Once upon a time, when I was a starry-eyed, aspiring writer barely out of undergrad before Sallie Mae started nipping at my backside, I took a gig as a substitute teacher in Baltimore. The loans and the credit card debt I’d racked up in school were putting the hammer down on me—as was my mama—so until my editorial fantasy grew roots in the real world, I was forced to become a kinda-sorta-but-not-really educator in the meantime.

My only condition was a refusal to go into middle school. Kids’ hormones and attitudes reach a feverish funkiness around that time and I knew I wasn’t built for a daily dose of 13-year-old sauciness. So I registered for the elementary and high schools in the area, pleaded the blood of Jesus on my patience and got a call shortly thereafter for my initial placement in a 10th grade biology course.

It was odd, that first day standing in front of a class of 20 or 25 kids, preparing to hand out worksheets for a video I knew they weren’t going to watch, only because I had not that long before been on the other side of that desk, cutting up with my friends and saying a silent thank you when I walked into the room and saw a stranger instead of my usual instructor. Let’s face it—unless they’re on long-term assignment, a substitute is a degree-bearing babysitter for the most part and you know, with more confidence than you usually have about anything at that age, that you’re not going to be doing much work in that particular period.

I felt the same way as a sub, and I went in fully expecting to do call roll, hit the power button on the VCR and keep the chaos to a minimum. Taking attendance seemed like it would be the easiest part of my day. But I glanced at the list to discover that 65 percent of the names on it were a cryptic montage of dashes, accents marks and arbitrarily inserted capital letters. There was a La’ Niaheesa. There was a Devaughntay. There was a Quaymar. There was a Knakeya and a Khaneeka. There were consonant clusters that would tangle a linguist up and combinations that looked like they should be pronounced one way, but in actuality sounded completely different.

It was an exercise in verbal dexterity, and as I slowly sounded out each name like a first grader with an easy reader, the kids were steady shouting out the correct pronunciations. Sans the occasional Brittany or Courtney, I was struggling through and in the interest of time, I just started firing off last names instead: Henderson. Brown. Jenkins. Perry. Jackson. One Funderburke and a Maldonaldo. But no surname came close to being as ostentatious as the first ones. I’ve been speaking black all my life but my native tongue failed me in the eloquent reading of the attendance that day.

I grew up in the era of Tashas and Jamars, Rasheedas and Tyrees, Tanikas and Maliks and The Age of the Almighty Keisha—Tikeisha, Lakeisha, Mekeisha, Nykeisha, Shakeisha—and I remember older folks everywhere struggling with names like that because their generation had produced names like Bernice and Lionel and Marcy. Grandparents, when asked about the latest addition to their families, would stumble and stagger their way through the new baby’s maze of tongue-twisting syllables and land, somewhat close, to the child’s actual name. It’s not like every community doesn’t have their own norms that pay homage to their culture. But creativity in African-American naming convention has gotten progressively bolder, now going beyond the old standards like relatives, leaders and biblical figures to include African words, luxury vehicles, fabrics, precious gems and various brands of liquor (because I’m almost certain there’s a baby named Courvoisier running around out there).

Most of the hoopla about so-called “ghetto names” has swirled around the potential for a child, and eventually their adult incarnation, to be stereotyped and written off on paper when college admissions officers and human resources coordinators take a look at an application and see a clearly African-American name printed across the top. In 2009, more than 40 percent of the black girls born were given names that hadn’t been bestowed upon not even one of the more than 100,000 white girls also born in the same year.

The fear, experts said, is that these children won’t get called back for jobs or other opportunities because any pre-judger worth his or her salt will know that they are dealing with a black person from the break and immediately write them off. Kind of like when you watch the news and hear that some fool has been running up on old ladies and hitting them upside their heads and you hope it’s not a black person, but then the reporter says something like “23-year-old Marsharonda Williams” and you know, without too much doubt, that your hope is futile. The name tells at least part of the story.

Studies conducted by Harvard and other reputable institutions all showed that job-seekers with “African-American-sounding names” were largely discriminated against, sight unseen, and resumes with “white-sounding” names were downloaded 17 percent more based on that reason and that reason alone. Now some professionals, all grown up from the days of a substitute teacher butchering and stumbling through their correction pronunciation, are playing down blackness as a common strategy born of necessity. The same names their parents gave them to stand out are now being tweaked to blend in and ward off stereotyping and superficial preconceptions. There are names that are distinctly Jewish and distinctly Latino and distinctly Asian but just like almost everything else, it’s a different standard for us.

Though, I must say, even changing your name on the resume won’t help you when the interviewer calls you in and discovers the non-descript “T.J.” really stands for Tawanda Jalisha.

There are so many things I love about our people, not the least of which is our innovativeness. We’ll turn something mundane and dry into something fun and interesting, whether it’s food or music or, apparently, distinctive names for our offspring. But is there such a thing as too over the top when a child’s first name looks like a foreign language vocabulary word and they were, in fact, born to English-speaking parents? How creative is too creative in the pantheon of African-American nomenclature?

  • Mademoiselle

    The names aren’t the problem. The bigots who judge someone’s worth by something that was given to them at birth are. Educated black people will be quick to encourage someone to learn a new language, but learning how to pronounce a name is a problem? We need to stop letting White America set the tone for what’s acceptible in our communities because they have no problem naming their kids after fruit, trees, and inanimate objects. Black people aren’t the only ones who use creativity when naming their children either; try looking up what the meanings of your Latin or German or Asian friends’ names really are and you’ll see they use creative license to their advantage. Quit cowering to the idea that everything black people do is awful.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    I met a girl the other day who was about 14 or 15 and her name is Alize’. I just had to shake my head. Now, her mom is white and single, and Alize’ is biracial. The mom is definitely low class, and it’s sad. I understand that you’re happy to have a baby and name it something cool, but a young mother with a baby should not be naming her kid after an alcohol brand or any brand for that matter. Would you name your kid BRATZ or Under Armour? I don’t care if it’s creative or being true to someone’s culture, but it is unfair to that baby and she will be judged, like it or not.

  • dirtychai

    “Quit cowering to the idea that everything black people do is awful.”

    Yes.

  • Ms. Information

    I agree and disagree with you guys….I understand that black people are attempting to form an identity with some names BUT some do go too far….I had a patient name her child Candida (which is a yeast infection) and Vakaquandinika……a name should have meaning and purpose, not something that a parent just makes up on the fly….it can affect the kid in later years.

  • Mademoiselle

    I agree with you Ms Information. In general people should name their kids with purpose, and that applies to all ethnicities. At the same time, every ethnicity has its subset of people that will name their kids something off the wall.

    I don’t know how many people are aware that Candida is a yeast infection so I’m inclined to give it a pass since most people don’t research scientific names in their off time, but a name like Vakaquandinika could be a combination of names from significant people in that kids life or it could be the black version of naming a kid Fifi Trixibelle just because her(?) parents thought it was cute (granted: celebrities tend to outdo themselves in this category, but still).

    Very few black people have the really uncommon names, but even if they do, why is the fact that it was created by a black person reason enough to invalidate the person or his/her parents when uncommon names are a part of every culture?

    The name could affect the kid, or the kid could grow to do something so significant in the world that his/her name stops being so uncommon and starts making its way up the common baby names list–just like every other name that started off as unique.

  • Mademoiselle

    .I agree with you Ms Information. In general people should name their kids with purpose, and that applies to all ethnicities. At the same time, every ethnicity has its subset of people that will name their kids something off the wall.

    I don’t know how many people are aware that Candida is a yeast infection so I’m inclined to give it a pass since most people don’t research scientific names in their off time, but a name like Vakaquandinika could be a combination of names from significant people in that kids life or it could be the black version of naming a kid Fifi Trixibelle just because her(?) parents thought it was cute (granted: celebrities tend to outdo themselves in this category, but still).

    Very few black people have the really uncommon names, but even if they do, why is the fact that it was created by a black person reason enough to invalidate the person or his/her parents when uncommon names are a part of every culture?

    The name could affect the kid, or the kid could grow to do something so significant in the world that his/her name stops being so uncommon and starts making its way up the common baby names list–just like every other name that started off as unique.

  • MsLady

    This is for Shaunitra
    Lakeisha, Dashawna, Latecia, Shaniqua, Shamika,
    Whose names are as beautiful, full and thick as their ethnic features
    Names that brand them, class them, stereotype them, caste them
    Deny them call backs and opportunities for interviews
    Names that say
    She has a big ass and attitude
    This is for Shamunique
    Lafawnda, Aryanna, Alisha, Shontesa, Shaconda, and Rashonda Renee
    For every Alize, Chardonnay, Mercedes and Alexis
    For those who always have to check their names
    And make spelling corrections
    For every sister whose name has an accent slash above the “E”
    Or first name has at least one apostrophe
    This is for every sister whose had to make a definitive declaration
    Of their name’s proper pronunciation
    IT’S SHAR-CAN-DREE- AHH
    NOT SHAR-CAN-DRA
    This is for Tameka
    Tanika, Shalita, Koritta, Lavita, and Yolanda
    This is for every sister who can’t find the
    Key chain license plate engraved with her name at Wal-Mart
    I want to let you know your name is a work of art
    Unappreciated by those who call it ghetto
    If your name were shoes they’d be stilettos
    Risky, elegant, taboo and sexy
    Not a plain Jane, Elaine, or Becky
    Don’t be ashamed of your name
    Desha’ra, Katura, Joetta, or Tonisha
    First you must understand how your named reached the
    Peak of creativity that spawned your moniker
    Taking nothing from black girls named Amy or Monica
    But the sisters who bear the burden of a parent’s creativity
    And wear it proudly earn respect from me
    Those parents subconsciously wanted to bestow a sense cultural identity
    That’s been stripped away since the 19th century
    When names like Amina, Makemba, Wamboi,
    Hadyiah, Oni, and Obax
    Were beaten to extinction in America with the only proof or their existence being the welts on their grandmother’s backs.
    And replaced with the names of imperialism akin to the oppressor
    Gwendolyn, Elizabeth, Brenda, Bernadine, Sheryl, Sarah, or Deborah
    Or give pet names in the fields like
    Sissy, Missy, Tally, or Katy
    To those parents thank you for liberating our girls names in the 70’s and 80’s
    How dare we look down at De’ja, Aja, La’Tanya, Shanaynay, Neeci
    Because every time we utter their names we speak the
    Language of creativity that spawned Jazz, Blues, Neo-Soul and Rock and Roll
    And all of our emotion, passion, spontaneity, and freedom a European name couldn’t hold
    This is for Deandra,
    Shonda, Colletta, Herrishia, and Lasheba
    Bonitia, Bomquita, Belita, and Precious,
    Essence, Icee, Tokirah, and Tenina
    This is for every lil black girl who asked for the meaning of their name only to learn that a name with no meaning is a painful lesson
    But your name is beautiful
    Your name is a symbol of your parent’s creativity and affection
    Your name embodies the African American spirit of expression
    Never again let them use your name as weapon
    To my sister’s with beautiful names
    When someone criticizes your name this is what you should do
    Do them one better, give them a name
    First name
    Fuck
    Last name
    You

