Recently I got into a dialog with a reader on my Alan Keyes/Obama entry about what constitutes “cooning,” nee “Tomming,” in modern culture.
I thought this was a pretty interesting question as people often fling the terms around so liberally that they apply to people or actions that should be a little more gray in their interpretation. In the past I’ve been accused of “selling out” or being “uppity” because I was critical of the celebration of the lowest end of black culture.
Also, I find the term “Uncle Tom” pretty offensive, given that if the term refers to the “Uncle Tom” of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the term has been twisted maliciously. The actual character of “Tom” did love his original master who was kind, but Tom later dies, beaten to death by slave master Simon Legree for protecting a pair of runaway slaves. Dying so others could be free is the opposite of what a so-called “sell-out” is. After I read the novel in college I stopped using the term “Uncle Tom” altogether.
That said, I’m looking for the opinions of others so I can write a column reflecting on these views. What is your definition of a “sell-out” or a “coon?” What is constitutes “cooning?” To whom and what should these labels should apply? Should these terms even be used at all? And how are those who you believe apply to those terms harming black Americans?
Do you think the terms are overused? Do you think they are justified? Do you think black Republicans and conservatives are unfairly labeled as “sell-outs” or are their views/actions tantamount to racial betrayal?
If you have an opinion, please share below or shoot me an email. Your views are appreciated!