Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's in a nickname- "Blacky Jerry"! Is it a pejorative?

   The nickname "Blacky Jerry" was given to my father(dad) somewhere in his late teens and/or early 20's.  It referenced the fact that he could get really dark tan in the summer after spending time in the sun, the beach, decades before the invention of sunlamps, tanning beds and the like.  As I thought about writing a blog regarding his nickname I had to make sure that this nickname not be looked at as being an ethnic or racial slur, be distasteful in any way, or connote negativity.  It simply was given to my dad for reason that he would get dark tan in the summer.
   However, I totally agree with the thought processes that this name can be distasteful, can bring negative thoughts to mind, and therefore I have difficulty using it when I think of my dad and how some had nicknamed him "Blacky Jerry".  I never used it and can only image today that if it was used to describe a person what thoughts would the term or nickname bring forth.
   My "dad" as well as my "mom" taught me a great deal about right from wrong, what to say, what not to say, and countless other lessons.  The lesson that I remember most was my conversation regarding racial and ethnic slurs; what to say what not to say.  Times have changed and being politically incorrect/correct remains crucial when writing about a topic as such.
   Is the nickname "Blacky Jerry" a pejorative?  Does this nickname connote negativity or distaste?  The discussion of this particular nickname being one that was given to my dad can produce a negative thought if you don't know the entire story.
   Friends of my dad would occasionally use the nickname when asking me how my dad was doing.  There kind words about my dad usually outweighed the connotation that "Blacky Jerry" could bring forth.  I never looked at it as being a pejorative nickname.  However, in thinking about diversity, equality, and the saying "words do hurt", I would have to be awfully sensitive in using to nickname with anyone today.
    The man, my father, as my mom recently reminded me "never swore". The more I thought about it I can say I can't remember him ever "swearing" in our home. When I say never swore it was in and around our home when we were children.  For that matter I don't remember him being angry or unkind in any manner.  Dad taught me what was right from wrong and how to respect individual differences.  It's why I am who I am today.
   I just thought I'd write a brief blog to speak to the nickname and to the man that it so described but today I would say would not be a correct nickname to use.  Just my thought for the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment