine "boys" on the streets of America compared to how long black people were seen in America?
Hi folks, Recently I had a chat with an American parish priest living in California, but born and brought up ... name "Shine" had such a black side! To mydismay, the dictionary.com testifies it, though it comes only as theeighth sense:

(snip defs)
Any comments about my name?

Are you talking about your first name? I ask because the surname "Shine" is somewhat uncommon but hardly unknown in the US. (I have relatives whose last name is "Shine.")
And is it your "real" name appearing on your birth certificate or some other official paper? Just curious.
Maria Conlon
(snip discussion of "shine" as racial term)
I would take this bet. In Philadelphia where I grew ... the speaker meant. The connotation was clearly "shoe shine" related.

I'm not defending either source. Someone that dates first appearances might shine some light on this. How early in our history were shoe shine "boys" on the streets of America compared to how long black people were seen in America?

That's a tough profession to date the history of. "Shoeshine" is in a few dictionaries but not one of the ones that gives dates. The DAE has only "shoe shining parlor," "shoe-shine parlor," and "shoe parlor", all meaning "a place where shoes are shined or blacked." First citation, 1898, about an establishment in Kansas City.
The "Making of America" site (approx 1850-1930) has 65 hits for "shoe-shine." I looked at two the 1915 book was specifically about the "colored" people of New York; the 1924 book mentioned how the Greeks of New York had taken over the shoe-shine parlors and stands from the Italians.
Well, as I say, it's a tough one to find much history on.

Date: 1817
one who shines shoes
Anyway, I think the comparison you need is to how long "shine" has been considered an insult, not how long blacks have been in America (which of course is a very long time).

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