Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

On Loving And Defending Black Names…Until They Get A Bit Too Black

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If you’re Black and you have a Black friend who happens to teach at a predominately Black school, you can safely assume that at least once every few months, you two are going to have a good laugh about some of the names of the students in the school. If this friend is like my teacher friends, this laugh might occur once a week, and you might also regularly joke that kids with those names might as well have been named “Nochance.”

This is not groundbreaking news. There is nothing we (Black people) love to talk about more than the experience of being Black, and one of the lighter parts of this Black experience is the well known tendency some of us have to give our children ridiculously creative names. And by “ridiculously creative names” I mean “names that basically just attach multiple vowel sounds to popular cognacs.”

I even play a variant of this game while watching NFL games. A player will be introduced, and I’ll guess where he grew up by the type Blackness associated with his name.

(For instance, “Jockitchneous Jenkins” definitely hails from the South, and “King-Knowledge Fire Shabazz” definitely hails from a northern urban area.)

It is a game that’s unapologetically classist. We’re aware that lower-income Black people are much more likely to give these types of names to their kids than middle and upper class Blacks. We’re also aware that, unless this kid happens to be a rapper, stripper, or professional athlete, this name will likely have a net negative effect on their job prospects, dating life, credit, and Sam’s Club membership applications.

This has no effect on our amusement, though. We still think the names are hilarious. And, whenever we happen across one of them, we gleefully forward it to as many people as we can, indirectly taking credit for discovering another hilarious example of what those type of Black people frequently do. Happily expert curators of coonishness we are.

But, when the name is just a tad less Black—i.e. “Shamika” instead of “LaShamikalalize”—and we learn that a person making judgments on the name happens not to be Black, it’s an issue. A huge issue. 

Now, I realize this isn’t exactly a perfect analogy. There’s a big difference between joking about a name and using a prejudice about a name to discriminate. Also, Black people have more leeway to make jokes about other Black people because, well, we’re Black too. I will not suppress my chuckle the next time I happen across a “Tyranraneousrex Jackson” or “Cirocla Jones” and I won’t hesitate to call someone out for actively discriminating against Black names.

But, I’ve also come to realize that I’m such of a hypocrite about this that even my hypocrisy is hypocritical. Black sounding names are fine, and worth defending. But, names that sound a bit too Black, a bit too ghetto, a bit too embarrassing, somehow aren’t. Basically, lower class Black people—the ones who could likely use the most help from their educated and higher-income brethren—are the ones we reserve the most ridicule for.

The irony of writing something like this while being named “Damon Young” isn’t lost on me. While my name isn’t super Black, I think most people would assume that a man with my name would likely be Black. It is, without question, a safe Black name. A Black name worthy of defending.

The Black community would form like Voltron if we learned I was denied a job because of my name. But, if my mom got drunk while delivering me and named me “LaDameriousness” instead, the only defense I’d get from any of y’all n*ggas is when you happened to be on the basketball court with me.

(Which would be the only place I’d ever be because, with a name like LaDameriousness, it’s my only shot at success.) 

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • Tia_Sunny

    I read a study that showed how jobs discriminate against applicants based on their names we do need to tone down these names some.

    • Kema

      I read a study that showed how jobs discriminate against minorities. We can’t tone that down. :-/

      • LMNOP

        This is exactly the issue. It’s just a matter of where in the job application process people are being discriminated against.

      • Michelle

        I agree.
        Unless a person changes their skin color before the interview, they are not going to receive the job anyway.

        • TheOtherJerome

          Skin bleaching!!! Problem solved!

      • Tia_Sunny

        :( thats why we need to become the bosses at these jobs.

  • I Am Your People

    The Twitternets had a debate over the issue when Andrew Moskowitz (um, how bout we discriminate against a Jewish name? Esp. since he lives in ATL? I mean…) came up, and when a Nigerian came for the “Black names,” the quickly devolved into a African vs African-American debate. Goodness, we always got to fight each other in the end.

    While I agree that D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Barkevious Mingo are doing to much, I don’t believe we should have to censor ourselves to make white people happy.

