tar baby


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Related to tar baby: Uncle Remus

tar baby

n.
1. A inextricable situation or difficult and pressing problem that often grows worse as one tries to deal with it.
2. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a black person, especially a dark-skinned black child.

[After "Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby," an Uncle Remus story by Joel Chandler Harris in which Brer Fox makes a doll out of tar and Brer Rabbit gets stuck in it when he punches it after it does not return his greeting.]

tar baby

n
a troublesome situation that is made worse by attempts to extricate oneself from it
[C20: after the tar-covered doll in a story (1881) by Joel Chandler Harris]

tar′ ba`by


n.
an inextricable problem or situation.
[after the tar doll in an Uncle Remus story (1881) of J. C. Harris]
References in periodicals archive ?
We, therefore, urgently affirm our rightful and positive authority in the realm of American letters and, in this prideful context, we do raise this tribute to the author of The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, and Beloved.
Other well-known Morrison novels included "Sula," "Song of Solomon," "Tar Baby" and "Home."
In other words, A Subtlety, spectacular though it may have been, was designed to serve as a backdrop for the less subtle drama of race enacted by the audience, and captured by the online tar baby.
Bush winning the presidency in 2000, which led to the war in Iraq and the tar baby we're stuck to in the Middle East.
God Help the Child touches on the exploration and critique of American materialism and pop culture Morrison takes up in Tar Baby (1981), as well as the exploration of economies of fraught intimacy between black and white women in Beloved and Morrison's lesser-known, 1983 short story, "Recitatif." The novel also echoes the detailed portraits of black men's emotional landscapes Morrison offers in Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved, and Home.
Clearly, he views the agreement as a political tar baby and wants to keep his distance from it.
Donbas risks becoming a tar baby for which no one wants to take responsibility.
Tar Baby builds on the feminist critique of machismo by both incorporating and then clouding the folk myth; in this novel it is "primarily class that problematizes the return to the ancestor and its sustaining properties" (128).
Approach the angels to efface this blackness, another tar baby, self I am scorching.
Devoted to Song of Solomon (1977) and Tar Baby (1981), the third chapter opens with a very interesting discussion of nineteenth-century America's adaptation of the European romance form to explore fears of otherness and darkness personified by blacks.
This work delves into the novels of Nobel Prize-winning African American writer Toni Morrison: The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, and Home.
I would like to suggest an example familiar in conversations about genre, gender studies, and postcolonialism, but mostly absent from work on the unnatural, and for good reasons: the oeuvre of Toni Morrison, and more specifically Beloved (1987) and Tar Baby (1981).