> Could you provide more info on the Ellis, Cooke, and Blythe essays you
> mention? Corey Creekmur
Cooke, Michael. "Naming, Being, and Black Experience." *The Yale Review*
Cooke distinguishes between name-calling and name-giving. The former
deprives the individual of power, whereas the latter grants power to the
individual. Cooke identifies the practice by which young African-Americans
"refuse to own their names [and] what was cruelly done to slaves they
cheerfully do to themselves."
Benston, Kimberly W. "I Yam What I Am: The Topos of Un(naming) in Afro-American
Literature." *Black Literature & Literary Theory.* Ed. Henry Louis
Gates, Jr. New York: Methuen, 1984.
Kimberly Benston's genealogy of Malcolm Little's last name, would not
correspond to Cooke's classification of name giving. He claims that any
name that can be used with the title Mister is an instance of name giving,
whereas Benston argues that a name like Little relegates a person to the
periphery of society. "Malcolm Little, named by the master/father who
banished him to his marginal existence, was in some measure the slave his
given name signified; he owned nothing." Benston maintains that during
emancipation, "self-designation" goes through the process of unnaming via
disassociation with one's master. This implies the negation of the
Anglo-American past which destroyed the Africans' connections with their
ancestors. However, the freed slaves can no longer restore the "African
identity that was usurped during Middle Passage."
Ellis, Trey. "Remember My Name." *Village Voice* 13 Jun 1989.
Gates, Henry Louis Jr. "'What's in a Name?" Some Meanings of
Blackness." *Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars." New York:
Oxford UP, 1992.
Gates indicates how socio-cultural achievements can be traced through
linguistic evolution. "My grandfather was colored, my father is Negro and
I am black. I wonder if my daughters will identify themselves as "I am
hooks, bell. "To Gloria, Who Is She: On Using a Pseudonym." *Talking
Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black.* Boston: South End P, 1989.
"I was called nigger so much I thought that was my name."
*Malcolm X* (1992), Spike Lee
Obviously the *n* word affects some people to a greater degree