Uncle Tom

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Referring to the character in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Noun[edit]

Uncle Tom (plural Uncle Toms)

  1. (derogatory) A black man who is obsequiously servile to white authority.
    • 1985 April 1, Steven Leinen, quoting a police officer, Black Police, White Society[1], NYU Press:
      Some blacks don't want to deal with the black cop because they see him as an Uncle Tom, a person who stands by while the white cop abuses and shows disrespect toward other blacks.
    • 2014 April 2, David Remnick, King of the World: Muhammed Ali and the Rise of an American Hero[2], Knopf Doubleday:
      One of the less entertaining components of the Ali act was the way he tried to "outblack" someone like Frazier, call him an Uncle Tom, an "honorary white," when in fact Frazier had grown up dirt poor in South Carolina.
    • 2017 February 8, Burgess Everett, “Tim Scott, the lone black GOP senator, rises to Sessions' defense”, in Politico[3]:
      "You are an Uncle Tom, Scott. You're for Sessions. How does a black man turn on his own," Scott said, reading criticisms of himself on social media.

See also[edit]