View Full Version : Racial Slur
10-01-2002, 10:41 AM
So I just started watching the third season of "The Sopranos" on VHS. Early in the season, in the first or second episode, Tony meets Meadow's friend Noah, who's half-black and half-Jewish. In that episode and in one or more that follow, he (and later Jackie Jr.) refer to Noah using what I assume is some sort of racial slur, but one that I've never heard before, or if I have heard it, it's been pronounced differently (which is entirely possible, we're talking about a guy who pronounces "capicola" (sp.?) as "gabbagool").
The term that's used sounds something like "moolnier" or "molinar" or "mulinar" or something like that. Given the fact that the object of the slur is half-black, I'm assuming that what they're saying is related to "mulatto", itself usually considered a slur. Can somebody tell me what these guys are saying?
10-01-2002, 11:44 AM
could it be this (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/member.php?action=getinfo&userid=2646)?
10-01-2002, 12:59 PM
Tony Soprano using racial slurs? Well I never! I remember when the whole family, kids, grandparents and all could gather round the television to enjoy The Sopranos....
Anyway, while I'm sure someone more fluent in Italian will know this one straight away, all I could come up with is:
Moolie (short for Melanzane- literally, "eggplant")- a racial slur referring to black people
Maybe they combined that with-
Morta Cristo (I think everyone can figure that one out) referring to Jewish people
Aah, the romance languages...
10-01-2002, 01:03 PM
According to the Racial Slur Data Base (http://rsdb.fuck.org/), Tony Soprano called Noah "butterhead" (I can't imagine why); some slurs beginning with "M": mandingo (black), milano (like the cookie--mixed race), mullato (mixed race)
"Mullato" is considered a racial slur now? Please don't tell me!!!
10-01-2002, 01:20 PM
Yes, the reference was to the Italian translation for Eggplant. However it's spelled. I'll take a stab phonetically - Mulanyan!!!!! Or Moolly. Meaning, Eggplant
10-01-2002, 01:21 PM
I am not sure what the spelling is, nor the history of the slur, but the word is Moulinaun (MOO-lin-yawn). My backwards thinking grandmother used to use it all the time, and I had no idea what it meant until later in life. It is not a word you would hear outside the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast.
10-01-2002, 05:35 PM
My night foreman way back in the day (he was in his late 40s when I knew him in the 80s) used the term "mull-yone" to refer to black people. I never heard anyone else use the word.
And yes, I worked with a bunch of red-neck bigots.
11811, formerly Chrome Spot
10-01-2002, 10:06 PM
"Mullato" is considered a racial slur now? Please don't tell me!!!At the risk of a whoooosh: Mulatto literally mans "little mule" and is considered either an insult or an "ignoarant" usage.
10-02-2002, 10:55 PM
I'm sure we've done this before. Search on "mullion" or "mulenyam."
Lighter cites it first in print as "mullion" as expressed by Jim Brosnan, a(white) major league BB pitcher who wrote a great book in 1959. He related that "I first heard it this spring over at St. Louis. Every colored player in the league seems to be using it this year....But what does it mean?" "...Like, not pretty. You know. Ugly, you might say."
The term as spelled mulenyam or a variant appears in print only in 1967. It indeed is from the Italian "eggplant." And it was a derogatory reference to a Black.
I have no doubt that it was a common epithet in the Italian community in some locals back into the 1950's. Perhaps St. Louis? Ask Joe Garagiola.
10-03-2002, 01:10 AM
In Buffalo, it's still a common slur ... "moolie" and "moolignon" are both heard to this day. "I park my Monte Carlo across two spaces 'cause I don't want no moolignons dentin' it."
In upstate New York, there are certain ethnic groups that traditionally haven't gotten along well. Relations between Italian-Americans and African-Americans have traditionally been anything but friendly.
10-03-2002, 07:27 AM
When I was growing up in Italian-American Cleveland, the dialectal form I heard was melangiani, pronounced "Melon Johnny." The Standard Italian form of the word for eggplant is melanzane.
It's an alteration (influenced by the unrelated Greek word for black, melanos) of a word meaning eggplant that came from India, Sanskrit vatingana, originally from a Dravidian language (for example, Malayalam valutina, Kannada badane) which became bādinjān in Persian, brinjela in Portuguese, aubergine in French. The shift of v > b and b > m is well-known in linguistics.
I always thought this was the origin of the mysterious term Melungeon (a mysterious dark-skinned people of the South).
10-03-2002, 04:34 PM
Thanks guys. I never would have guessed "eggplant," but the words do sound vaguely similar.
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