    Jay Ali
    ©OTB Poetry 2009

  • Diana

    As a first generation Nigerian American, I’m a little confused by the point of some of these names. Names are supposed to hold meaning. Yes, everyone is entitled to their right to name their child whatever they wish, however a lot of these names will have an adverse effect on their child’s future. I had a girl in my high school class several years ago who was named Clamedia, which sounds just like the infamous sexually transmitted disease. People in general scoff at unconventional names, this is the same reason white and black people roll their eyes at some of the ridiculous things celebrities name their own children. I would also argue that it’s the negative stereotype that’s associated with creative names not necessarily the race that’s attached to it…

  • black_feminist

    Amen, sister.

  • Lana

    Just to reply to Ms.Information – Candida is actually a Portuguese name – my grandma has that name and no she wasn’t name after the yeast infection…

  • Downsouth Transplant

    Dang Ms Lady, you did me & All my people proud in this response. **Sitting back & crossing my legs**

  • Rochelle

    This writer sounds like a lazy person. Rude as well. Would it have killed her to ask the child how to prounounce their name? Or did she not care. Apparently she was too lazy to ask or too proud to be corrected so she just said the last names. Shame on this writer. And yes, i was a teacher in an urban high school and I came across a lot of Uniqua’s and Quonyece’s. If I didn’t know a name, I did what most reasonable respectful adults would do, I asked.

    Also, the writer saying she was a babysitter is disturbing to me. That is what is wrong with the general public. They think teaching is the same as “watching some kids.” No your job is not to babysit, it is to make sure the kids do the work that was left for them. I hope that was the writer’s last teaching job. I digress.

    This whole thing with “black names” is getting mundane. I didnt read any of the comments but I can guarantee that some of them are bragging that their parents had the “good sense” to name them “Natalie.” Well I can also guarantee that none of the people typing in this forum is nothing special. Meaning they do regular jobs working for the white man. No CEO’s, no medical doctors, nothing special. I bet most of you don’t even have 100k in the bank. Basically you are a nobody. So what has this “normal” name gotten you? You still a plain ole n-word. No matter if your name is Mary or Tangeray. So please stop it.

    This is just a practice to seperate and have the illusion that you are better than the ghetto black people. You are dignified because your name is Courntey. Chile please. You are nothing but a basic broad. I can guarantee that. So save it.

    News flash. People are not, not going to hire you because of a name. They won’t hire you because you are Black. So instead of bragging that you can beg whites for a job and get them. Why not brag that you can open up a successful business that can hire and not discriminate against blk people with creative names. Something to ponder.

  • beautiful mic

    I remember my sibling, who has a plain white Latin European name like mine, coming home from school begging, every other day, to have her name changed to ‘Shaniqua Jacole’. “Mommy, mommy, I like that name. Can you change it for me, please?” No. “But why?” I’m not changing your name to THAT! “Eh, my name is so borrring,” she used to say, walking away with a VERY sad face. Her name actually was the one that ‘stood out’ as unusual among her peers. lol

  • Downsouth Transplant

    @ Diana, as one from the Nilotic tribe lines, we do not have regular names we name our children in measure that are stratified, we name after family members long gone or politicians (a lot of Barrack & Michelle Obama’s running around my village) then the funky one comes when we name after current affairs,post violence, deseart strom, impeach, filibuster etc & weather related names el- nino, la-nina dot-com, etc some may find it funny or weird but we know exactly the season of birth & the meaning behind it, it is only westerners who are amazed at the names, my children are named after my beloved grandparents & their names were either traditional or biblical so i did not “create” any names per se i am honoring my heritage & my beloved grandmother & grandpa even if you barely can pronounce their names, that is your problem not theirs, they are a representation of our lineage, I tell them all the time if it is not your husband or wife, do not worry how it is pronounced as long as they are close in saying it, it does & should not matter much if you just but see them that once in your life!!

  • Genie

    Thank You for that. So Beautiful and Uplifting. My opinion was somewhere in the middle until I read this.

  • misshopkins

    Be aware my sisters, that our “right” to name children as we please has resulted in a new form of workplace and hiring discrimination…yes!What do we call it? Nothing, because often your foot does not get in the door for even an interview in many major corporations when the applicant’s name is deemed exotic, difficult to pronounce, too ethic, just another “isha,” etc. It can sometimes be just an unspoken understanding even among brothers and sisters in HR. Fair? No! Reality? Yes! Don’t take my word for it, just google “Name Discrimination” for a number of fascinating studies and stats (Census Bureau, EEOC, private non-profits, etc.) on how exercising rightful prerogative in naming children can have unintended consequences. Please don’t hate on me, ladies, because I think we’re entitled, but know there is another whole side to exercising our right to “christen thee…..” In case you’re wondering, foreigners tend to fair much better in this touchy area, since their names are considered familial tradition and not “whim.” Again, Not my words. BTW, I referred to Clutch’s older, original “What’s in a Name?” in a comment on an article by the same name a week or so ago. This original was a great, timely piece on the subject a couple of years ago and really thought-provoking on the subject. Not a generic piece but I can’t remember the writer. Name on….

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman1967 Rastaman

    I do think many of those names do have meaning, they very often define for many of the parents a hope to provide their children with something that makes them unique, stand out, offer them something more than the parents or the environment in which they are being raised may ever offer them. While I do not agree with that type of short term thinking, I can definitely understand its genesis.

    Many of the parents may be also caught in a mindset that this may be the only aspect of their children’s lives they can truly control, truly make a decision about that they can determine ofr their children. Since we live in a world where we seem to have less and less of an ability to determine our’s or our children’s future. At least we can still decide their name that has yet to be taken away. These names are a symptom not the problem and they may not necessary be a negative if we offered more people a stake in their future that our society currently does.

  • Diane

    I’m a little confused…I didn’t say that all the names are *created* or made up, some are, yes but not all. My younger brother and sister have traditional Ibo (Nigerian) names. My older brother was named after a prophet from the Bible and I was named after my GodMother. I’m only saying that names should be picked carefully…

  • Mademoiselle

    Why is it every time (or almost) you comment, you come out attacking? It’s clear you put a lot of thought into your responses, but you tend to be so off-putting that it’s hard to engage in conversation with you. What’s the deal?

    And if you had read the comments above, you’d notice that no one touted their own “normal” names, but actually gave thoughtful reasons for why they’re for or against the creativity.

    These comment sections don’t have to be battle grounds.

  • LillyP

    As someone with a “super black” or “ghetto” name, what I’ve found interesting my whole life is that the only discrimination, ridicule, and derision I’ve ever received because of my name has always been from other black people.

  • Chrissy

    Exactly.

    We can name our children whatever we want but that comes with a price. In this time people are competing with people all over the world for jobs. You do not want anything to block that. So when they see your child’s name on a resume it will most likely get thrown out.

    Also certain black people with certain names are going to be assumed to be ‘lower’ class or ‘ghetto’

    Is it right or fair? No. But thats the way it is. So choose a name wisely.

  • LillyP

    Great comment. I completely agree.

  • http://theblackgirloncampus.blogspot.com Peace

    I’m Nigerian and I know our names tend to be long and difficult to pronounce, but our names are important to us because they have meaning. My name, for example, means God’s Grace–something I have seen over and over in my life. While I don’t know the significance of the name Knakeya, I know how important my name is to me and must be to this child.

    I don’t think that any child or parent should change their name to fit into mainstream culture, just like how many of my peers refused to get “American” names.

  • Mademoiselle

    The thing is anyone who is willing to discard an application because they think a candidate is black by reading the name on the resume will very likely not hire or place other unrealistic barriers of entry before said person even if s/he turned out to be a black person with a “white/right” name when s/he shows up for the interview. Of course this is assuming the candidate in question has all the necessary requisites to be a viable competitor for the job (experience/training/etc).

    A bigot is a bigot, not just when no one’s around to check them.

  • Patricia

    You shouldn’t allow others to influence your decision to name your child. I am more concern with the meaning attached to his or her name. I gravitate towards afro-centric names and american names. I love the name Ashanti and its meaning. And I also like the name Amber. I like the name Mark and I also like the name Malik…

    Your poem truly has placed it all in perspective. It is very beautifully written. It’s not the children’s fault what they have been named; therefore, they should not allow their names to define their character or influence their path in life.

  • Nikki

    I met a little girl a few weeks ago in a mentoring program with the name Mamaluvyu. I have an undeniably “ghetto” name (I’m a girl from the ghetto and so are my ghetto parents) but even my face dropped to the floor. Political correctness aside, some of this has got to stop.

