Back in the 1950s, when our black and white TV was state of the art, all TV programs came from New York City. I remember that, in those shows, the man at the hotel desk would call for a bellhop by ringing a bell.
He would ring the bell and shout, “Boy!”
A young man or a middle aged man would quickly appear, dressed in a bell-hop’s uniform.
So we naturally assumed that was the way New Yorkers did it. In New York, a middle-aged man had no objection to being called “boy.” That’s what New York said, and there was no reason for me to disbelieve it.
I was then, as I am now, a provincial Southerner, a racist, a sexist, and my feet stink.
But never in my life have I ever seriously called a man a “boy.”
Well, I have said, “Boy” to good buddies of mine: “We’re both Southern boys.”
But the idea of seriously calling any man a boy was totally alien to me.
I was eventually informed that Southerners refer to black men as “boys.”
The South is a big place, and it must have happened somewhere. But in New York, calling a man “Boy” was the height of sophistication at a luxury hotel. They said so.
I must admit there was no racial discrimination involved, and I guess that was all that mattered.