This is a (presumably) mildly racist term mean to describe a low-paid member of the working class of a race other than the speaker.

In most cases, the speaker is White, and the worker is either Black or Hispanic.

Wikipedia specifies Asians:

is a term for a low-wage laborer, typically of South Asian or East Asian descent

However, I noticed it in several contexts where the target wouldn’t have been Asian.

Why I Looked It Up

I don’t remember, but I encountered the word multiple times over the course of a year. I believe all references were in “classic” novels or writings (I believe on of them was Cannery Row), that would have been penned more than 70-80 years ago. Clearly, the term has fallen out of favor since then.

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