  • LaNubiana

    @ Ms. Info

    Thank you for that and I completely agree with you. A name should have a meaning! When I was schooling in the US (Fisk) I met a few people with odd names like Tequila, I know it’s a place in Mexico other than the name of the alcoholic beverage. Howeve, why would a black person name their child either the city or the drink. Another one was a girl who I became good friends with she had a daughter who she named shitthead (pronounce shee-thee-ed). What on earth? Why? What does that mean? She said that it was unique.

    Again a name should mean something. My first name means ‘the will of God/Allah’.

  • apple

    i have a ghetto name and i hate it. what was my mother thinking? i spent my whole life re-pronouncing my name OVER AND OVER AND OVER.. i should have changed it at 13 , then all my official documents like degrees and etc would have crossed over.. no one can pronounce my name or remember it or spell it..i hate meeting people the first time to tell them my name , “what is it” “how to pronounce it?” “whats your name again?” and even just using simple phonics everyone butchers it… by 18 i started going by the short version of it, most people who have met me in the last 7 years don’t even know my real name..the short version however is hebrew male’s name according to some jews i met but whatever. i’m not going to give my children some made up name with no meaning , because this name has really screwed me. and i don’t care about “you care about what the white people are thinking” excuse ,because the white people are the ones administering the jobs,housing,admissions and everything else they own in this country.

  • Shar

    why not? what about names like brandy? is that low class?

  • Yb

    the meanings of names that people would typically think are ghetto and meaningless:

    lakeisha: a swahili name meaning “favorite one”
    lateefah: a north african name meaning “gentle and pleasant”
    latonia: a latin name. latonia was the mother of diana in roman mythology
    latisha: means “happiness”
    takiya: a north african name meaning “righteous”

    http://suzy-carmichael.tumblr.com/post/30601193906

    http://www.babycenter.com/0_popular-african-american-names_10329236.bc

    The most popular names for black children do not feature any of the ghetto stereotypical ones. This article and some of the comments skew reality and make it seem that the majority of black people hold over the top names. Untrue. Only black people in America and the U.K. are shamed for our cultures and uniqueness. This is not written out of concern but to intimidate blacks into staying into the confines of white approval.

  • Plain jane name

    YAASSS!!! My name is Angela, I know it is of Greek or Spanish origin. People who see my name before they meet me are sometimes seemingly shocked. At least sistas with the -isha or -ika in their name have their identity. I don’t have the luxury of that. And fuck people who judge because of a mere name!

    BEAUTIFUL POEM!!

  • BloominLotus

    I’m a teacher and I’ve come across a lot of names in my career. I’ve worked in predominately all black schools and currently I’m teaching in an international school.
    I’ve had students named: Delight, Uniqua, Joep, Gijs.
    But the name that gets me is Denzel. This student was from The Netherlands!
    Imagine me (a black woman) trying to wrap my mind around calling a tall, blond hair, blue eyed boy Denzel!!!

  • Yb

    the meanings of names that people would typically think are ghetto and meaningless:

    lakeisha: a swahili name meaning “favorite one”
    lateefah: a north african name meaning “gentle and pleasant”
    latonia: a latin name. latonia was the mother of diana in roman mythology
    latisha: means “happiness”
    takiya: a north african name meaning “righteous”

    Top African American names

    Baby girl names

    Aaliyah/Aliyah
    Alexandra
    Alexis
    Alyssa
    Angel
    Aniyah
    Brianna
    Chloe
    Destiny
    Diamond
    Gabrielle

    Baby boy names

    Anthony
    Brandon
    Caleb
    Cameron
    Christian
    Christopher
    Daniel
    David
    Elijah
    Ethan

    The so called “ghetto” “low class” names that apparently black people must be naming their children left and right is the minority. Only black people in America and the U.K. are shunned and ridiculed for having uniqueness and creativity in our culture. Many of the so called concern towards what we name our children is just a covert attempt to intimidate black people to confirm to white society and confines.

    How, in hand with naming our child with how they will be treated in this racist society, we also try attack and erase the bigotry they will face?
    Put I guess it’s just easier to roll over and accept and comply to the demands of racism huh?

  • srb199

    That you know of, right? Not trying to tell you what happened in your life, but I’m surmising the article is trying to point to the barriers from outside the black community. Because potentially, if discrimination occurred during an application process, or something similar where you weren’t face to face with someone in control of your status, you aren’t necessarily told why something didn’t happen. You’re just told the final outcome or decision, perhaps. And while you were, unfortunately, ridiculed by peers or other black people because of your name, did they prevent you from attaining anything? It’s certainly possible. But the degrees is important too. Or is this semantics? I digress!

  • Muse

    @peace – if you’re name is Yoruba, we have the same name :-)

  • srb199

    In a world where white people didn’t control most of the access to jobs, and resources, you’d be absolutely correct.

  • Kam

    If all Black people started naming their daughters Emily, White people would stop using the name Emily. It has nothing to do with the creativity of name but the fact that a Black body wears it. Whites will name their kid Joshua, but they won’t name their kid Malachi even though they’re both from the Bible.

    And why is it ok for Whites to make up names and not Black? Did you know the names Vanessa and Jessica were made up? As for spellings why are alternate spellings of White names allowed like Catherine/Katherine/Kathryn but when Black people do it it’s stupid?

    It’s not the name they have a problem with folks it’s the person who has it.

  • Downsouth Transplant

    @ Diane sorry, you are right we should make it significant to parents (although in my African family it means significant to the whole village almost) i made it sound personal when I said “your” problem, i caught that later over coffee, please accept my apologies for insinuating/parlaying your comment to what it was not :D

  • Cassandra

    Alize is actually a variant of the Hebrew “Alizah” meaning “joyful.” There are a lot of names that people don’t know are ancient until they look them up. When I was growing up, I met a girl named Milcah and she was teased for it. None of us knew that her name was from Genesis and means “queen.”

  • srb199

    You have to keep in mind the world your child will have to navigate. And while it should be a place where people don’t judge others based on anything that isn’t about their character or actions, that is not the world we live in. We live in a world where people are less likely to pronounce names that are not from Western Europe or an acceptable non-black American or immigrant group, are judged. Names from the Nordic region of Europe, and Eastern Europe are difficult to pronounce too, but we recognize those names are of Nordic origin, and Eastern European (or Asian, etc). because we have read or heard them associated with mostly positive things in our society. That must be a factor, but not the only factor, in how you choose to start your child off in the world. It will be the case until maybe Latinos over take the majority white American population. Maybe research the names of people online or on LinkedIn to see the kinds of work they are doing. I think that is a responsible thing to do.

  • TPerk

    I know 2 Malachis. Both white.

  • Elizabeth

    There is a difference between a true African name and something made up from tv etc. It is true, I have female friend African American Anastasia Fitzgerald) won’t give her last who was constantly called in for an interview when the rest of us never received a nibble from applications. She was told many times, we did not know you were “black”. This was back in the 70-80s so employers do look at names.

  • Yb

    Damn Rochelle. You went innnnnnnnn. But I can’t agrue a thing you wrote. Agree completely. Some black people are on that I’m-a-special-snowflake-black-person-bullshit.

  • Yvette

    Lol, stop it. You almost made me choke on my lunch!

  • Cocochanel31

    #done! I cannnt! loool

  • Pseudonym

    Don’t have time for a long comment, but: http://www.salon.com/2008/08/25/creative_black_names/

    and also, post slavery, the prefixes and suffixes were added to names to be unique. It’s bad enough many black Americans have the last names of the men who enslaved, raped, and mistreated their ancestors. Can they at least have a break from Imperialism and not have to have their first names as well?

  • Ms. Information

    @ Lana Candida is a genus of yeasts. Many species are harmless commensals or endosymbionts of hosts including humans, but other species, or harmless species in the wrong location, can cause disease.

  • LillyP

    Have you ever asked your mother what she was thinking?

  • Mademoiselle

    Denzel never struck me as a name originated from the African Diaspora. I even believe the pronunciation that we’re used to Den – ZEL with an inflection on the latter E is actually originally pronounced DEN – zl, with the latter E muted (the way Rapunzel would be pronounced).

    I also think Uniqua is very common. I grew up with a few, have friends with kids that currently have the name, and its one of the Backyardigans’ names.

    How do you pronounce Gijs? (genuine question)

  • Sila

    Parents should be careful. I agree that creativity sometimes goes too far and people of all cultures are guilty of this:-) Its unfortunate when a name adversely affects a child. Especially since children have no say in such matters.

  • http://fromthoughtsintowords.blogspot.com/ rkahendi

    I’m with you on this, Psudonym. Some of the names put a smile on my face, as do the invented Swahili origins of others, but, in principle, I do like the creativity. I’ve often wondered if some of those prefixes and suffixes had specific meanings in the distant past.

    I have to say that black naming conventions are not as unusual as mainstream Americans like to make them sound. Every culture has unique naming traditions. And people from other cultures routinely find them weird and laugh at them. If we were to objectively look at “normal” American names and to examine their origins, we would quickly find that some of them had origins in other nations’ languages, and that yet others had been made up.

    The unique thing about America is that many immigrants felt that they had to Anglicize their names upon arrival on the Eastern shores. It wasn’t enough to have so-called Christian first names. They even had to change their surnames. That’s why we have people of Chinese/ Korean/ Russian/ German/ Arab descent walking around with English-sounding names. That is what is unfortunate about naming systems in America.

  • Chrissy

    Yes, but I bet from the example above that ‘Alize’ was supposed to be the alcohol

  • Julie

    Alizé is a very common name in Europe. It’s the name of a wind. There’s also a french singer called Alizée. But yeah, it’s kinda weird to name your kid after a wind.

  • http://vyletlite.wordpress.com Q.Lazen

    I like how no one ever comments on the many Asian names that are often times hard to pronounce but it is just accepted because they are Asian. Are they not denied the same jobs as Blacks? –nope and for that reason alone we should try to maintain our own cultural identity and not assimilate into a eurocentric, white supremacist world.

