Refining our list of descriptive search terms

To seed our search for hitherto unrecognised BAME presence, we produced a list of search terms in an early project meeting. Our first list was simply descriptive of the person or their origin:

negro, negress, mulatto, quadroon, quarteroon, fustee, mustee, dusky, nabob, anglo-indian, swarthy, blackamoor, moor, african, torrid zone.

A follow-up task was to see if we could refine or extend this list easily. However, we soon found that, as was to be expected, that many tools and resources draw on modern, especially born-digital media, only. For example, neither The Online Slang Dictionary nor Green’s Dictionary of Slang include archaic slang such as quadroon.

No doubt matters will improve over time, as more historical texts are digitised and harvested for their contents, with more tools trained on this older literature. But for our immediate needs… we’re not there yet.

Any refinement of our search terms will be through manual intervention, based on close reading of the results of previous searches.