    I think Totally Biased did it best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExS2YsLzR20

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

      D’brickashaw’s mom came up with that name from a character in the Thornbirds. So, is it really a Black name?

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        Hmmm “Ralph de Bricassart” >>>>> D’Brickashaw

        Black women are so creative and innovative!

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          Another good one is Knowshon Moreno. His dad’s name is Knowledge and his mother’s name is Varashon. So, she combined them.

    • Msdebbs

      I’m sorry but I do cringe a little when I call customer service & Tameeka answers. We have the freedom to name our kids what ever we want but be prepared for the reaction you might get….it’s all stereotyping imo.

    • Msdebbs

      I’m sorry but I do cringe a little when I call customer service & Tameeka answers. We have the freedom to name our kids what ever we want but be prepared for the reaction you might get….it’s all stereotyping imo.

      • TheOtherJerome

        Uh what wrong with Tamika? Or Tameeka as you spell it? Does knowing that it has a Japanese origin make you feel better about it? And if so why?

        My name is Jerome. If i answered the customer service line would you cringe if i gave my name? Should my parents have prepared me for a “certain reaction”. Even if it’s a classic British name that white Brits use, but now black americans have adopted?

        Who decides whats ok? And how long should the Tamika’s, Shamika’s and Jerome’s apologize for their existence to placate people who have a tough time making an effort in a diverse society?

        I have a lot of Asian friends. Often they’ll change a name in a heart beat to fit in….. because some people are too incompetent to make an effort. However, if some one says their name is “Feng-Hua” but you can call me “Mickey”, i’ll call them Feng-Hua ,unless they instruct me not to. It takes an effort to be decent i suppose…..

        • Kema

          Yes! Yes! Yes! I always wondered why ‘Tamika’ was treated like that.

        • Msdebbs

          I see you ignored the stereotype comment I made. If you burn your hand on a flame would you keep putting your hand on that flame??? No. I made that comment about tameeka because of the experiences that I’ve had with ppl with unique names. I’ve had bad experiences with people with regular names but mostly with the tameekas of the world. This is based on what I’ve experienced. As I said in a previous comment I work with very talented people that have ghetto names & it’s just another way of stereotyping folk…..FYI I’m not American. Ive had people butcher my last name & make backhand comments about my country culture and background.

          • Deeds

            Tameeka’s not that unique.

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

          i know this girl who is Chinese. her mother wanted to name her Jane Eyre in Chinese so she came up with a phonetic version, Jianai. her daugher later came to America and now goes by Jenny. womp.

        • T.Q. Fuego

          My sister joked with me when she came back from London. She said “Hey, I met a Billy named Tyrone” lol. It’s telling that these names that are “obviously black” were white to begin with. The only way they became black is that black folks used to follow this creed some of yall on here are preaching (name them something “normal” ie white) until certain names were routinely taken by black folks and whites abandoned the name (making it a black name). Now you got black people discriminating on other black people with European names saying the name is “too black” and therefore uncouth. What a country we live in

          • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

            BOOM! I just made this point. We cannot win this game. It’s like on The Wiz, when we think the color is green, they change it to red, and so on.

            • kidvideo

              Love any reference to the wiz…cause im a mean ole lion.

            • T.Q. Fuego

              That’s why so many middle class blacks are (not so) secretly infatuated with “ratchet culture”. Lower class blacks seemed to have figured that out and said “f*ck it, Imma do me then.” They get more respect from me for having that mentality (even if I can’t co-sign everything they do or even every name they come up with).

          • LMNOP

            Yes lol, the same thing with biblical names. How do they sound “too black” if they come from Hebrew?

            • T.Q. Fuego

              People usually don’t realize when their ignorant slip is showing. That’s why you have two ears and one mouth. No need to put your foot in it lol

            • TheOtherJerome

              “How do they sound “too black” if they come from Hebrew?”

              Ha! Because Jesus was Black!! Now what!

        • ForeverCC

          My son’s name is a traditional Welsh name that has a wonderful meaning. Most white people recognize the name and don’t flinch. Most black people think I made it up and act like it is the most difficult thing to pronounce ever (it’s 4 letters – sound it out). We gave him a simple middle name that he can always choose to use if he gets tired of explaining/pronouncing his first name.