    We are beautiful, creative and invaluable. Don’t water down our culture..JUICE it up!

    Just a thought

  • Chrissy

    The point is to at least have the company read your resume so you could get an interview. Does that mean you will get hired? No. But the more applications you send in the more interviews you could possibly get.

    You want to at least be able to get your foot in the door. You dont want the door to close before you even open it.
    Discrimination based on names is a real thing.

    Also like I said, certain sounding/spelling names are going to be assumed the person is low class or ‘ghetto.’

    Example you have two applicant both black (the person reviewing the resume doesn’t know that yet). One is Britney the other is Lakweeshia. Both have the same qualifications. Who do you think will at least get the interview?

    Im not saying these people are not bigots but it is reality.

  • JessMc.

    My name is Jessica…And as far as I know my name is Hebrew and it means woman of wealth….granted it was one of the most popular name in the 80s, I have never heard or or known it to be made up…

  • Jaslene

    There was white Malachi in the Children if the Corn. Also what spelling of the name is shamed in black folks usually its shamed because if you look at the spelling it is not the correct spelling.

  • Jaslene

    She clearly stated she was a substitute teacher and they are babysitters.

  • apple

    that combining my name with my dads and my cousin’s surnames was cute and trendy in the 80s.. -_-

  • ?!?

    I agree. It’s not creative when it’s getting your kid laughed at. I actually think it’s kind of selfish and people are saying well those people are close minded. Yea well books will get judged by covers no matter how much people complain about the world being unfair. You adjust and come out on top. Black people are already discriminated against, but crazy names with NO thought on a lot of the parents’ part does not help the problem.

    And who says you have to name your kid Ashley? No one, but I think people should be able to look at a name and pronounce it. Names like Tania, Taneka, and Shameka are different from these other names with unnecessary apostrophes and vowels and silent consonants. Names that come from Africa are fine, but like the author said, people have gone to a completely different level when it comes to naming kids.

    It’s not a black white thing. It’s a ridiculous name thing. When Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, I thought what was she thinking. Some man named his child helicopter inspector. He was white.

    This whole I should be able to name my child whatever I want and people are close minded thing is silly to me. It is similar to thinking that you should be able to wear baggy pants and speak Ebonics and not get discriminated against. Is it fair? No. But African Americans probably know more than any other group that life is not fair. Are people thinking about their children’s future when they’re trying to be creative? And this is what I mean about putting children FIRST. Parents should be dedicated to providing their kids with the best opportunities. How are you going to start off naming your child something that will get her discriminated against when you know the discriminatory practices of companies? Then you will complain that the world is not fair. That’s okay. Companies will just look at all the Ashleys and Kims. Asian American people are not very far removed from their Old World cultures, but they don’t even name their kids Asian names. Are they whitewashed? No. They’re going to give their kid every little advantage they can.

  • apple

    Aaliyah is a top african american name??? well go Aaliyah (RIP) !

  • apple

    Actually asians usually have “american names” they go by so people can pronounce them easier.. if you around alot asians (school or work) you may wonder why you call them julie/diane/alex/jack/sam/ashley but go look at their license or official documentation and see thuy/truc/suchin/tomakoto/phuong/chan as their real names

  • Jaslene

    You sound like you are the basic broad making comments on people’s comments without reading them. I hope that you are no longer a teacher.

  • BloominLotus

    You are correct about pronouncing “Denzel.” It took me so long to pronounce his name right! I always thought of Mr. Washington!

    Gijs is pronounced like “heist” without the “t” or put an “h” in front of “ice.”

    Since I started teaching internationally I’m always excited to find out the first names of my students. (Don’t get me started on trying to pronounce LAST names! lol)

  • African Mami

    Excuse me, Lakeisha is NOT a Kiswahili name, thank you very much. Neither is it Kiswahili!

  • karmell

    To me, your name is an extension of you. You will be judged for it, good or bad, like it or not. That being said, I love my name (Sarita) and could never imagine being anything else. Have I had issues because of it? Plenty. Have I let it phase me? not since 3rd grade. However, some of these names are just out of control. I can’t pronounce half the kids’ names in my daughters class. And yes, I have asked the parents WHY they named them these names. If you want to be creative, more power to you, just remember, you can always be creative with the middle name, and have something at least pronounceable for the first.

  • Ms. Information

    My mom was the director of a hospital and she caught the human resource director trashing the resumes of the “ghetto” names…I think some on the thread are mixing up the point….in my opinion Aisha is not ghetto…in my opinion Tanqueray Sola’mayunique…it is just a matter of opinion…

    The name of a man is a numbing blow from which he never recovers. ~Marshall McLuhan

  • Moni

    I grew up with a black Denzel (pronounced the “right” way), so I had to adjust to Denzel Washington, instead of the other way around. My West Indian/British/American influenced island created an interesting mix of names, even in the black population.

  • Blue

    Names are supposed to have meaning. Our people seem to name our kids these “creative” names just because they sound nice & not giving much thought to what is behind the name.

  • Mademoiselle

    I think you’re both right. @Apple, I learned from my Asian friends that a lot of them choose their names as soon as they know they’re coming stateside, but @Q.Lazen, they rarely ever change their last names which are very distinct but don’t seem to be obstacles for them.

  • Yb

    Well hey, take it up with the owner of the tumblr who’s account I posted in the link.

  • karmell

    but some of them don’t even sound nice!

  • Kacey

    The first part of this piece – where the author describes the names on the attendance sheet – made me crack up!

    But seriously, I don’t think people realize how much damage they are doing to their children with these names. From school to employment, “black” names will put your kid at a disadvantage in this race-obsessed society in which we live. If some people refuse to believe or accept that fact…so be it!

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    There’s reality and then there’s idealism. Americans, in general, have a very infantile understanding of reality.

    Yes, people are allowed to name children whatever they like; however, people with obviously Black ethnic names experience more discrimination, particularly on the job front.

    There have been repeated studies that have shown that names that are deemed stereotypically Black do not get call backs when applying for jobs; other ethnic names that suffer job discrimination include Muslim-associated names. http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-575685.html

    Want to be creative? Fine. But understand that having a name that has certain class and race-associations will mean that you’ll be victim of persistent discrimination. Is it worth loses thousands and thousands of dollar over a lifetime? Is it worth never being upwardly mobile? Would you be able to work abroad with an extremely strange name?I think the questions answer themselves.

    I would even go so far as to suggest that people with the most egregious and frankly strange names — like Candida (yes, as in a yeast infection) — might consider changing their names in adulthood.

  • Sick

    I agree Q, and in the meantime, we should take our power and create our own jobs and we would not have to care about them knowing the resume belongs to a black person. We spend 257 BILLION dollars per year on goods and services, if we buy black we keep our power and can name our kids Pooppoop and it would not matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up black folks, stop giving away your power!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mademoiselle

    I got what you were saying, but at the same time Brittany may get the interview, but if the hiring manager trashed Lakwesha’s resume because he or she thinks it’s a black person’s resume, Brittany won’t be hired either because she is black. The point is that manager is a bigot, looking for a reason to disqualify black people from the position. If it doesn’t happen at the application stage, it’s bound to happen during the interview because the manager is looking for a reason to disqualify black applicants. Both Brittany and Lakwesha will end up at the same starting point, except Brittany’s time would’ve also been wasted with a fruitless interview.

    It’s not like someone who says, “Trash all the ‘isha’ resumes because I can already tell who’s going to show up for the interview” is going to turn around and go “I was expecting you to be white with a name like Brittany, but since your name managed to fool me, I’ll reconsider whether you’re actually qualified for the position instead of prejudging you.”

  • http://gravatar.com/dginki Kim

    Many early Saints had the name Candida. It stems from the Latinword candidus which means “white”. Bernard Shaw wrote a play called Candida. Candida albicans was not on his mind.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    ” It has nothing to do with the creativity of name but the fact that a Black body wears it”

    I’m sorry, but it really is the names: they are disproportionately used with certain classes and communities. Also, Blacks and Whites actually did have the same names in previous decades.

    What happened?

    The disintegration of Black American families and a poorly formed cultural identity. People are attempting to create a cultural legacy that does not exist (particularly with faux African names). Naming tends to be part of a generational and sometimes religious legacy. With collapsing families and social values out goes everything, including traditional names.

  • Kacey

    “The names aren’t the problem. The bigots who judge someone’s worth by something that was given to them at birth are.”

    As true as this may be, it won’t change. Black people are a marginalized group in a racist society. The society isn’t going to change to suit us, so we have to find a way to conform without completely disposing of cultural identity. I don’t think the name thing, of all things, should be our priority in this.

    Why not give the kid a “conventional” name that’s used for school, work, and all other things official and non-personal, and have a nick name or alternate name that’s used by family and close friends? That’s what asians do and I doubt they feel any less asian for doing it.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    Yes, naming a child after a liquor is low class.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    “Clamedia, which sounds just like the infamous sexually transmitted disease”

    And when Clamedia grows up and decides she wants to be an OB/GYN, how many patients should we estimate she’d get?

    I cannot understand how people on this thread are defending these names?

  • Perspective

    What’s your name little girl?

    “CongraDulashayla spelled with a D not a T.”

    Hmmm I’m willing to bet her parents didn’t know how to spell congratulations.

  • ?!?

    @Mademoiselle – I disagree. Companies will not hire Lakweeisha because they think she is low class. Brittany may be black, and there are companies that will weed her out, but black people with traditional names will do better in the job market. That is because sometimes it’s not just about being black. It’s about being what they think will be a stereotypical low class black person. Brittanies make companies feel good about being diverse, and they seem like less of a gamble.

    A name conveys a lot. So if you are a black Brittany and do well in the interview, a company still might hire you because you seem classy whereas a Lakweeisha who herself may be classy won’t even get the opportunity because they think she is not classy.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    Thank you. This names stupidity is an example of outright foolishness in the Black community — I truly detested when I was a sub and going through all these names KNOWING that these children’s names would be a permanent impediment to upward mobility.

