The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97381   Message #1915629
Posted By: Azizi
21-Dec-06 - 08:30 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Who's this 'Shine' guy?
Subject: RE: Folklore: Who's this 'Shine' guy?
I want to clarify one point regarding the shoeshine explanation-
in my opinion, the referent "Shine" refers to dark skinned Black people's skin color BUT this referent was/is a play on the phrase "shoe shine" as most of the shoes that were worn in the early 20th century [or earlier] were black in color and that black color became shinier after the shoes were polished with [black] shoe paste.

I believe the connection to the name "Shine" is the association of the color & glossy shine of the polished black shoes shining and dark black skin color being so black that it shines at night.

I believe that the fact that Black men were usually the person shining shoes in public, and that White men said to them "Shine, boy" or some such statement has little or nothing to do with Shine as a usually derogatory referent for Black people.

However, I think that most African Americans who are familiar with "toasts" and with the bad guy/hero Shine * recognize the association between the name character's name and its association with the group referent Shine.

Shine was bad, and bad is good.

* Btw, I doubt very much that a large number of African Americans-particularly middle class contemporary African Americans- are familiar with the meaning of "toast" as a verbal story rhyme about a trickster who wins out at the end. I also don't think that a large number of African Americans know the character "Shine" or even know about the "Signifyin Monkey".

And this is a low down and dirty shame.