  • Jay

    The Key & Peele skit, which is probably the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind upon reading this post, fits into the same space that a lot of Chappelle Show skits did. They make us laugh at things about ourselves that we have laughed at for decades, while also presenting these running inside jokes to the collective consciousness in a way that makes them feel comfortable laughing at us too… which makes us feel some type of way.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Bingo

  • nillalatte

    Reminds me of a recent case in TN where the mom and dad disputed the last name of their child. The judge learned the first name of the child, “Messiah”, and ordered that the parents also change the child’s first name stating that the name “Messiah” was reserved.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/18/tenn-parents-baby-name-messiah/2830999/

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

      That judge was overruled thankfully.

      • nillalatte

        She is an idiot. If she didn’t know that was wrong she needs to be removed from her position, permanently barred in my opinion. She cost these folks a lot of money, time, anguish more than likely.

    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

      Ughhh. I know a handful of men/boys named Messiah. Idk why people feel like they just HAVE to impose their religious beliefs on the masses just because they sit high and look low. Don’t nobody but your fellow Chrisitians care about your Jesus Ms. Judge Lady. Sit down.

      • Yoles

        i totally agree that the judge went too far but i will admit and maybe i am a minority, that using very importatnt religious names/titles etc for your child make me uncomfortable… regardless of the religion

        messiah
        savior
        yahweh
        allah
        jehovah
        elohim
        shen
        zhu
        satnam
        shiva
        vishnu
        swaminarayan

        etc…

        just doesn’t sit well with me… i can’t quite verbalize how, but i can say i do not like it… i will not attempt to make someone change their mind of they decide to name their child any of the above but i give an internal side eye…

        • kidvideo

          Don’t latin ppl sometimes name their sons, Jesus…or Hey Zeus.

          • Yoles

            its not the same name… jesus cristo is christ jesus, plain ole jesus is regular ole jesus which means “named for christ” its like an attempt to get your kid more blessings & done in reverence or at least thats what i have been told…

            * i can’t speak for all latins

            • LMNOP

              So it’s more like mary/ maria/ marie?

            • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

              i love men named Angel ~*~ makes me feel like i’m in tha Bronx ~*~

              • kidvideo

                Does he have the tattoo tear on his face, or just the rosary tat wrapped around his arm.

                • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                  hands clasped in prayer with the legend Only God Can Judge Me ~*~

            • ForeverCC

              Similar to the name Christian

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          The thing is, a name making someone uncomfortable shouldn’t be grounds to dismiss it because it doesn’t sit well with someone personally. I remember reading an article about a couple who wanted to name their son Adolf Hitler and a judge made them change it. I’m not sure how far reaching the government should be as it concerns things like that.

          Who am I to tell a parent they can’t name their son Messiah just because my religious beliefs would have me to see this as a “blasphemous” act? Not everyone adheres to those religious beliefs and it’s silly of someone in a seat of power to determine how other people should follow their religion.

          • Yoles

            like i said, i won’t try to stop them but my eye is to the side…

            in germany naming your child adolf hitler is illegal
            #neverforget

            • LMNOP

              A lot of countries have pretty significant restrictions on what you can name your child.

    • Msdebbs

      I’m just mad she wanted to rename the baby Martin…W.T.F. Not even close.

    • Rachmo

      In Iceland there are only certain names that you can choose.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Germany too.

      • nillalatte

        Yeah, girl, but we ain’t in Iceland! LOL The judge had no legal reason to order the kids name changed. It wasn’t the courts business. She made it personal. That’s a no-no.

  • Jay

    I know a child name ABcde. Pronounced abecity.

    • Oshun

      i shant’! say what now?

    • Jay

      I lean more towards being against too black sounding names. In the case that you mention, and cases like it, its one of THE most selfish things that parents can do. You’re dooming your child to a life of side-eyes, overlooked resumes, and ridicule for you, the parent to be like “HEY LOOK AT ME!!! LOOK HOW CLEVER I AM!!!” If there is heritage attached or the name has a special meaning then I get it but otherwise…

      • nillalatte

        Black ‘sounding’ names. Um, okay, well how about Arabic names? I knew a Kuwaiti named his kid Bader. Of course his sir name was also Bader. So, the kid got Bader Al-Bader.

