Monday, December 10, 2018

C033. The Black People and the Pond

33. Why the Negro Is Black. Text Source: Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings by Joel Chandler Harris. Online at Project Gutenberg. I have removed the frame material and standardized the spelling; click here for the original spelling plus all notes to the story.


To be sure the palm of my hands white, and, when it come to that, there was a time when all the white folks was black—blacker than me, 'cause I done been here so long that I been sort of bleach out.

Yes sir. Folks don't know what been yet, let alone what going to be. Black folks is black folks now, but the time was when we was all black folks together. Way back yonger. In them times we was all of us black; we was all black folks together, and according to all the accounts what I hears folks was getting along about as well in them days as they is now.

But after awhile the news come that there was a pond of water somewheres in the neighborhood, which if they'd get into they'd be wash off nice and white, and then one of 'em, he find the place and make a splunge into the pond, and come out white as a town gal.

And then, bless gracious! When the folks seed it, they make a break for the pond, and them what was the supplest, they got in first and they come out white; and them what was the next supplest, they got in next, and they come out mulattos; and there was such a crowd of them that they mighty nigh use the water up, which when them others come long, the most they could do was to paddle about with their foots and dabble in it with their hands. Them was the black folks, and down to this day they ain't no white about a black man excepting the palms of their hands and the soles of their foot.

The Indian and the Chinese got to be accounted along with the mulatto. I ain't seed no Chinese that I knows of, but they tells me they are sort of 'twixt a brown and a brindle. They are all mulattos. Them what get to the pond time enough for to get their head in the water, the water it unkink their hair. It pleased to be that a-way.

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