Sambo: Historically, term was used to describe a happy black slave. Today, it is an offensive term. Do not use in copy.
Scottsboro case: In 1931, two
white women stepped from a train box car in Paint Rock, Ala., and
falsely accused nine black teenagers of rape while on the train. The
case became a cause celebre and a symbol of racism and injustice in the
South; the teenagers came to be known as the Scottsboro Nine or
Scottsboro Boys. After several retrials, worldwide protests, two Supreme
Court rulings, four of the nine were freed after six years in jail. In
1976, Gov. George Wallace pardoned all nine.
Sea Islands: Low-lying chain of
more than 100 sandy islands off the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia
and Florida, extending between the Santee and St. Johns rivers and along
the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Considered the center of Gullah
culture, the islands became home to many former slaves, similar to the
maroon colonies in Jamaica and other areas. Islands within the
boundaries of South Carolina include Parris Island, Port Royal Island
and St. Helena Island. Those within Georgia include Cumberland Island
(largest in the chain), St. Simons Island and St. Catherines Island (no
apostrophes) and Sea Island. Amelia Island is within Floridas
boundaries. (See Gullah.)
sickle cell anemia: Inherited
chronic anemia found chiefly among blacks, characterized by abnormal red
blood cells. Unlike normal red cells, which are usually smooth and
donut-shaped, sickle-shaped red cells cannot squeeze through small blood
vessels. Instead, they stack up and cause blockages that deprive organs
and tissues of oxygen-carrying blood. The disease has no cure but can
be treated with drugs and or blood transfusions.
Sister, sista: Terms used to refer
to a family member or an affectionate, respectful name for a church
member, sorority member or another black woman. Be mindful of
appropriateness in news copy. May use in quotes.
slavery: The first black African
slaves in the American colonies arrived in the early 1600s. As the
colonies grew, the demand for slave labor also increased. By 1750,
200,000 slaves lived in the colonies, the majority of them living and
working in the South. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were brought to
America during The Middle Passage and millions others died along the
way. Slaves were forced to work farms and plantations, enduring
brutality, cruelty, abuse and suffering. As injustices of slavery grew,
resistance efforts formed, including the Underground Railroad. This
secretive system of transporting slaves from safe house to safe house,
helping them escape to free states or Canada, operated for years with
Harriet Tubman, a former slave, as one of its leading figures. In 1861,
the Civil War pitted the South, which favored slavery, against the
North, which opposed it. [Several other political and economic factors
also caused the conflict.] President Abraham Lincoln issued the
Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, declaring an end to slavery.
In 1865, the 13th Amendment formally abolished slavery in the country.
(See Juneteenth, Middle Passage and Underground Railroad.)
sports stereotypes: Avoid
characterizations of black athletes as naturally being better than
athletes of other ethnic backgrounds. Such depictions are reminiscent of
slavery, when owners described their male slaves as bucks and tried to
breed them with female slaves to produce superior slaves.
Southern Cross: Confederate battle
flag used during the Civil War, which remains offensive to some black
Americans because it represents the Confederacy and the era of slavery.
The flag has a red background, with two blue stripes in a cross, and 13
white stars inside the stripes. Some have described the Southern Cross
as a proud symbol of Southern heritage. The Ku Klux Klan and other
racist hate groups have also appropriated it. According to the Southern
Poverty Law Center, more than 500 extremist groups use the Southern
Cross as one of their symbols.
soul food: Items popular
originally in the South and traditionally eaten by black people. The
cuisine originated during slavery when slaves were given leftovers or
undesirable cuts of meat by their owners, which was supplemented by
vegetables the slaves grew themselves. Today, the dishes include collard
greens, fried chicken, ham hocks, black-eyed peas, yams and cornbread.
Third World: Commonly used to
describe underdeveloped countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
These nation's and the people there are often cast as being uncivilized
or primitive. Avoid using term because of its negative connotations.
Better to say developing countries. Use in quotes only if necessary.