Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Need Your Help With Renaming 'We Are Respectable Negroes'

Some of you have noticed that the name "We Are Respectable Negroes", both in Google and other search engines, as well on the tab in your browser, has changed to the name "Indomitable".

When change occurs it should be swift. However, this does not mean that change should come without contemplation or explanation to others or oneself.

The name of this project was born of a specific set of circumstances, timing, and personalities involved. As is common in life, personalities move on one person stands alone, and the times change.

As I have said many, many, many times these last few years I never would have imagined that a fun and humble blogger project would have actually evolved into something that would receive national attention, be mentioned by a Republican presidential candidate, and both hated on and praised by folks in the national (and international) new media. I owe all of that to the good folks such as you who have shared, commented on, and sent good energy to "We Are Respectable Negroes".

What I have tried to do here, is much broader than the topic suggested by the words "respectable" and "negroes". Moreover, as much as I love the name "We Are Respectable Negroes", it was a sign post on a journey that is still ongoing. As readers of the site know, I am fond of military analogies and metaphors. I am not interested in throwing horses at tanks. That struggle is honorable. It makes for a great poem, song, play, book, or a film. Alas, it is ultimately self-defeating and tragic. One can still be the cavalry--albeit now outfitted with tanks, armored fighting vehicles, helicopters, and at some point in the near future, mecha and powered battle suits.

The word "negroes" in the title of the website has also cost us precious time and energy because what I felt was smart and witty more than seven years go, could also be a distraction. If a name is costing a person great opportunities--for whatever reason--it is a liability.

I have some considerable gifts. A sense of names and branding is not one of them.

I have decided on renaming "We Are Respectable Negroes" with the name "Indomitable". This could be permanent. "Indomitable" could also be temporary.

I am very partial to the energy that is summoned by "Indomitable", but I also know that there are other words and phrases that could convey that energy with more aplomb.

As such, I would like your help.

1. The new name will not include any reference to matters of race, racism, black people, negroes, the color line, etc. etc.. I may include that as a sub-header or line on the logo/header however. What I am doing here will remain the same, evolve with the times, and keep on broadening as well.

2. I tinkered with calling the site "WARN" as an homage to the original name. I decided not to, as a good friend and adviser asked me, "what are you warning the reader about? Doesn't sound very welcoming to my ear."

3. The header/top image will likely change too, so please do not be wedded to the photo of me and my cat niece. I am probably going to have a comic book like panel or image done for the site by a professional artist.

4. Part of me thinks just calling it "Chauncey DeVega" and having it listed as "the official page of political essayist and cultural critic Chauncey DeVega" in the browsers/search engines. That seems efficient. But, I keep coming back to having a name, as the eponymous option feels naked to me.

What are your suggestions? Any thoughts or concerns? We are all friends here, so please share any feelings, disappointment, happiness, worry, or like thoughts. If you feel like this is all my call give the go ahead and blessing if you so choose.


soundsofepip . said...

The name I would suggest is WATT We Are The Tribe.

James Scaminaci III, PhD said...

I just want you to know in the friendliest way that you are going to mess up all my citations to your work in my book. I have Chauncey DeVega as the author and the name of the blog, We Are Respectable Negroes. To old ones I will add (Indomitable). To the new ones, Indomitable (formerly WARN). Just kidding.

You know why I like the word "indomitable." I lived in Finland for five years and the central, core value of Finns is captured in the word "sisu." It is impossible to translate because it is an expansive term that essentially means in English a spirit that cannot be conquered because it never gives up fighting and resisting no matter what the odds or circumstances or how many times you are not successful. At least, that is how I understood as my Finnish friends tried to explain it to me with quizzical faces.

Of course, their second most common phrase is "mita vittu" which literally means WTF.

chauncey devega said...

Learn something new everyday! The blessing of the Finnish.

chauncey devega said...

Are we a sex ed organization? See how hard this is. Pardon the pun.

DanF said...

From my POV, I think the greatest contribution of this site and your writing is that it can transform the average white liberal from "Of course I support civil rights and I am against racism. Duh." to "Oh! So that's what the problem is! That's pretty fucked up right there." I know that is not the sum-total of all you do and write about, but it's the main reason I showed up and it's the main reason you're making head-way in "the media."

So I think it depends upon your future goals for the site and whether or not you see yourself as a brand with a targeted message. You may have moved passed "We are Respectable Negroes," but is the rest of the country just starting to show up? It's a fantastic phrase with layered - and loaded - meaning. Shocking and thought-provoking. So if your aim is to keep getting on TV, radio, prominent web sites and spread the message, I think you are well served by keeping it the same.