    It is not worth the consequence to experiment with a child’s name.

  • African Mami

    lolll, nah! It’s not that serious ma sista.

  • Mademoiselle

    Asians don’t give their kids different names to live in American society. They name their kids Asian names, and those kids select alternative names for themselves when they apply for visas, etc. Their official names on all government documents, however, are the names given to them at birth by their Asian parents.

    I don’t agree that we shouldn’t fight to maintain culture through our names.

    I’m not advocating for people to name their kids after material things or pop culture or the like, but your name is part of your identity. That’s why Oprah can go by one name and still be identified, or Condoleeza, or Barack, or Beyonce, etc. Names evoke emotions, thoughts, and familiarity. If they didn’t, then the majority of black people in the USA would still be named after the ancestors that survived the Middle Passage. Instead, those unique identifiers of each slaves homeland, tribe, family, origins were stripped right along with their dignity to force them to assimilate into their masters’ world.

    Names hold a lot of power. So I stand strong for the continuation of thoughtfully unique names, especially in African-American culture where everything that identifies AA culture is systemically called into question, belittled, stamped out because some white person deemed it low-class.

  • canyonboy

    Um, that would be because their names come from another language, unlike Quaneshia, LaDiarrhea, etc. the Asian names are another language and they don’t have negative stereotypes about what their job performance will be like.

  • http://ladyngo.blogspot.com Lady Ngo

    Its Igbo, not ibo. Not throwing shade but, it just grates my nerves when people mispell or mispronounce it.

  • Diana

    I agree with you that we should empower our black community and buy “black” whenever we can, but it’s also a White, Hispanic, Asian issue as well. There was a substitute teacher at my brothers school who mocked a girl’s name who was named Candie(and yes she was white) for a stripper sounding name. There are names that are considered “white trash” that employers won’t touch with a 10 ft pole either. There is obviously blatant discrimination and I don’t deny that, but there are some names that make me even scratch my head in sheer disbelief…

  • Mademoiselle

    The issue I have with these studies that keep getting cited is they’re comparing how many people get called for interviews, and people are assuming the discrimination stops at the application. What the study doesn’t correlate is how many black people with uncommon names are getting employed compared to black people with common names, and white people of both subsets. My guess is for the black people that didn’t get disqualified on paper, a significant number of the remaining group got disqualified in person.

    It’s no secret that black people are discriminated against. This name trick only pushes up the timeline of it happening.

    So for all the people thinking you’re giving your kids a leg up by naming them something “mainstream”, I’d advise you to remember that black people don’t get legs up in this country. You can’t tell me there haven’t been times when you or your friends who have “mainstream” names have shown up for an interview where the hiring manager thought they were getting a white candidate, and the tone of the room completely changed from hopeful to impossible/patronizing.

    Also, chances are when you work outside of your native land, regardless of what your name is, yours will very likely stand out from the “common” names of that country, which will likely make it difficult for the natives to pronounce your name. America does not set the standard worldwide.

  • aziza

    Latifa and takiya are arabic names, not north-african per sé.

  • Sanura Hart

    @ Ms Info: you;re right..Aisha is far from “ghetto”, it’s a beautiful name. It is an Arab name (just like Omar, Jamal, etc) but the minute a black person picks a certain name for their child people think it’s “ghetto”. Terrible.

  • Chrissy

    @ ?!?

    That’s actually where I was getting at. Certain black people with certain names are going to be assumed to be ‘ghetto’ or ‘lower’ class.

    Britney and Lakweeshia could both be from the ‘hood’ or working/middle class. But when people see hear Lakweeshia they are most likely going to associate her with the lower ‘hood’ black person.

    I’m not saying this is right or fair. If anything AAs/Black ppl already know the world is not fair so why keep putting roadblock in your child’s way.

    I’m also not saying a person with a very black name will never get a job or anything like that. But there may have been more opportunities they missed that they didn’t even know about.

  • http://gravatar.com/lovegiraffes onegirl

    @ Cassandra, I do not think the mom was thinking of a Hebrew name, or else she wouldn’t have the accent at the end, and

    @Chrissy, thank you!

  • Mademoiselle

    How many doctors do you refer to by their first names? She could easily have everything listed as Dr. C. Surname, and no one would need or think to refer to her first name.

  • Kacey

    Thank you, Colette. Like I said before, I think we’re fighting the wrong battles.

  • http://twitter.com/gennatay Gennatay (@gennatay)

    Honestly, no matter how great someones resume is, I may not give them an interview if I can’t remotely try to pronounce their name.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rochee.jeffrey RJ

    Here’s the thing: I am all for creativity and I am all for black people being subversive when it makes sense, but naming your child DahyQwa-neesha is not creative, it’s just plain ole’ ignorant. Some of these names don’t even make sense phonetically. A lot of these parents can’t read or spell.

    And can we stop pretending that naming your child an unusual name like Apple or Pilot is the same thing as naming your daughter Aerykisha? If someone sees the name Apple on application, they think “Hmm, what an unusual name. Her parents must be hippies.” When people see the name Aerykisha, they think “Hmmm, what a ghetto name. Her parents must be ghetto as hell.” There is a difference. Is it fair? No. But, is life?

    I have a friend with two little cousins – one cousin is a girl named Klarke (her parents are well-educated black folks, the other little cousin is named Janiyah (young parents living in the inner-city). I have no problem with the name Janiyah, but who is probably going to get more call backs for job interviews? Klarke. Will Janiyah be a failure because of her more ethnic-sounding name? Nope. But, these dynamics are a function of reality of the world we live in.

    As a parent, you have a responsibility to give your child the best chance of being successful, their name is your first opportunity to help them succeed. Clarke’s parents were creative in spelling her name and giving her a masculine-sounding name, but their creativity will not circumscribe their daughter’s future career opportunities.

  • http://twitter.com/gennatay Gennatay (@gennatay)

    Its the fact that those name have a MEANING and others don’t. Why shouldn’t black people demand better of generations after themselves and teach them the importance of a name. these parents really aren’t giving their kids any names with meaning, they are made up, usually trying to be “original” with the spelling of a word. I cringe when I see the many different spelling of a name/word like Destiny, Destinee, Destanie etc

  • Mademoiselle

    Ok, but destiny is a meaning. What’s wrong with derivations of destiny when you have Mary, Marie, Maria, Mari, etc all derived from the same origin yet equally accepted?

  • Nikki

    That’s just like Paula Jai Parker naming her son “Onederful Vanglorious Jaxon N’krumah Martin.” I guess she was trying to be cute and coy wit “Onderful,” and wanted to be creative with “Jaxon,” then wanted to salute the late Ghanaian president with “N’krumah.” But Vanglorious…when the word is Vainglorious…UNFORGIVABLE

  • Charle

    Not “Mamaluvyu”!!! I just died. XD

  • http://gravatar.com/g2-5bad1203f6a970f65345273e8eff5cd2 jazzyphile

    My all time favorite: La-sha (La Dash Sha)!

  • Diana

    *Igbo my phone autocorrects like crazy did not mean to misspell that :(

  • http://gravatar.com/g2-5bad1203f6a970f65345273e8eff5cd2 jazzyphile

    Wait…I forgot about “Jermajesty” Jermaine Jackson’s son.

  • Humanista

    My name is very VERY uncommon, and it’s Spanish in origin. I always have to correct people (especially older individuals), but it’s not difficult to say (no crazy letter combinations or anything). I run into issues w/ people not mispronouncing my name, but just wanting to call me something that they’ve heard before, despite what I’ve said or what’s on paper.

    I recently had someone (Indian)–upon learning my name–get all “well, when I came to America, *I* made sure my name was easy to pronounce” and I nearly gave him the finger lol. I know with my name–and a lot of names–it’s just a matter of people not really caring enough to say it correctly, which isn’t a good reason to change it if you like it and it’s part of your heritage.

    I think you run into issues when you start to name your kids after material goods and etc. w/o true meaning or heritage. In naming my own children, I will definitely shy away from naming them something that is class-specific (which is why the Shaneequas are dismissed, because people envision a specific “class” of Negro).

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    With a name like Clamedia, no one would be giving her the money to start her own practice, so it’d be irrelevant if I knew her name or not!

  • http://twitter.com/gennatay Gennatay (@gennatay)

    @mademoiselle yes the name/word Destiny has meaning, the other spelling do not. Mary, Marie etc are the same name that is spelled different based in what language its spoken in.

  • http://gravatar.com/khrish67 khrish67

    I so agree that some names are just going to give employers a reason not to interview someone who may be ideal for the job. I had one little girl in class whose name I just couldn’t pronounce, and I’m pretty good at sounding out a name. This child had no vowels in her name. Now I feel that someone did a lot of work to create that name and some harm to the child who will have to spell it, write it or get call back because the employer can’t pronounce it to call back. Some people do just take things too far.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I can’t see why someone stereotype someone based on their name alone but sadly many people do and these are the things parents have to think about, especially for black kids to give them an edge in today’s world. But is it just me or are other people starting to notice non-black people with so called “black” names now? My name is Brittany and I have a Irish last name and when someone introduce me or calls my name they are usually surprised like they weren’t expecting it especially if I use my nickname “Bree”. These days I don’t assume who name is attached to whom and try to predict what they look like or how they would behave because names are sort of a free for all. Personally, I don’t police parents on how they should name their child, ideally you want your kid to have an unique, creative and meaningful name but sometimes unique and creative goes from cute to “huh?” Especially, when moms try to combine her name and the father’s name, to me that is usually a BIG don’t. Plus, celebrity influences isn’t making it any better! But as mention those who discriminate on someone based on their name is in the wrong NOT the parents and the person with the name.

