UCL Philosophy
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Explanation of Name Formatting

A name is like a human body. It goes before you in the world; it enters the room, before you enter the room; it is produces a reaction in other persons, before you have even had the chance to produce a reaction in other persons.

Knowing all this, some people—perhaps all people—attempt to modify and to mould, in as much as they can, the human body that precedes them. We shave; we powder our noses; we avoid wearing hoodies and carrying Skittles. I'm no exception to this phenomenon. However, I also chose to do with my name what most persons only do with their bodies. I strike through my surname. 

My postdoctoral project—Why was Negro slavery wrong?—informs my name. Three of my four names were given to me by a person who wanted to provide me with a social basis for my valuing myself. One of my names was given to me by someone who hoped (in vain!) to own me: my parents were born in Jamaica, where persons enslaved-as-Negro were 'bred' in order to be owned. (Cf., for instance, the work of Dr Susanne Seymour (Nottingham) on Caribbean 'breeding schemes').

Thus, rather than highlight a title I might have lost (as Malcolm X did so effectively), I choose to highlight the stigmatising expressive meaning of the badge with which I must eke out my life. 

Dr Nathaniel Adam Tobias Coleman

Research Associate in the Philosophy of 'Race'

Page last modified on 26 nov 13 15:26