When I arrived at the Home for Retired Racial Stereotypes, the Kingfish and his lawyer, Algonquin J. Calhoun, were huddled in a corner, whispering to each other in conspiratorial tones.
"What are those two cooking up?" I asked my friend Buckwheat, the famous Our Gang character.
"Here I is, Brother White," Buckwheat squeaked. "And what those two are cooking up is an intellectual-property lawsuit."
"An intellectual-property lawsuit?" I replied incredulously. "What intellectual property do those two scoundrels from The Amos 'n' Andy Show have that could possibly be of any value?"
"Well, for one thing, there's Kingfish's unique way with words," Buckwheat responded. "There's nobody who can torture Standard English into Ebonical phraseology like he can! Like turning 'typographical' into 'typogiraffical'! Or that time when he examined Andy's eyes and told him he saw 'a tear duck' swimming by. The man's a master of malapropism, and he deserves to profit from it! It's what made him a star."
"I never looked at it that way," I said.
"It's about time you gave him credit for genius," Buckwheat huffed. "Anyway, somebody has been moving in on his linguistic turf, and he wants Calhoun to go to court right away and stop it! It's already cost him a job!"
"Really?" I demanded.
"Yep," said Buckwheat. "Remember when the Drug Enforcement Agency people started looking for some folks to translate Ebonics into Standard English so they could understand what some black drug dealers they were wiretapping were saying? Kingfish applied, but they turned him down for a better-qualified candidate."
"Is that so?" I asked.
"What word was that?" I asked.
"Refudiate! R-E-F-U-D-I-A-T-E! Refudiate!" shouted Buckwheat. "Don't you read the papers?"
"But wasn't it Sarah Palin, the Alaskan politician and Tea Party favorite, who said that?" I asked.
Apparently overhearing my query, lawyer Calhoun leaped to his feet and began to rant in his best courtroom voice. "Yes, you have accurately identified the perpetrator of this underhanded linguistic theft, Sarah Palin," the short-statured lawyer admonished, raising a fist in the air to underscore his point.
"She is also the one who falsely and unfairly beat him out of the translating job at the DEA. She's guilty of plagiarism, character assassination and violating the First, Fifth, 13th and 19th amendments, the copyright and trademark laws, the interstate-commerce clause and the statute of imitations! We demand justice!"
"That's right," the Kingfish chimed in. "We want her to make a public apology and promise to never talk like an Amos 'n' Andy character again."
"In other words," I said, "you want her to refudiate herself."
The Kingfish broke into a smile. "Holy mak'rul, Brudder White," he uttered. "I couldn't have put it better myself."
Jack White is a regular contributor to The Root.
is a former columnist for TIME magazine and a regular contributor to The Root.