Thursday, June 28, 2018

Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?

One of my coffee drinking buddies is a wizened little peanut of an old man who grew up on a farm near Union City, Tennessee at the north end of the Mississippi Delta.

They grew cotton.

I asked Frank, "What was the racial composition of the people who picked cotton?  Was it just black people?"

After thinking a bit, he figured "Nope.  It weren't all black people. It was about 50:50 white people and negros."

I pressed onward.  "So you would not automatically assume that if somebody referred to 'cotton-pickin' that they were calling you a black person?"

"Nope."  Frank said.  "It just meant that your back hurt and you were sunburned and maybe just a little bit delusional because of dehydration, but there was nothing 'racial' about picking cotton."

And now you know.

1 comment:

  1. If you are of Southern extraction the phrase "out of you cotton-picking mind" means "Are you crazy/nut?" or "You have lost your mind(crazy/nuts)"

    Same way with 'nigger riggin' or 'nigger toes' now referred to as 'southern engineering' and 'Brazil nuts', respectively. When we were told it was inappropriate to use those terms; the black folks I knew, were as confused as us white folks.


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