  • Diana

    No problem, I suppose I read it wrong as well. Apologies accepted. :)

  • Mademoiselle

    Destinée is French, the origin of “destiny.” Maybe you should cringe at all the Destiny’s of the world instead.

    Not sure where Destanie comes from, but it’s not the first nor only name to ever be created by altering the spelling of an already existent name. Even Abram became Abraham, and that was the same man wearing different spellings of his own name.

  • Debbie

    “But Vanglorious…when the word is Vainglorious…UNFORGIVABLE” lmaooooo

  • Sandy

    My daughters name is Janiya and I don’t consider that “ethnic” as you say. It’s actually Hebrew and it’s derived from the name Joanna.It means “God is gracious.” Oh and I don’t live in the inner city either.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    I was calling roll in a class, once, and I got to a student’s name. I said, Hey-sus (figuring it was a Latin name). He said, “No, my name is Jesus.” That’s right, as in Jesus Christ. I was completely blown away but had to call him by his name, Jesus (yeah, as in the son of God).

    Seriously, what does that do to a kid psychologically? How is he going to find work in the future?

  • Barbara

    Yes, yes, yes, black mothers please stop this nonsense. SMH, we used to give our kids names that meant something now it’s almost all nonsensical, misspelled, bastardization of actual names. Why my people, why???? It’s to the point where it’s rare to meet a black person without a dumb (cover your ears PC police) ghetto /hood rat name.

  • MzKane

    Every woman should be aware of what candida is. There is no excuse for that.

  • http://twitter.com/AlaiaWilliams Alaia Williams (@AlaiaWilliams)

    My good friend had a student with that name!! I can’t believe there is more than one kid out there with that name…

  • Barbara

    Who said it was okay for white people? No offense, but IDGAF about what white people are doing? Can we ever ever have a discussion without the “but but white people do it to!” EFF’EM, 1. Don’t care what they’re naming their kids 2, let’s pretend I do care, stop the B.S, we all know damn well most whites aren’t giving their kids made up trashy names.

  • Von

    Lol. I don’t think that’s much of an issue. that’s a commom hispanic name. Jesus and Jesus (the son of god) are pronounced the same in Spanish. It’s just not common for for Americans to call someone Jesus (English pronunciation).

  • Keepitreal

    I notice every hood rat-ish behavior is categorized as “black culture” ummmm since when? I also notice every common sense behavior is categorized as “acting white” WTF is that about? Just this week, I read comment after comment on valuing a college education as a white trait, watching one’s weight as succumbing to white European standards and now naming your kids garbage that means absolutely nothing and is spelled in “ebonics” = being authentically black? GTFO and learn about our past because this shit right here is NOT us.

  • Kam

    Alright then if it is the name, then why are Tyrone, Demetrius and Jamal stigmatized. None of those names are made up. Why is Latisha stigmatized when it’s just a variant of the Greek Leticia?

    Please, WASPs are not naming their sons Malachi in large numbers. Perhaps Jewish people, but it’s not considered a “White” name.

    Anyway, I won’t say anything more. My personal philosophy right now is tell Black folks something twice, then move on.

  • Keepitreal

    LaDiarrhea LMAO!

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    When it comes to parents picking out names for their children, I am not judgemental. The only thing I would say is give the progeny names that has significance.
    But, I will say that what really bugs me is when people attach the “ghetto black name” stigma to people who do not have the stereotypical “black name”. A person could have a first name that is from Irish/Italian/Latin/Greek origin, but due to the color of his/her skin, his/her parents are accused of giving their children “non-job interview-friendly”.
    I know a few Francois, Vincenzo’s, Thierry’s, Giovanni’s, Milan’s, Anastasia’s, Delphine’s and Domenico’s, who are black and whose mothers are being disrespected.

  • Kam

    It’s not naivete. Studies show that those with the “creative names” are less likely to be called in for an interview. They are also likely to be jailed. But let’s be honest, it’s not about the names, it’s about views of class and race. I don’t knock anyone who gives their child a European name for them to get ahead, really. But I’m not going to sit here and blame someone for naming their child Latisha either and call it derogatory names like “strange” and “stupid” .

    Candida is not just yeast infection. It’s a play, it’s music, it’s a place name etc. That’s why people shouldn’t judge names.

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    I love the name ‘Sarita’.
    If I was crazy, selfish and delusional enough to have children and I have a daughter, her name would be Sarita.

  • Tonton Michel

    “because I’m almost certain there’s a baby named Courvoisier running around out there”, damn sure is tutored him at his middle school in the Lakewood area of Atlanta. Normal kid for that area but that was his name. As for the rest of this article, if there willing to judge you based on your name because they judge black people then changing it won’t do a thing to change it. And really why in God’s name would you want to? To please “them”? I will say one thing about these rebellious for no reason, younger generation. They don’t give a rats butt what anyone thinks and they keep on doing them, win, lose or draw. I wish more blacks would adapt that little bit instead of worrying about what others think.

  • http://gravatar.com/deniserena so what?

    …To your face.

  • AUSSIE

    My name is Australia. I love it! I have met white, black, hispanic women and men of the same name via facebook. I’ve had a few of my own people tell me it’s ghetto. I’ve gotten interviews and been hired bc a white person thought it was “so cool” they had to meet me. There’s Barack, Condoleeza, Whoopi, Kanye, Beyonce, Rihanna, Karrueche and them seem QUITE FINE.

  • Rochelle

    YOU NEED TO GET ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS SO MAYBE YOU WON’T BE BROKE AS A JOKE AND BEGGING PEOPLE FOR JOBS.

  • Anthony

    I remember when I was a sub and at times kids were angry because I missed pronounced their names. My retort was always, “Do you know anyone else with your name? Why would you expect me to know how to pronounce it the first time I ever see it?”

    My biggest problem is that too many of these names make no sort of phonetic sense, and not just in English, but in any language of which I have a knowledge.

    As for my own kids, they have traditional European sounding names. I simply want my kids to make it to an interview. I have no right to tell others how to name their children, but I am very comfortable with the decision my wife and I made concerning the names of our children.

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    um okay but names like paris and london are okay simply because white people name their kids that too?

    this is sad! why isn’t anybody calling paris hilton’s parents ghetto for naming her after a city?

  • …..

    Beyonce (Creole), Barack (Kenyan), and Karrueche (Vietnamese) were given these names because it reflects thier Actual Culture! Rihannas real name is Robyn which isnt in the least bit ghetto, and Whoopis real name is Caryn (which isnt ghetto either). Condoleeza is an Italian name and Kanye is an Igbo name..meaning these names werent just randomly made up.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    Actually the name, “Vanglorious” is from a song by a classic hip hop group called X-Clan. So maybe she was paying homage to that group by naming him that.

  • The Other Jess

    The best yet is still this one – http://i.cdn.turner.com/ireport/sm/prod/2009/01/19/EM00375384/375384/Ireportprod-FwFirstDayOfSchool5YearsFromNow478810_lg.jpg

    Obamalama Hicks forever! I’ll ever forget this cartoon – hilarious and so true!

  • The Other Jess

    But on a serious note, Black folks, keep your names and be proud of them. It is not “ghetto” to name your kids uniquely. Much of the world does it, actually. So the T’Kyesha’s and Le Michaels of the world be proud. Don’t let anybody make youhang your head in shame.

    Because all of these names sure beat “Becky”, “Amy” and “Jean” any day!

  • The Other Jess

    totally agree Chanela. Black people are crazy. i like our names! Everybody doesn’t have to be named corny ass names like Marty and Annie. Plz! And by the way, half of the ‘white” names that we have are from the poor, broke, ignorant Europeans anyway. So who’s really ghetto?!?

  • The Other Jess

    How do you know? Maybe all of these names were made up in their country of origin? Maybe the Italians, Igbo, Vietnamese, etc combined names to make them up – just bcuz we don’t know how they determined their names doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    People from South India combine and make up names all the time – it’s what they prefer, and it hadn’t held them back. And Creole, btw, is a combination of several cultures, and their names probably reflect that combination – meaning they made up names by throwing together 3 or 4 different cultural sounds/meanings.

    Love yourselves and quit hating on others for 1) having the guts to either be creative and original, or 2) at least try to not have standard, boring, corny whitewashed names!

    So what if it isn’t from any specific country of origin?? Because then, if you’re wearing an Italian, Indian, Tanzanian, or Japanese name people have something negative to say about that too – like you’re trying to copy their culture or accuse you of not being proud to be black.

    So please! As long as you don’t name your kid Dirt or HIV, or something else crazy, who cares?

  • The Other Jess

    OMG, I actually agree with Tonton! Cosign!

  • The Other Jess

    People need to quit with this whole “job interview” thing. Even if “Klarke” gets more callbacks than “Janiyah”, if the interviewer is biased or prejudiced, they will eliminate “Klarke” from job consideration as well as soon as they speak to/see her.

    America got used to Polish immigrants with names full of all kinds of consonants scrambled together in odd orders throughout their names, pronounced nothing like they were spelled (i.e. wojciechowski, pronounced WUHJUH-HOUSESKI or wisniewskiczyk pronounced WIZ-NEW-SKI-CHECK), so folks can damn well get used to our more unique names.

    How are you going to make that kid feel degrading his/her name and parents? It’s ridiculous and as bad as when the slavers told Kunta Kinte was worse than Toby.

  • The Other Jess

    Many Polish people don’t have any vowels in their names and I’m sure you would learn just fine how to pronounce their names, if their kids were in your class.

    Black people need to stand up for their names and if a teacher gives a student grief about their name, their parents need to take their butts straight to court for harrassment and discrimination!

    You have ZERO say in what a parent chooses to name their kid (unless it’s extremely detrimental or vulgar). And as a teacher, you damn well better learn to pronounce that childs’ name correctly, just as that kid tells you it’s pronounced. SMH at the ignorance here! Who gives these people the right to tell a person what to name their child??

