What's in a name

I've been corresponding with a reader who recently wrote:
"I'm sure that you have been told by other black people that you're ashamed to be black. You seemed to acknowledge this by calling your blog 'uncle sam's cabin' a reference to Uncle Tom. What were the reasons behind that?"
I may address that ashamed to be black thing on the blog some time (or may be not it's a really stupid accusation). But I have been meaning to write about the meaning of the name of the blog as part of my celebration of my one year bloggiversary.

I chose "Uncle Sam's Cabin" because is has a many levels of meaning. The Uncle Tom thing is certainly one of them (Avery's got a post up about the Uncle Tom business). I know that black people who hold views similar to mine are often labeled as Uncle Toms. I also know that if I ever receive any notoriety as a blogger some joker will apply the label to me. I figured I'd acknowledge the stakes in the game right from the start. Folk can call me an Uncle Tom if they want but it won't shut me up or make me change my views.

I also wanted to acknowledge my allegiance to the United States with the reference to Uncle Sam, the classic American icon connected to military recruitment campaigns. Another layer of meaning is perhaps the most obvious. Sam is my nickname and the blog is my place, my cabin. Some others found some other meanings in the name that I can't remember now. In any case, I knew the name "Uncle Sam's Cabin" was loaded with meaning and would make people think. Making people think is one of my favourite things to do. They don't do it nearly often enough.


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