Lesson 053: Dangers of nicknames
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 3/21 ('Hollow Pursuits')


Wesley, in a casual conversation with fellow workers and Data and LaForge, refers to fellow worker Barclay (who is not present at the table) as 'Broccoli'.

When Data asks why Barclay is being referred to clandestinely as a vegetable, Wesley laughs and says it is a nickname used as a joke. Data says nicknames are defined as generally denoting fondness and something shared between friends; however, that it does not appear to be so in this instance.

Recognizing Data's clear explanation of the insulting nature and impact of the nickname, LaForge immediately orders everyone to stop using that nickname ever again.


Admittedly, at one point or another, in each of our lives, we have either witnessed, or been the architect of, or a collaborator of, or been the victim of such comments. While this may be a matter easily laughed off and dismissed by many, for others, the end results can be very scarring and sometimes quite tragic.

It is the responsibility of everyone to come to the support of those maligned by such remarks. Managers and teachers, in particular, must take quick and effective measures to stop all ridicule or belittling comments against other staff, management, students and teachers, respectively.

While at first such name calling may produce an air of levity, it may quickly spread through out the locality through gossip and rumors.

If the negative comments ridicule a religion, political party, foreign culture, ethnic group, or such, then the problem is group-targeted and may cause wide-spread dissension, but, it reflects more on the bigotry of the one making the comments than anything else.

However, the problems are far more insidious and harmful, when the negative name calling is directed at any one individual.

In this instance, only one person is targeted with the insults and, unable to confront the masses alone, the victim will feel insecure and begin to withdraw from the group and perhaps even from society as a whole. We have all either seen or experienced this situation personally in our school lives.

Yes, name calling is definitely a form of bullying.

We are all too aware of the consequences of such actions. The victim will either resign themselves to accepting the demeaning attitudes of others, forming self-induced inferiority complexes and sinking into some form of depression, resulting maybe even in suicide; or as we have seen far too often on the news, the victim will retaliate in full force upon his peers and any innocent victims that happen to fall in their line of sight with gunfire.

All managers and teachers must follow the LaForge line of action and immediately confront and eliminate all such name calling and bullying situations at the first sign.

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