an Uncle Tom

an Uncle Tom

A derisive term for a black person who is submissive or servile to white people. The phrase refers to the titular faithful black servant in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. He was once a passionate activist, but he's become an Uncle Tom.
See also: tom, uncle
References in periodicals archive ?
One review begins: "An Uncle Tom who talked to Eva in Yiddish, and a Miss Ophelia, who snapped out "O, how shiftless" in the same strange tongue, as well as a Topsy, whose "I nebber was borned" was spoken in the language of the Ghetto, played to a small audience in Glickman's Theater last evening." (44) The reviews are dominated by a sense of the play's, and its performers', newly discovered "strangeness," described in oriental terms: Marie St.
The post Civil War household word among Negroes--"He's an Uncle Tom!" --which denoted reluctant toleration for the cringing type who knew his place before white folk, has been supplanted by a new word from another generation which says:--"Uncle Tom is dead!" (Wright, fly page) This textual act forces the reader to view the South as a land of historical continuity since the Civil War and declares as social fact that African Americans no longer respect the black man who knows his place.
Looking back at Wheatley from the vast expanse of two centuries of civil rights protest and progress, these modern day African-American critics have declared that the 18th-century prodigy was not "black enough," or worse, an Uncle Tom.
I believe that in the old world of civil rights you'd be termed an Uncle Tom. Not sure what the corollary is today: "Uncle John" crossed my mind (in honor of John Paulk), but that wouldn't be politically correct, would it?
has various opportunities to realize that white people aren't all that bad, while Milsap keeps him in line so he doesn't become an Uncle Tom. All is well in suburbia.
And who's going to call Louis Farrakhan an Uncle Tom?
"If I hadn't been an Uncle Tom, there wouldn't be what we have today," says Gaston.
Their families moved north during the 1920s, and each was derided as an Uncle Toms during the militant 1960s.