Author Archives: Kahniley Sangare

Joke/Riddle/Blason Populaire

Question: “How do you hide something from a black person?”

Answer: “Put it in a book.”

Subject’s Analysis:

“It’s funny and embarrassing because it’s true to the stereotypical extent. I learned this joke watching a movie, I think. It was when I was in my teens, I believe it was a progressive movie, like a satire. I don’t feel comfortable repeating it around other races or demographic, most black people don’t.”

Collector’s Analysis:

Being a member of the African American community, I have mixed feelings about this entry. I feel that it is untrue of me, however, I know of others who do not read frequently if at all. As we discussed in class though, jokes like this can become a self fulfilling prophecy. The more that people joke about blacks being uneducated and illiterate, the more that the community will feel that it is okay to be such. So while I felt that this joke was slightly humorous, overall I don’t think that it is very funny, it is supposed to have that effect for black people I think. If Jeremiah saw it in a conscious movie, then it was intended to illicit shame from blacks who were watching, and possibly encourage change.


“The Kitchen”

“If you’re black and have hair on the back of your neck that is not properly cared for it becomes knotted an tangled. The terminology for this is ‘the kitchen’. I heard this from my mother at a young age when she was doing my older sister’s hair. I think that it’s stupid, personally.”

Subject’s Analysis:

Bryson said this with a tone of cynicism in his voice. He seemed to be somewhat annoyed with the terminology. I think this is because of the fact that he doesn’t have long hair on the back of his neck, and thus he doesn’t have to worry about “the kitchen”. He learned this term while growing up in Sacramento as a child, and when asked what he thinks of it, he replied, “I think that it’s stupid, personally.”

Collector’s Analysis:

I feel that he is simply disgruntled by the fact that people have come up for a term for the hair on black peoples necks, and the fact that it may have connotations to other words such as “nappy” that draw attention to what may be seen as flaws with the African- American physique. In addition I think that the word is meant for exclusive use amongst African-Americans because they are the folk that it applies to. Therefore people outside of the group will not know what it means, nor will they use it.  As well I feel that “the kitchen” is simply a new age euphemism that in this case replaces the word nappy in the African-American vocabulary. What I am confused about it the reason why the hair would be called “the kitchen” because its similarities to an actual kitchen are very sparse.

Folk Medicine – Belize

Limes for Body Odor

“In order to get rid of armpit body odor, you use warmed lime juice. Take a lime, cut it in half, heat it up face down in a frying pan until it sizzles. When the face of the lime has browned a little, rub it under your armpits, then shower, and it gets rid of unpleasant body odor.”

Subject’s Analysis:

Suzanne dictated this entry to me with a straight face. She told me very calmly that this was a serious folk remedy for removal of body odor. She noted that this was specifically the type of body odor that was not easily removed by deodorant, or simple showering. She suggested that by taking this lime and applying it, you could eradicate strong body odor. This was a Belizean remedy that she learned during her childhood, at age 10 or 11. She was taught this process by her mother.  She said that she has tried it and it has worked.

Collector’s Analysis:

I think that this folk remedy sounds very reasonable. I believe that this remedy might work. However, what makes it folk medicine is that this claim has yet to be scientifically proven even though it is confirmed by some who have tried it. What makes this method even more believable is the fact that lime scented cleaners are commonplace in the world today, suggesting that somewhere along the line the power of lime to neutralize odors was revealed as a truth. This is also feasible because if the fact that limes have a strong fresh scent that would be able to mask body odor if not eliminate it,, when paired with a good shower.

What makes this claim unbelievable is that in order for the remedy to work, the subject must take a shower after using the lime to get rid of the body odor. So this brings into question whether the lime has any effect at all or if the shower is the determining factor of the treatment.

Recipe – Jamaican

Rice and Peas


1 cup dried beans (red or kidney beans)

1 lb. rice (brown or white based on preference)

1 onion (yellow)

1 teaspoon of salt

1 can of cocoanut milk

1 stick of dried thyme

“Soak the dried beans preferably overnight or for a couple of hours. Throw away the water. Put the beans in a pot, and add cold water to them. Then cover the pot, and bring the water to a boil. Add cocoanut milk to the beans. Cook the beans until they become tender. Slice the onions into quarters and add into the pot along with the salt and the dried thyme. Add the dry rice as well. There should be enough water to cover the rice half way. To check the water level, you can put your finger in the pot and the water should be up to your second joint. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover the pot, and let it simmer until the water has evaporated. Check the rice, if it’s still hard you can add a little bit more water and let it cook longer.”

This dish is usually served with meat or fish.

Subject’s Analysis:

“It’s an old favorite Jamaican dish. My mother taught me how to make it, when I was young. This is a meal that can be used on a daily basis. In the old days people cooked it for Sunday dinner.”

Collector’s Analysis:

I have had this meal several times, and it is simply delicious. In addition it can be served with many side dishes, and is relatively easy to make. This dish is not only a Jamican thing, I have eaten very similar foods in the homes of Caribbean friends of mine. My grandmother noted that the dish used to be prepared for Sunday dinners, and this was because of the fact that Sunday is the Sabbath, and in traditional Christian fait this is supposed to be a day of peace and leisure. What better way to relax, than to eat a large tasty meal? While this dish is prepared sometimes for Sunday dinner, the dish is also very popular for family gatherings, and is almost always served at Caribbean parties.


“If there is a skunk in a room and a man walks in, and they both come out, who would come out smelling like who?”

Subject’s Analysis:

“It’s a riddle that I learned from my grandfather. He repeated it a lot during childhood. The riddle goes, ‘If there is a skunk in a room and a man walks in, and they both come out, who would come out smelling like whom?’ The obvious answer is that the man would smell like the skunk. It correlates to a verse in second Corinthians in the Bible. It means that associations ruin useful habits. What he was trying to get at was that if you are associating with people who don’t have good habits, or who believe in something that is different from your beliefs, then it can undo your understanding of right and wrong.”

Collector’s Analysis:

I’m not sure about the correlation to Corinthians in the bible, as the subject was unable to locate the exact verse. However, in essence the proverb is essentially about the company that you keep can have a strong influence. This says that if you are in bad company then bad company will have a poor  affect on you. While I understand that because she has heard the story firsthand it has special meaning to her, I don’t see where she extracted some of the meaning from. I feel that the meaning may be more general than she is making it.