If you think that the Chauncey DeVega brand is strong enough on it's own, then I would suggest simply changing it to your name. If you want to drop "WARN", I think that's OK, but I wouldn't replace it with another catch-phrase. Pivot the brand to simply "Chauncey DeVega." It allows you to write about more topics.

Gable1111 said...

I like your #4. When you are out and about in the media world it is your name more so than WARN, I think, that is more associated with what you do. You are up and coming, and deservedly so and as such your name is becoming familiar. Why not leverage that as a branding strategy for the site? And you can still have We Are Respectable Negroes as a subtitle, and maybe even the beloved Fred G. Sanford as an avatar.

OldPolarBear said...

Kind of agree with what DanF said. It is, or course, totally up to you and I will still read your work no matter what. I do see the potential problems you mention with the current name. It will always be that to me but I will use in public and in any referrals whatever name you decide on. I wish I could come up with some clever and appropriate idea, but I got nothin' so far. I occasionally do come up with something like that, but almost never when I'm actually trying to!

Hondok said...

As a white learner, I was really attracted to the "We Are Respectable Negroes" name because it says, tongue in cheek, come read me, white folks, I won't bite you, while providing layers of history and irony that suggest the depth of your writing. I love it.
Obviously, that "Negroes" word can stir up various outrages, but I think a simple explanation of your name easily available would do the trick.
I think your name would be fine, you seem to be well known, but I wonder whether I would've ever found you with that name. I think I found you off someone's blog roll, and was enticed by your title.
I hate "indomitable," it sounds like a movie starring The Rock or Stephen Seagull, macho and boring and cardboard.
And as a disabled person, it reminds me of that inspirational crap that gets thrown around disabled people – and black people for that matter – all the time. No matter the obstacles, we will persevere and overcome. Really, it sounds like the worst kind of American overcoming bullshit. Please don't change it to that, please! :-)

Hondok said...

Oh, and no one is "indomitable," a word which denies the power of oppression, we are all crushable – wait, what's that sound, sounds like a drone…Gak! LOL

SW said...

I like your idea in Bullet 2. Keeping the WARN "brand", but dropping the acronym. The answer to what does WARN mean, is now free to evolve as opposed to being married to "negroes". I also happen to think WARN is a good verb to describe what you are doing, in a sense. Almost daily, you are sounding the alarm regarding aspects of our racialized society that are hiding in plain site.

I also think that you can have multiple brands at once. Your website can be named X, but Chauncey Devega can be prominently displayed, and be used as you mentioned as a tag for searches, as well as remaining the epinonimously named podcast. You can become like the General Mills of political scientists. Multiple brands (i.e. Cheerios and Wheaties), under one umbrella, you.

One idea for the naming of the website that you may consider is harkening back to old AA publications. Perhaps using something like Chicago Crusader or Las Vegas Sentinal Voice. Of course you would drop the geographical reference.

At the end of the day, this site thrives because of your passion that enables you to pour yourself into daily writings and weekly interviews.

Pick the name that evokes the most passion from you as that will provide the best of all possible outcomes.

KissedByTheSun said...

Unapologetically Black

Yes you cover a broad range of subjects but the suggested title emphasizes that it will be viewed through the eyes of a man of color, love it or hate it. It's an introduction that says "My name is Chauncey Devega, I'm Black, and I'm not apologizing." It screams out that there will be no hand holding or excuse making on this blog. My two cents.

chauncey devega said...

I don't think that is gonna work. This is so hard because you want to have something recognizable that captures the broad range of what you are trying to do. Yup, I am "black". Yup, my humanity and interests are much more than that. Other suggestions? This is why folks get paid big bucks for branding.

chauncey devega said...

Good point. I am thinking that I would have some type of name for search purposes but the site would be Chauncey DeVega in the header and in the search terms as it is showing up now. Does that work or no?

chauncey devega said...

I appreciate the honest and reflective comment. This is really really hard. I hadn't thought of your insight. It is a damn valuable one! If not indomitable, what other names do you think could work?

chauncey devega said...

Epiphany-filled moments. Most of mine happen when I am half awake in the morning, on the toilet, or in the shower. Then they are gone :(

chauncey devega said...

