Derogatory term for black people. Similar to "nigger." Originally a shortened form of the word "raccoon," used in reference to the animal. The black eye masks and noctural habits of the animal paralleled the characteristics of typical robbers and thiefs. The stereotype was then applied to black people.
FORREST: Hi, Earl! What’s goin’ on?
EARL: Coons are tryin’ to get into school.
FORREST: Coons!? Well, raccoons try to get on our back porch, Momma just chase ’em off with a broom.
EARL: Not raccoons, you idiot, niggers. And, they want to go to school with us.
FORREST: (with much surprise) With us? They do?