Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Meaning of the Word, "boy"

Webster's definition reads like this:

1. A youthful male person; "the baby was a boy"; "she made the boy brush his teeth every night"; "most soldiers are only boys in uniform".
2. A friendly informal reference to a grown man; "he likes to play golf with the boys".
3. A male human offspring; "their son became a famous judge"; "his boy is taller than he is".
4. Offensive term for Black man; "get out of my way boy".

In Monday night's football game between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens (won by New England, 27-24), a small harmless three-letter word made national headlines. Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle has accused an NFL referee, head lineman Phil McKinnely , of using ........the "b" word in an exchange between the two.
Rolle told the Baltimore Sun that McKinnely repeatedly called him "boy."
"The refs called me a boy," Rolle said after Monday's game. "No. 110 (McKinnely) called me a boy. I will be calling my agent in the morning and sending my complaint."
"I have a wife and three kids," Rolle added. "Don't call me a boy. Don't call me a boy on the field because I said, 'You've never played the game before.'''
Actually, McKinnely played 7 seasons in the NFL.......but let's stick with this "boy" stuff.

In the Military there is a side boy, soldier boy, fly-boy, dough boy, drummer boy and ship's boy.

There are.......houseboys, bellboys, busboys, cabin boys, cabana boys, hall boys, kitchen boys and link boys.

Then .....you have.....altar boy and choir boy. There is the cowboy........best boy, office boy, copy boy , delivery boy, paperboy, pizza boy , errand boy, messenger boy and ball boy. We also have boy bands, boy scouts........we even have "boyz in the hood".

But..........It's when that little three-letter word is used as a singular noun to describe a black man when it gets to be a slur against that individual. In the South, after reconstruction and well into the 1970's, grown black men were often referred to as "boys" by members of the white law enforcement establishment. "Where 'yall boys goin'?" "He's a pretty good 'boy' ".

"Boy"........has long been a disrespectful and degrading term in the black community. It's just amazing it took 2 black men .....on Monday Night Football.....to bring it to light. Growing up , when someone called myself of one of my brothers a "boy" , we had a simple reply, " 'Boy' plays on Tarzan, Cheetah split......call me mister.......or .........don't call me shit".


  1. You forgot.....posterboy, golden boy , stockboy and lover boy.

  2. In the UK they call all their sports players "boy" whether they're white or black. I just saw the Rangers coach call Damarcus Beasley "boy" in a press conference.

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