A Coonass is a Cajun, or a person from Cajun descendance.
Cajuns are a group of people who descend from French colonists in America, and were exiled from Acadia in the late 1700’s.
A middle-class Cajun will most likely be proud of the name and will in many cases use it about one another.
However, a high-class, more wealthy Cajun will usually view it as a derogatory insult – an ethnic slur, even when used by other Cajuns.
Origin of the term
Many Americans believe that the slang is derived from “racoon ass”, but this is false.
It is unclear exactly where Coonass comes from. Here are the most believed origins:
- “Coonass” refers to the Cajun’s earlier habits of eating raccoons.
- The Cajun’s racoon skin hats in the Battle of New Orleans and the Revolutionary war.
- A derogatory term indicating that Cajun’s social status is lower than the status of the black community, whose racial slur is “coons”. Hence, a coons “ass” is below the coon itself.
And the most likely one:
- Coonass is derived from the French word “connasse”, which means “dirty prostitute”. It was picked up by Cajun’s serving in France during World War II.
Spread of the term
The term is still used in areas with a significant Cajun population, however, it’s acceptability varies.
How a Cajun views the name most often depends on their social and economical status.