When not referring to a family relationship, the terms may be insensitive or offensive depending on its context. Historically, whites used the names often for any black person in servitude. Today, the names are used in the black community as terms of endearment or respect for non-family members or close family friends. Traditionally in the South, children are expected to address an adult by an honorific, Miss, Maam, Aunt, Mister, Uncle or Sir.
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REFERENCE: NABJ Style Guide