In this morning’s newspaper I found a disparaging ethnic term, new to me.
pied-noir (literally ‘black foot’) – an Algerian-born French person (often disparaging)
The original genius of COIN theory, the Tunisian-French pied-noir colonel David Galula, touches on this problem in the last pages of his masterpiece, "Pacification in Algeria. 1956-1958." Galula's big idea was simple: Place small numbers of the 100 soldiers under his command in isolated villages, living among the populace. Galula's men supervised and funded the building of the area's first schools, latrines, garbage pits and street cleaning in their villages. According to Galula, the very fact that he could disperse his company so much was proof of success.
You can hear how it's pronounced at dictionary.com . You can also see the "spelled" pronunciation, as it calls it, or the IPA pronunciation. Note the term is often disparaging, but not always. See the OED entry below:
pied noir, n.
[< French pied noir stoker on a steam ship (1901), former nickname for an Algerian (1917), French person born in Algeria (1955) < pied foot (see PIED-À-TERRE n.) + noir black (see NOIR adj.). Stokers on Mediterranean steamships, often of Algerian origin, used to walk barefoot in the soot. Not fully naturalized in English.]
In France: a person of European origin living in Algeria during the period of French rule, esp. a [QUOTE]French person repatriated after Algeria was granted independence in 1962.
1961Times 6 May 9/6 They are the pieds noirs, fiercely proud of this pejorative nickname given them by the metropolitan French. 1977Time 21 Nov. 12/1 Unlike the white settlers of Rhodesia or the French pieds-noirs of Algeria, the Afrikaners have no ties to a European motherland. 2004Times (Nexis) 8 Apr. (Times2 section) 3 The war of liberation from France, which broke out 50 years ago this November and lasted until 1962 when a million pieds noirs were forced to leave.
The origin of the term Pieds-Noirs is debated. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Pied-Noir refers to "people of French origin living in Algeria during French rule, and to those who returned to Europe after the granting of independence in 1962." Le Robert cites that from 1901 the word indicated a sailor working bare foot in the coal room of a ship, who would find his feet dirtied by the soot. In the Mediterranean, this was often an Algerian native, thus the term was used pejoratively for Algerians until 1955 when it first began referring to "French born in Algeria." This usage originated from mainland French as a negative nickname.
There are other popular interpretations. At their arrivals, french officials and executives were often dressed with same clothes : white helmet, white jacket, white trousers, and black boots. Settlers, at their beginings, worked to clear lands on the south of Algiers which were swamps, of which black mud adhered to foots and legs of the workers. Settlers also often owned vineyards, and at the season of the grape harvest, they trampled it bare foot in the vat, so their feet were dark red, almost black.
Yes, I realize they both stem from the Latin, but when I said they weren't related I meant one came through French and the other through Italian. I wasn't too clear about that. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.