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In Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, the eponymous character was meant to be a sort of model of resistance against slavery, a man who whose "devotion to his fellow slaves is so unshakable that he sacrifices a chance for freedom and, ultimately, his life to help them".[1] Some argue that the term Uncle Tom, as it has been used for the last century, was misappropriated.

So that got me wondering if there were alternative words or phrases used to describe a black or colored person who is subservient to whites. House negro is obviously way too politically incorrect, even for Internet discussions. Aunt Jemima is too closely affiliated with the brand, which is still popular today. And Aunt Jane/Mary/Sally are not very recognizable.


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The concept you are describing is politically incorrect so, by extension, so will any term you might come up with. – terdon Sep 19 '13 at 17:50
If you want a white guy, stuck with Judas or Benedict Arnold. – Affable Geek Sep 19 '13 at 18:06
Just brainstorming here: house slave, trusty, toady, and Stakhanovite all have at least some of the right connotations. – zwol Sep 19 '13 at 22:45
I think you need to add some context here. In fiction there might be some appropriate terms, however in modern times I doubt there is a polite term for a colored person who is subservient to whites. – Lego Stormtroopr Oct 4 '13 at 0:18
@terdon you're completely correct of course; this whole subject is politically incorrect. More accurate to say that even if one's intention is to insult someone, using the term "house Negro" crosses a line that I am just not comfortable with. – uhwuggawuh Feb 26 at 0:10

The word "sellout" could be an option and can be applied to any race.

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"House servant", Still on the plantation", “Shuck and jive” (the latter in reference to demeanor of such a person.

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I think anything that explicitly highlights the race will be considered too offensive or archaic in modern use. You didn't explain why you would want to use this term, but in today's society there's no need to point out that a black person is subservient to a white person unless you are trying to be critical in some way.

If you intend to make such criticism, but avoid being too offensive, use a phrase like "he's working for The Man".

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Race Traitor, Graham Cracker, Aunt Jemima (for a woman)

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You could arguably go with "colonized," following Albert Memmi's The Colonizer and the Colonized (1956). This book has to do with racism in part, but is also about the mutual reinforcement of the colonizer/colonized roles.

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An unimaginative answer is simply, "slave."

In modern slang, the only similar term I know of is "Oreo" which is an epithet referring to a person of black skin who acts like a white person. This is slightly different than someone who is explicitly subservient to whites.

Aside from those two variants, I don't believe there is an appropriate synonym for Uncle Tom.

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Although I do not use the term, I think that "house negro" fits the description best.

@Terdon states, "The concept you are describing is politically incorrect so, by extension, so will any term you might come up with."

This is completely true, and if you are discussing this fraught topic, an educated person (white or black) will grasp exactly what you mean. It should not be viewed as offensive since the listener will automatically think of its highly offensive corollary "house n****r". Your word choice will be heard as a polite rephrasing of the term that expresses the concept even more bluntly.

Note that this answer is written from an American point of view and that this may not apply in other parts of the English speaking world and may not even apply in America to all situations.

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Listen people, I don't want to blow your mind or anything but any alternative calling someone a slave nowadays when slavery is abolished kind of feels like a jab at historical events, even the term "uncle tom" is a thousand times better to use. Also consider: A pawn, you can use that someone is being used as a pawn for a political agenda.

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