    I hate seeing Black people with names like Victoria – you’re not British or the Queen of England, so why should you have that name? Why? Because your mother wanted you to have it, that’s why! And that’s all that needs to be said.

  • The Other Jess

    THANK. YOU. MADEMOISELLE.

  • The Other Jess

    actually, Ms Information, Candida is also a Latina name meaning “dazzling”. And a famous author wrote aplay of the same name. Checked it out in Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_%28play%29

  • Pingback: Black Names: Creativity Gone Wild? | TheJusticeTeam

  • jourdan

    I kid you not… one of my mom’s friend’s name is A’bc. It’s pronounced “uh-bee-cee” but you cannot tell me that is of African descent!! LOL

  • The Other Jess

    Black people of the 1940s, 50s and 60s had very standard, “American”, “white” names and, as we all know, those names didn’t get them jobs any faster, or anything else.

  • The Other Jess

    We had the most “mainstream” names in the 40s, 50s and 60s and they gotus nowhere. In fact, during slavery our names were VERY mainstream because we had to have them, and we know how that ended up. People please. Name your kids what ou want as long as it’s not vulgar and keep it moving. And to all those so adamant about how some Black people choose to name their kids, face up to your own classism, elitism, and cowardice.

  • The Other Jess

    well, your name is Gennatay..why are you criticizing anybody?

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    not only that, people are complaining about “black names” being objects and random things… go to a babybook or a website with name meanings and you’ll see that every name means some random object in another language! look at native american names “john runningwater”.

    what is wrong with wanting to have SOME sort of a damn culture? everybody else gets to have at their creative names without criticism. if you make fun of somebody for being named “chin so fat” or “sum ting wong” people would say ” well that’s their culture!leave them alone” so why can’t we have our keishas and shaihidas?

    obviously there are silly people who name their kids facebook ,marijuana pepsi,adolf hitler (all real names by the way) but people make a HUGE deal out of unique spellings n stuff.

    every time black people do something it’s taken in negatively… big butts=ugly,big lips=ugly,creative hairstyles at a hair show,ghetto,naming a child saleisha=ghetto

    yet when non white people do ANY of those then everybody praises them for being unique and avante garde and innovative. people actually believe that jlo and kim k are the first to have big butts.. meanwhile all the black women in hollywood are ignored and considered ugly. SMH

  • http://gravatar.com/chanela17 chanela17

    OMG i had just said the same thing! this girl just told me earlier that she knew a white waitress with that name.

    i was like “there are more than one!??!”

  • The Other Jess

    people scoff at Nigerian names too. Does that mean you’re going to change it for them? get over it and leave people alone about their names.

  • The Other Jess

    Sarita is also a name from India

  • Antonio

    The way people respond to names is a direct reflection of how they will respond to the idea of difference all together. The negative attitude they have towards an unusual name is a direct reflection of the attitude that they will have towards what they may consider unusual or different people all together. Most bigots (Blacks included) are bothered when people have names that reflect another way of life, way of thinking, or culture.

  • Mademoiselle

    How many people would know those names weren’t made up just by looking at them on a resume or hearing them for the first time (particulary names like “Condoleeza” and “Karrueche”)? I doubt anyone goes researching name origins before throwing out the ghetto label.

    Also, from some of the comments on this thread, I’d wager lots of people think Robyn instead of Robin and Caryn instead of Karen were in fact ghetto because they’re “misspelled” from the “original” version.

  • Mademoiselle

    I like Treybama — don’t even know why :)

  • Mademoiselle

    You beat me to the punch. This was my exact conclusion to all the excuses people come up with for trying to force their inherited notions of standard acceptible practices on everyone else. “Act like us or be subject to our ridicule/hatred.”

  • Pingback: Black Names: Creativity Gone Wild? |

  • Mademoiselle

    @MzKane I didn’t know it until this thread, and doubt I ever would’ve unless and until I was ever diagnosed with a yeast infection (or decided to pursue a medical profession, which won’t be happening this far into my current career).

  • http://gravatar.com/wikkedhuccle Alex

    I had no problem reading along with this article until I read “The name tells at least part of the story”?! What story does a persons name actually tell about them? I really need to know these!!!!!

  • Anthony

    That cartoon is too funny and I bet is happening already!

  • Kelly

    This is so true !

  • Ms. Johnson

    Thank you for writting this. After teaching for 22 years I have collected names of students that should have been highlighted in this article. Most are phonetically incorrect and no stranger would be able to pronounce without help from the owner. It’s just sad.

  • simplyme

    I think people should really stop caring what others choose to name their own children… the repercussions can be negative, but its not the fault of the parents or their name choices, but rather the prejudice in the hearts of the people who judge others based on something as ridiculous as a name. Would we tell arabs to change their name so they would stop being discriminated against at the airport? No. We would address the issue of discrimination first hand. The problem isn’t the actual name (whether its “normal” sounding or has a real meaning or not) but rather the fact that people associate those names with “Blackness”…which is the real issue. If it isn’t the name it will be something else.
    I understand that parents should think about that when naming their children to prevent them from receiving more discrimination than they otherwise would in life, but its not the parent’s fault or even duty. Its like the rape and short skirt situation. Wearing a short skirt doesn’t make it your fault if you are raped. This reads more like the “girls should not be wearing short skirts because they’re inviting rapists” approach…how about addressing the rapists? Hiding names on job applications would be a start…

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    I am Creole. Beyonce is not a Creole name — it’s made up.

  • Erica

    Wow!

  • http://peculiaralex.tumblr.com Alex

    this not these…

  • tj

    I think that the value of education and status comes into play. Celebs can name their children anything they want because chances are that their kids will never have to fill out a job application. The financial backing and status of the parent most likely will carry the kid throughout life. Also, I believe companies are willing to gamble more on an applicant with a Asian, Indian or African name (Yes, you can usually tell the difference between a made up African American name versus a name selected by foreign African parents) because their cultures usually value education more than black people in the states. I believe the perceived notion will be that the foreign sounding named applicant will take the job more seriously and possibly add value to the team. Companies do not want applicants that speak “Ebonics”, have inferior educations, or that have bad attitudes. Therefore, interviewers use name discrimination tactics as a way to weed these applicants out. It’s absolutely unfair, however, it is something that parents are well aware of when they select baby names for their children.

  • …..

    @Colette I NEVER said her name was a creole name. I put creole in parenthesis to show that, that is her culture. Her name was given to her to honor her mothers last name (Beyince) and that DOES reflect her actual culture. My point was the name like Beyonce or Barack might not be conventional or normal names but they have beauty to them because they come from acutal cultures.Its not some made up mumbo jumbo mess.

  • alizoom

    Dear Black People: stop giving your kids stupid made-up names with no historical/familial meaning. It ain’t cute – never was, and it’s socially stifling. And truth be told, these names aren’t creative, it just shows the world that your parents had no concept of the English language, social infrastructure, and the ability to spell. I am not talking about African or Arab based names. I’m talking about made-up bullshit monikers you give to your kids to draw (incredibly negative) attention to yourselves. Quit it. It’s embarrassing. To your kid. To you. Decent black people laugh, ridicule and dismiss you and your children. Employers, including black employers, shit-can resumes with these bizzaro-world names. Besides, you’re setting yourselves up for a lawsuit or two, ’cause “Coca-Cola Dijonae Dos-Equie” is trademarked.

  • Denizen of Desire

    @Colette: There are different variations of Creole depending on the state, nation, region, etc. in which one resides. Louisiana Creole is distinct from Haitian Creole which is distinct from Martinican Creole, and so on and so forth. To tell another culture that their Creole is illegitimate is not only completely disrespectful, but also tremendously colonial, considering the fact that (former) colonial powers deem most, if not all, of these variations “bastard” dialects that are not worthy of the denomination “language.” Because YOU are not privy to the origins of a name like “Beyonce” does not mean that such an appellation’s roots are unknown to the designee and her designator.

    Even if one were to go with your SPECULATION that the name is “made up,” then what exactly does such an invented origin signify? At one time in human history, homosapiens did not communicate utilizing the sign systems we now delineate as languages. They grunted, used hand signals, and employed other methods of communication aside from the formal, grammatically and syntactically-driven modes of spoken and written language that many and/or most cultures currently employ. Thus, it follows, all languages and the names arising from them were at some point made up.

    When did humanity get together and collectively decide who would be the rulers and dictators of homosapiens? And when did said rulers and dictators have a meeting to determine that humans are forbidden from creating other, new appellations? And where are the laws or books of standards and protocols determining the rules governing people’s decisions for creating or selecting names for themselves or their progeny?

    Madame, please have a seat. \_

    Better yet, have several. \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_

  • Denizen of Desire

    @Colette: There are different variations of Creole depending on the state, nation, region, etc. in which one resides. Louisiana Creole is distinct from Haitian Creole which is distinct from Martinican Creole, and so on and so forth. To tell another culture that their Creole is illegitimate is not only completely disrespectful, but also tremendously colonial, considering the fact that (former) colonial powers deem most, if not all, of these variations “bastard” dialects that are not worthy of the denomination “language.” Because YOU are not privy to the origins of a name like “Beyonce” does not mean that such an appellation’s roots are unknown to the designee and her designator.

    Even if one were to go with your SPECULATION that the name is “made up,” then what exactly does such an invented origin signify? At one time in human history, homosapiens did not communicate utilizing the sign systems we now delineate as languages. They grunted, used hand signals, and employed other methods of communication aside from the formal, grammatically and syntactically-driven modes of spoken and written language that many and/or most cultures currently employ. Thus, it follows, all languages and the names arising from them were at some point made up.

    When did humanity get together and collectively decide who would be the rulers and dictators of homosapiens? And when did said rulers and dictators have a meeting to determine that humans are forbidden from creating other, new appellations? And where are the laws or books of standards and protocols determining the rules governing people’s decisions for creating or selecting names for themselves or their progeny?

