[Dixielandjazz] 'Shine' the slang meaning

David Richoux tubaman at batnet.com
Tue Nov 2 17:01:41 PST 2004

    Parody and double consciousness in the language of early Black  
musical theatre
    African American Review,  Summer, 1995  by David Krasner

  The lyrics of "Shine" draw our attention to the double consciousness  
of racial identity, and parody racism through inverting the position of  
the signifier. The signifier (Walker) inverts the signified (racial  
identification; i.e., names), subverting racist signification. "Shine,"  
Richard Newman writes, "is almost a song of social protest in its  
antiracism" (479):

When I was born they christened me plain Samuel Johnson Brown, I hadn't  
grown so very big 'fore some folks in the town Had changed it 'round to  
Sambo, I was Rastus to a few Then Choc'late drop was added by some  
others that I knew

So when these clever people call me shine, or coon, or smoke, I simply  
smile, then smile some more, and vote them all a joke, I'm thinking  
just the same, what is there in a name.

On Nov 2, 2004, at 4:51 PM, David Richoux wrote:

> Don, and all,
> I was on a remote computer when I sent my last message - I was going  
> to go a bit further on the "actual lyric" question but I did not have  
> access to all of the messages and I had to get to a meeting.
>> When someone shouted, "Fellas, hey! Come on and pipe the shine!"
>> But I don't care a bit. Here's how I figure it:
> does not seem like the protagonist is scared that someone is going to  
> beat him with a pipe - the rest of the song seems to me as  more about  
> accepting conditions of being called "Sambo,"  "Rastus," or "Chocolate  
> Drop" - that was the nature of the times, a bit like "Mick," "Wop," or  
> "Yid" but not like an extreme life threatening situation.
> Do we know who Dabney/Mack/Brown were? In some ways it seems like an  
> early "Black Pride" song! Call me names but I will still be here!
> anyway, I am sure that doctoral papers in Afro-American Studies have  
> been written about this song - we just can't find them.
> Dave Richoux

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