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          Arabic names are beautiful! I want to name my future daughter Yaminah :-)

          • nillalatte

            Some Arabic names are beautiful. Some I can’t even pronounce! And, I’m pretty good linguistically. But, you know when other Arabs start using nick names that it’s bad. LOL

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            If I ever have a daughter I’d name her Aaliyah.

            • Oshun

              hmmm….not Alicia?

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                Nah.

              • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                *snickers*

              • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                *snickers*

              • Jay

                If my son were a daughter I was 100% going to name her Lauryn after Mrs. Hill. Don’t judge.

                • Epsilonicus

                  Don’t do that. You are dooming her to dropping one good solo album and becoming addicted to Marley peen.

              • Sahel

                50 points to Ravenclaw.

            • LMNOP

              I had a “if I ever have a daughter name” picked out too. But then when I was pregnant with my daughter her dad was like “F no, we’re not naming our kid that.” I’ve heard of a few people with similar experiences.

              • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

                maaaaan! I had Naima alllll picked out and ready to go. My husband said…
                http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1098438/blocka.gif

                • BreezyX2

                  BOL!

                • LMNOP

                  Aw, Naima’s such a pretty name! I wanted Dalila. Her dad’s suggestions included Mystique (which I actually was considering till he told me he got it from the xmen) and Michael, which is not a girls name at all.

                  • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

                    French is my 2nd language and I love how they pronounce “Michael” (Mee-ka-ell). I’d name my kid that, but it would never fly in my American house. womp.

                    • LMNOP

                      That does sound nice. I like the way French sounds.

  • Oshun

    Why would you name your son, ‘Iphoneezy’, or your daughter, ‘Independenticisis’ and expect them to not be ridiculed. Forget about classism or what have you’s, what about plain old common sense?

    • nillalatte

      People have common sense? I thought that went out of style like in the 80’s.

    • Sahel

      Swanzetta

      • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

        swans are thugs

      • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

        swans are thugs

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          Turkeys too.

        • Sahel

          Swans are just protective.

          • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

            nuhh uhh. they play offense too.

            • Sahel

              Yes,but gracefully

              • LMNOP

                Graceful and not to be f^*ked with. Good thing to name a kid after.

              • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                not on land. there they be Swanosaurus Rex with them dinosaur feet and that heavy, mean step and them beady eyes, reptilian brains and they swole chests.

        • kidvideo

          I couldnt find a place to rest…until I got that “Swan Life” tatted on my chest…

          • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

            i like this ~*~

  • Sahel

    One of the best things for me when making black american friends is asking their names. I find it utterly disappointing when someone tells me they are called Andrew or Jane. Heck,i usually hand over my phone when am getting contacts ever since that time in Houston a woman made a fuss because i didnt put a hyphen when i wrote down her name

    • nillalatte

      *takes phone from Sahel, enters her number (555-noway), gives the phone back* Smiles and walks away. :D

    • nillalatte

      *takes phone from Sahel, enters her number (555-noway), gives the phone back* Smiles and walks away. :D

    • Rachmo

      You’d be sorely disappointed with mine. Nothing creative over here!

  • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

    I am torn on this subject. On one hand I feel like black people shouldn’t have to cater every single thing we do around what is or isn’t acceptable for white society. However, just throwing a bunch of letters on paper because it “sounds” cute is so damb dumb. Combining your name + the name of your baby’s father + the name of your favorite celebrity = DISASTER!

    I just think some parents don’t want their children to be great or prosper. I know I want my future seeds to not have to struggle the first day of school each year with new teachers. I don’t want them to have to struggle in the job market because someone saw their name and decided they’d forgo an employee with such an “extravagant” name. I will say, that I want my children’s names to hold meaning. I’m going to do thorough research and give my child a name with a purpose.