    Madame, please have a seat. \_

    Better yet, have several. \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_ \_

  • [email protected]

    Young mothers now are also naming their kids after cartoon characters.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    “To tell another culture that their Creole is illegitimate is not only completely disrespectful, but also tremendously colonial, considering the fact that (former) colonial powers deem most, if not all, of these variations “bastard” dialects that are not worthy of the denomination “language”

    What are you even talking about? Who said that their Creole was illegitimate? What I truly cannot stand in American culture is that people result to hyperbole and dishonest persuasion because they haven’t mastered any elements of rhetoric.

    Show me where in Guadalupe, Haiti, Martinique, the Seychelles, and French Guyana where the name Beyonce was ever given to anyone? Also, are you really trying to tell me that Beyonce and her family speak Creole, seeing as the dialect is nearly extinct in North America?

    Put it like this: that name fits NONE of the phonetic patterns of written French or any Creole language, and THAT is exactly what the article is addressing. Any French or Creole speaker can identify that that name doesn’t conform to any patterns present in French or Creole.

    It’s a nonsense name.

    BTW, do you even speak either Creole or French? If you don’t, then shut up. You literally do not know what you’re talking about.

  • Kam

    I’m doing research on this name and a possible documentary. To this date no one can tell me where this Ladasha person lives or give me information on it. Everyone has a friend of a friend or an aunt whose a nurse or a kindergarten teacher who knows a child with that name. But once I ask how to get in contact with the mother of the child there’s crickets. It’s totally a fake.

  • alizoom

    “They call the wind Mariah..” -from the musical ‘Seven Brides from Seven Sisters’. But seriously, then name your kid the Hebrew name and knock off the cute variants. Sarah Palin named her daughter after Harvey’s Bristol Cream.

  • Kam

    Shakespeare made up the name for the Merchant of Venice based on the Hebrew name Iskah. There were no “Jessicas” before Shakespeare. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_(given_name)

  • alizoom

    And the “Jesus/Hey-sus’s” in the Latin community are becoming fewer and fewer because the Roman Catholic church will not christen/baptize a child with this name anymore (been the rule for about a decade now). SO if you’re Roman Catholic and you name your kid “Jesus” you’re going to have to leave the Church and become Protestant if you stick to that name. I live in a predominantly Latin community, and my teenaged daughter has had no classmates with that name, whereas I did.

  • alizoom

    Use your initials, like “J.R. Ewing”, “O.J.Simpson” or “PJ O’Rourke”. You can do this legally and socially.

  • alizoom

    My ex-husband had a client named “Denzel”. He was native-American. His father and grandfather were also named Denzel. the name is Navajo in origin,

  • Jem

    *OMG, I was a sub last week & the same thing happened to me!
    The names were beyond words.
    I feel bad for those kids who will try to get jobs, or into college only to be rejected due to their names. The parents “creativity” is at the cost of the kids future.

  • The Other Jess

    Antonio, your use of the word “bigot” to describe some Black peopel and their attitudes towards names is SPOT ON. All they are are self-righteous, arrogant Black BIGOTS who think their way is the only way. They’d ratehr have their colonizers name even when it’s been proven to them that it doesn’t help them move up one iota. There are a whole lot of Black Michael’s, John’s, Robert’s and William’s in JAIL. So much for a name.

  • The Other Jess

    But what’s an “American” name, really? America is one of the few countries where the citizens are form almost ebery part of the earth. So what is “American”? In other words, you’re saying we should all conform to “white” names (even though half of what we call white names are really Biblical/middle eastern names).

    Just because some Asians feel the need to change their names to be accepted, most do not. Almost every Asian you meet, no matter the first name, ALWAYS has an Asian last name (Lin, Wong, Kwan, Li, Lee, Liu, etc). Indians in particular do not change ANY part of their names. Priyanka, Ravi, Dinesh, Avinash, Hardik, etc are their names and they don’t change them for anybody. People just had to learn to get used to them, and now everybody who deals with Indian-Americans pronounces them just fine.

    Black people are SUCH slaves. there is no reason for us to always so easily conform and be bullied into taking up names to be accepted by the “mainstream” (read WHITE) .

  • The Other Jess

    Pardon all the typos…that was really supposed to say:

    “But what’s an “American” name, really? America is one of the few countries where the citizens are from almost every part of the earth. So what is “American”? In other words, you’re saying we should all conform to “white” names (even though half of what we call white names are really Biblical/middle eastern names).

  • Pingback: Creativity Gone Too Far: African American Names? « differenttogether

  • Tonia

    A name with no vowels…how stupid! A teacher will learn a child’s name if the child is in their class. But a potential employer looking at an application will simply throw it in the trash. And I don’t blame them. If a name sounds ghetto it’s natural to assume the person attached to it is ghetto also. And the workplace is not the place for ghetto anything.

  • Jazz

    Just watch an SEC football game!

  • Diane

    I don’t know you from Adam but I’m going to give you the benefit of doubt and assume that you actually believe people are entitled to their own opinion. As a side note Nigerian names may sound “funny” to you but I think people forget any name that’s in a completely different LANGUAGE will sound funny. There are Nordic, Asian, French names that sound downright bizarre. I can promise you that in Nigeria no one is name after a brand of alcohol or a luxury car…

  • Diane

    PREACH! *gets up and applauds*

  • http://theprbrownreport.blogspot.com/?m=1 The PRBrown Report

    I believe that some of these ridiculous names do African-American children a great disservice. Mainly because they conjures up images of crass ghetto ineptitude regardless of whether this happens to be the case or not. It is not fair to put our children at a disadvantage in the name of creativity. Lets face it, not every child is a Barack Obama. This is why we chose to give our 3 children racially ambiguous names. So that they will be judged first and foremost of their achievement and character, at least on paper!

  • Diane

    #Dead. I’m literally crying reading this. This is spot on.

  • a

    self hatred is perpetuated in this article. If your name is becky its ok but Laquisha is wrong? Poor Clutch… awaiting the deletion of this comment cause its the TRUTH in 3, 2….

  • Barbara

    Not embracing hoodology is indeed self hatred La-Fa’queesha. You go girl.

  • truth hurts

    other jess, I’m convinced your REAL name is La’Je$$yia or it’s what you named your (fatherless) child because you are taking this awfully personal lol.

    If you don’t want to give your child an anglo name, then don’t. There are literally thousands of cultures to look at for inspiration. There is NO excuse for branding your child with illiterate gibberish. It’s not cute, it’s not creative, it’s a disgrace. No other people in the entire WORLD do this like black people do. Just because the names sound foreign to our ears doesn’t mean they’re on the same level with Da’quavious, so don’t even try it. You sound ignorant as hell.

  • B

    They’re setting their children up for failure and ridicule. There should be a law against it.

  • Shirl

    Self hatred is naming your child Courvoseir Winetavious or Quandaleesha or Marcquavious. I see nothing wrong with being creative but this is ridiculous.

  • Mademoiselle

    .

  • Patience

    People on this site love to throw the ‘self hatred’ term around.

  • Grant

    Why can’t we go back to biblical names? I have a unique name, but it isn’t crazy or off the hilt. I intend on naming my children after forefathers like my Grandfather, William. It doesn’t make any sense for someone to burden kids with names for your own vanity. Kids are not art projects. Why not look to historical figures as well: Martin, Thurgood, Miles, Charlie. We should look to those in our past for strength and not disrespect their legacy by making crazy names.

  • http://gravatar.com/clnmike Tonton Michel

    Than I regret making the comment.

  • p

    I dont think its self hate. I think its questioning if you got a slave name nobody saying you gotta keep brownwyn or rader but if you USE english use it right otherwise no one who speaks ENGLISH will understand what you r talking about barack is a biblical name it means blessed. If want a creative name fine but if phonetically it doesnt make sense how are people supposed to know that i mean do we make clicking noises anymore to communicate thats fine if you do but we live here. I cant pronounce a name with no vowels you can do it but i will not be able to tell you to come in the house. Pfs is hard to say together for a reason. U risk sounding like you cant read not being creative. I dont like my name which is english personally i think its ugly but im glad my im not named gucci or after a malt liquor! think.

  • Mademoiselle

    Sheesh, this is a record Clutch. Over a day for my comment to post?

  • p

    I read about a white author who named his son audio i mean we tend to judge them less but hes famous and friends with gwen apple paltrow

  • Pingback: Black Names Gone Wild: Are We Going Overboard with the Creativity? | Clutch Magazine | The Hijax!

  • nona

    SO TRUE!!!!

    My name is a traditional name commonly found in Mexico (although I am black american). There is nothing “ghetto” about it, but it’s ETHNIC, and because of that, white people still find it
    interesting, unique, different” etc aka “odd.” Anything that isn’t Emily or Katie or Jonas or Ben aka ETHNIC will be deemed as different to them.

  • nona

    This thread has been very interesting and informative :). Classism has truly taken over!

  • http://menvwomen.com/ Ramone

    Yea it’s just a competition of how unique mothers can make their child’s name. To them it reflects back onto how creative they are, when in reality it messes with their child: for one they’ll probably get teased, for two when applying for jobs the employer will be more interested in what Pamela has to say than Shi’tAra. Dial it back parents, seriously.

  • jcross

    It is sad. I’ve seen that a lot, where the phonetics are just totally wrong. My dad works with a woman who’s name is pronounced ‘Yolanda’ but is spelled ‘Unlandia’. O_o

  • j358

    I think all the fools who believe that these names “ghetto” are falling in the classes trap that our society has most of us confused negros in. No one complains about a overtly Jewish name, or any other ethnic names with obvious connotations. Are Anglo names to be the norm to give to our children? Are Biblical names any better? People, get off your high horse about whats ghetto and whats not. Stop falling into these racial standards because obviously we have far more pressing social issues that many of are still in great denial over.

  • PAPI MORENITO

    I agree this should a law against ridiculous names. Some parents really go overboard.

  • Pingback: Black Names Gone Wild? | GoBrown75

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