Americana: Beyond Greys

A white man who attended a Negro civil rights rally as a spectator might well be puzzled to hear a speaker say "Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty." The white would probably also be baffled to hear Negroes in the audience murmur "He's facking!" when the speaker made a telling point. But the Negroes present would know perfectly well that the nitty-gritty of a situation is the essentials of it, and that facking means speaking facts, telling the truth.

When U.S. Negroes talk to one an other, their speech is often marbled with expressions incomprehensible to whites. Since slavery...

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