Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Today I’m here to talk about one of the characters from my book. He is a Frimbian alien, meaning he is toad-like, slimy, has spawn, loves to eat moss and assorted bugs, etc. He shows up in one scene, and is referred to later on in the book — his purpose is partially to move the plot forward, but mostly just there to make the reader laugh and go, “Ew, slimy alien! Gross!”
His name is Minister Gook.
Now, I chose the name because I thought it sounded amusing. Any word with an “oo” sound is fun, so I stuck some consonants on either end and called it a day. And everything was fine, until a friend bought my book, read it, and noted that the word “gook” is actually a derogatory term toward people of Korean descent.
Obviously, I hadn’t intended my little toad-alien’s name to be a racist slur. It was just a silly-sounding word I’d put together, because apparently I’m really not up on my racist terminology. Yay me? Anyway, a couple of people have mentioned it since the book was published, but no one gave me a hard time about it — it was more of an FYI, as in hey, did you know you were accidentally racist?
Now, I’m planning on re-releasing Imminent Danger in a few months with a shiny new cover. I’ll also be going through the book and making a few minor text edits — adding/deleting commas and such. One thing I’m thinking of doing is changing Minister Gook’s name, because I really don’t want to offend anyone. But then I thought: is it actually offensive? After all, if you Google the word, another definition comes up as well: any sticky, greasy, or slimy substance.
So the questions I put to you are:
- Should I change Minister Gook’s name when I re-release my book?
- If you’ve read the book, did his name strike you as rude/inappropriate, or was it just an amusing-sounding name?
Thanks in advance for any and all input!
Unrelated media of the day: