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Ethnic Epithets

Nineteenth-century newspapers often referred to members of ethnic or racial minorities by an epithet, thereby replacing individual identity with a generic term. Black male slaves were called "Pompey" or "Caesar," German men were "Hans," while Irish men were "Pat" and Irish women were "Bridget." Epithets were used frequently in combination with visual and linguistic stereotypes (e.g., physical appearance and accent) to emphasize the differences between minorities and the dominant culture, implying the alleged inferiority of the former. Common labels for Chinese immigrants were "Ah Sing," "John Chinaman," and variations of "Yellow Jack."
Source consulted:

Elaine Kim, "Asian Americans and American Popular Culture," in Dictionary of Asian American History, ed. Hyung-Chan Kim (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), pp. 99-114


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