What’s In a Name?
       The novel I’m working on is named COAL, named after
the protagonist.  He has skin the color
of coal.  Until a few weeks ago, I have
never heard someone refer to someone’s skin color as coal.  I thought I made this up… I was horribly
wrong.  I know a Coal for the Cosby Show
but he had caramel skin and there was a white guy on soap opera named Coal,
too.  
     A friend of mine asked me why Black folks have
names that mean ‘black’ like Chocolate and Coal and Ebony.  Again, I had never heard of coal being
attributed to someone’s skin color…i thought I’d made it up..  Initially I told her,  I don’t know. 
Why not.  I thought a little bit
longer on the question and came up with a better answer for: we are taught by
society and by our peers that black is wrong. 
So by having a name that means ‘black’ we contradicts that and
celebrates being “othered”..  
But honestly I just think they are nice names.  I know plenty of black folks named Ivory and
Pearl.  I actually knew a very sexy
dark-skinned brother named Ivory ::drool:: 
Ivory was a Sexy MF’er with an English accent.  ::swoon::
           
       Well, Victoria Foyt has a book named Revealing
Eden
… the dark skinned folks are named coals.  ::sniffle and snob::   while the light skinned people are called
pearls.  Please take a moment and catch
up on the drama  here, here,
here and here.  I wasn’t going to take a side on the book
since I hadn’t read it, but after I saw the freaking youtube
video.
  I had to walk away and shake
my head.     
Given the controversy REVEALING EDEN has
started over the word coal I had to ask myself if I was being racist
because I have a character that I’ve named Coal because of the color of his
skin?-A color that I love, btw.  Do I get a pass because I’m black?
Am I being insensitive?  Should I change
the name of my protagonist and my book? 
When I started this blog post the idea of changing Coal’s name sickened
me.  But not anymore, because really what
is in a freaking name?   **nothing** and
I’d rather change it than have it be linked to this coal vs. pearls
controversy.  Maybe I should name him
Ivory.    mmm…Ivory
My intentions are not to offend or be racist… But I’ve attended enough sci fi conventions
to know that intentions are one thing reality is another. 
Shoot. I just realized the word coal
isn’t the only thing  I have in common
with this book.  More proof that there is
just nothing f’n original under the f’n sun and we are all fooling ourselves to
believe otherwise.  So I need to make
sure my story is f’n awesome.  The plot,
pacing, and characterization  needs to be
on point.  ::le sigh::  The things we do for love.

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