What are the origins of your penname/username?:
This question has actually got me thinking about changing my user name (which for some reason probably having to do with BSG I persist in thinking of as my call sign.), or at least clarifying it.
Where to start? As the song goes, at the very beginning.
Years ago, Bob and I had a joke, just between the two of us, that made us happy. It wasn’t really that funny, but it fit our shared sense of the absurd.
I used to address his birthday cards to “The President of the World”, and he began referring to me as “First Kaffy”, his second in command, when he gave me a card. The use of First Kaffy and POTW spread to our emails to each other, and to spoken conversations. It became so ingrained in our thought processes that … well, ingrained.
So when I started hanging out in various online communities (first Television Without Pity boards, then Live Journal and Dreamwidth, among others) I decided to use “kaffy” and I added the “r” at the end as the first letter in my last name.
I used to pronounce it “kefeer” but I’ve done some thinking about it and I think kaffyr should actually be read as Kaffy R, and pronounced that way.
It most definitely is not an alternative spelling of kaffir, which is a horrendously offensive term used, primarily in South Africa and especially during the apartheid era, to reference black Africans in as insulting a way as possible.
I was asked if there was a connection once, and the questioner was remarkably polite about it, given the nasty meaning of that word. I said no, and that was, I thought, an end to it.
As an oblivious white woman largely blind to her own privilege at the time I first used the name and then again when I got asked that question, I made note in my head of the similarities — but did not properly apprehend how awful the similarity was. Until I started putting together my answer to this question, I was content to let it sit there and do nothing. After all it was a name that came from Bob’s and my affection, I reasoned, not a racist term.
But you know? I'm not sure I can leave it that way now. So I’ll probably change it here and elsewhere to Kaffy_R.
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