I like the energy of Indomitable. But, that could just be a function of my interest in World War 1. I like the idea of the Black Press. But my worry and concern is that I am not a journalist, nor do I ever claim to be one. This is so damn complicated!

joe manning said...

Indefatigable Defender doesn't seem to be taken.

SW said...

That....is a mouthful....lol.

KissedByTheSun said...

How about CDV?
Of course it's an acronym for your name but it can also be used in a tongue and cheek way for whatever you want it to.

Challenging Dominant Views

Critiquing Dictatorial Values

Cooking Delectable Vittles

You get to keep the name recognition while still letting some of your personality shine through. Other than this I got nothing lol.

joe manning said...

Yeah, that's a tongue twister.

Buddy said...

I am fond of military analogies and metaphors

How about


chauncey devega said...

That could be a contender!

Craig said...

I've always liked the Robert frost poem "Our Singing Strength" which uses, as a metaphor for America, of a wide variety of wildbirds having to get along together.
It ends with:
"Well, something for a snowstorm to have shown
The country's singing strength thus brought together,
Though repressed and moody with the weather
Was none the less there ready to be freed
And sing the wildflowers up from root and seed."
Your blog reminds me of this poem, so a combination of something in it can be used for your title. Something like "Notes from a Wildbird: Our Country's Singing Strength"

MarsAttacks said...

I like WARN, but I understand wanting to move ahead. I don't suppose "I Am a Respectable Negro" works any better either...

Indomitable is good. Maybe "Undisputed"? Or something incorporating "Ghetto Nerd" or "Truth-Teller"?

Good luck with the rebranding.

Tbird said...

Votin' for this!! I really like the agency in this phrasing...ties in with a couple of historical notes: coffles, Civil Rights marches, AfAm participation in no shortage of wars, etc. Also not passively waiting for change, we have a destiny to meet!

CMoon67 said...

I've had some insightful moments reading your articles and I really don't have a suggestion, however, I shall continue to support through viewership & monetarily. And from time to time share a comment or two. For I do believe that websites/blogs can provide useful forums for various perspectives on the may complex topics/events facing us today as well as interesting cultural/entertainment features.

My personal blog provides a medium for shared epiphanies as well as
expanding , changing or maintaining my own viewpoints and how I
experience this formidable and at times phenomenal road trip.

Whatever you decide...it will be a good thing!

Black Sci-Fi said...

I was in advertising for 30 years. I see no need to "re-brand" your blog-site and risk the inevitable loss of readers by doing so.

The current "brand name' is well established and you "product" is well defined.

Jus Sayin'

chauncey devega said...

You got the expertise. Send me an email w. some contact info and a resume...if you are so inclined. Would be great to chat with you on the podcast series for an intro segment. Do some teaching!

Anne O'Nimmus said...

Chauncey DeVega - Defying the Times

fxd8424 said...

I agree, you definitely have considerable gifts. That said, I absolutely love the name of the blog. I remember when I first saw the title, I just chuckled and thought this is something I know I need to read. And you have never disappointed. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Hondok said...

I really like "Race Man in Progress." It identifies you by race (probably) and gender, and points up your humility about your own need to continue learning from other people. And that's what I really appreciate about your blog, and that you bring a curiosity and humility to interacting with your readership.

gordon_gartrelle said...

As an original respectable negro, I'll be a little sad to see the name go, but it's time to move on. The burden of contextualizing the name probably outweighs the ironic appeal.

Of the ones mentioned in the comments, I'm most fond of:

1. "Race Man in Progress." "Race Man At Arms" or something like that.

2. Chauncey Devega.

3. Ghetto Nerd.

I love the word "indomitable," but I don't think it's very catchy. Keep looking.

chauncey devega said...

thanks for chiming in brother. sorry for my self-introspective hermit state as of late. we need to do a podcast episode. damn, so much to talk about. I appreciate your blessing. On this week's episode of the podcast I try to share what I think is my decision. as I always say, there is always a seat for you at the virtual bar.

chauncey devega said...

How kind of you! This is a hard road to walk. I think I have decided on a mutually agreeable solution.

chauncey devega said...

Good thing! I like that. Do share more about your blog? I have a plan going forward that I think that you and others may like. Fingers crossed.

Revue1 said...

How about, "Indomitable Will"?

fxd8424 said...

And did I mention that Happy Non-Threatening Colored Folks Even in the Age of Obama was the icing on the cake? Pure genius!

CMoon67 said...

I look forward to it! My blog is http://perspectives-anotherwaytoview.blogspot.com. Please visit at your convenience.