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Q:

What is the origin for the word peckerwood?

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Peckerwood (or simply Wood) is a pejorative slang term coined in the 19th century by southern Black Americans to describe poor whites. Blacks saw blackbirds as a symbol of themselves, and the woodpecker as a representation of working class whites. They considered them loud and troublesome like the bird, often with red hair similar to the bird's red plumes. This word is still widely used by southern blacks to refer to southern whites. In the 1940s, the abbreviated version "wood" entered California prison slang, originally meaning an Okie; but in about 1970 it became applied to white inmates as a whole, regardless of background. This has caused the symbol of the woodpecker to be used by white power skinheads. Many white supremacists identify themselves as peckerwoods, with women referred to as featherwoods. It is usually drawn with a long beak, sometimes drawn to resemble Woody Woodpecker. Sometimes the letters "PW" or "APW" (Peckerwood and American Peckerwood) is used. The peckerwood ... more
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