    • Oshun

      Yes! Where I’m from, names are just not names, they have meaning, they hold power. Resist the devil of clusterphakkerizing the alphabet just because. Xzzeeee—–>e.g.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        All my Nigerian friends names fit them perfectly! Oyetewa, Odochi, Oluwabunkunmi, Wenkuni….ughhh I could go on and on

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Welp, you are fortunate. Our names were stolen from us. So, we can use the names of other cultures or we can create our own like everyone else has done. And in creating them we give them meaning.

        • Oshun

          Oh this I know dear Val. No one is stopping the creation of new names. All we are saying is stop the madness when it comes to giving your kids ridiculous names. Why would you name your son or daughter, marijuana pepsi? Because you smoked pot and pepsi is your favorite beverage? Nahhhh

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            Lol I heard about that lady ‘Marijuana Pepsi’. She’s doing well in life though.

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            Lol I heard about that lady ‘Marijuana Pepsi’. She’s doing well in life though.

            • Oshun

              girrrrrl, the gods done smiled upon her life, and I can only praise Jesus for that.

            • Oshun

              girrrrrl, the gods done smiled upon her life, and I can only praise Jesus for that.

              • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                But you have to wonder though, why not change your name? She had the opportunity to do so at 18 but didn’t.

                • Oshun

                  No phakks were being given since birth, why would any be given after?

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Lol. Yeah, that’s a crazy name. I’m not talking about those “Brand” names.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            And why didn’t her parents just name her Mary Jane Cola? Then it would have been a clever inside sort of thing.

            • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

              Or

              Ivy Twenty Pop

              • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                Yep. There are a lot of creative ways they could have gone with that name.

          • Sahel

            Urhines Kendall Icy Eight Special K

            • Oshun

              Is this a real name or something you came up with?

              • Sahel

                Born in Feb 2003

            • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

              How do I pronounce the first name??? (your-high-ness)

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          “And in creating them we give them meaning”

          YASSSSS VAL!!!!! YASSSSSSSS

        • Jay

          I agree with everything you just said. But in creating these new names with meanings parents need to do WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better.

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            True. But, for instance I like the name D’brickashaw. His mom put some thought into that. And really is that any worse than Englebert?

            • Jay

              Thats my point… there are TONS of silly white names too. I know a lot of white dudes that either changed their names or go by a middle name because their government name is Englebert or Ignacious or some other ridiculous name. These are centuries old names but white parents (for the most part) shy away from these names…. so WHY are we willfully CHOOSING silly names and then trying to force society to accept them without blinking?? It makes no sense.

              • LMNOP

                I’ve noticed a lot more white people seem to be making up names for their kids, and (in general) the white creative names (like Codylin) dont fall as nicely on the ears as most black creative names.

                • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                  Apple Martin tho ..

                  • LMNOP

                    And of all the fruit to name a kid after… Apple? really? I mean Papaya sounds nice.

                    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

                      i like Cherry ~*~

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      My birthday twin’s name is Cherry :-)

                    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

                      How about Peach?

                • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                  I remember watching a show where rich white folk who were expecting, actually went to a “Think Tank” with the possible names of the child. The Think Tank then voted on which names would be best based off some random ish. They looked at how many CEO’s had that name, how many serial killers had that name, if the name evoked “Leader”, etc.

                  But white people can do what they want and not be judged for it. It doesn’t matter. Shoot up an entire state of people and they’ll be someone to defend their actions and say that they’re just very sick and unstable.

                  • LMNOP

                    lol, a think tank? naming their kid like it’s a prescription medication

                    • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

                      Girl. Kids are assets that need to be treated as such for them.

      • LMNOP

        I think people feel a lot of pressure to give their kids a special, meaningful name and to find the perfect name for their kid. Problem is, when your kid is born, you don’t really know them yet. So I say give your kid a name, and let your kid give that name meaning.

    • nillalatte

      My kids have that cultural identity through their names meanings: night flower, Mary’s gift, and crescent moon dreams. Now if you can translate Arabic name meanings, you might be able to figure out their Americanized names.

      • Sahel

        You named your daughter night flower….

        • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

          I hatechu so much lol

      • Kema

        @Nilla my name is Arabic and means ‘the word’

    • Jay

      It’s really not even totally about white society. If we all seceded from the U.S. and started our own nation extremely creatively black sounding names would still be mad unnecessary and dumb IMO. I know it seems counter-intuitive but I think that it’s lazy. Naming a child is like good design… less is more. It takes more time, and thought to find a name that’s unique while still being reasonable as opposed to being like “F*ck it… let’s make something up”. It took forever for me and my son’s mother to come up with my son’s name but when we settled on one it was perfect. He’s 6 now and I still rarely find a child with his name even though it’s a modest normal name.

    • Jay

      It’s really not even totally about white society. If we all seceded from the U.S. and started our own nation extremely creatively black sounding names would still be mad unnecessary and dumb IMO. I know it seems counter-intuitive but I think that it’s lazy. Naming a child is like good design… less is more. It takes more time, and thought to find a name that’s unique while still being reasonable as opposed to being like “F*ck it… let’s make something up”. It took forever for me and my son’s mother to come up with my son’s name but when we settled on one it was perfect. He’s 6 now and I still rarely find a child with his name even though it’s a modest normal name.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        I disagree. Black people, minorities in general, go to great lengths to appeal to white society. Asian reporters getting plastic surgery to look less “Asian”. Black people having to “code switch” in the presence of white people so that they’re more “comfortable”. I’ve never ever ever had a white person come at me trying to speak to me in any other vernacular but their own. Meanwhile, I am required to learn the mannerisms and colloquialisms of white folks to make sure they don’t feel threatened or uncomfortable in my presence.

        • Oshun

          @ AP,

          White people cannot exist outside of comfort and privilege. Requiring them to do so is like asking someone to look for a needle in a haystack…..impossible.

          • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

            Trust I know this. I just find it odd that Jay feels as if the opinions of white people are irrelevant as it relates to black bodies. White people’s opinions, solely, shape our society.

          • nillalatte

            *feels only the pea under her bed. :D

            • Sahel

              That’s the only thing under your bed ey

            • Oshun

              *e-hugs* habibi!!!

            • Oshun

              *e-hugs* habibi!!!

          • AmericanDream

            The trailer parks that stretch to as far as the eyes can see beg to differ

            • Oshun

              Trailer park or not, those folks still have privilege that black people/minorities in high ranking status (economics/class) of American life will never achieve.

              • Americandream

                Ridiculous ! But hey if it helps you go to sleep at night,more power to you

                • Oshun

                  Thanks!! :)

        • Jay

          Of course they do. I’m not denying the fact that we’re expected, in many ways, to assimilate into white society and tone down our more ethnic qualities. I’m also not gonna pretend that its perfectly ok and logical that in A LOT of cases, parents are just pulling long complicated silly names out their a$$es. If you invent a beautiful name then kudos… there are TONS of beautiful names that are thought to be “black names”. This usually isn’t the case though and we all know it and CONSTANTLY laugh about it.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        I disagree. Black people, minorities in general, go to great lengths to appeal to white society. Asian reporters getting plastic surgery to look less “Asian”. Black people having to “code switch” in the presence of white people so that they’re more “comfortable”. I’ve never ever ever had a white person come at me trying to speak to me in any other vernacular but their own. Meanwhile, I am required to learn the mannerisms and colloquialisms of white folks to make sure they don’t feel threatened or uncomfortable in my presence.

  • Secret Sauce

    What’s a “black” name, per say? Names are names, right?

    • Sahel

      There was a Wizard’s player named God Shammgod….

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Wasn’t he a football player?

        • http://TripSixes.com/ Trip

          According to his wiki, just basketball (or are you just messin’ with Sahel)

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Nope. I thought he was a football player. Thanks.

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        Ok I get God, but what is the significance of “Shammgod”?

        • Sahel

          More power

    • Jay

      C’mon son… you KNOW a black name when you hear one. Speaking of names… do I need to change mine?? A lot of “Jay’s” and variations popping up round these parts.

      • Oshun

        uh uh, do NOT change your name. You are the one and only original Jay around these parts. If it helps, I only read your comments, the others——>imposters, are afterthoughts. *hugs*

        • Jay

          *return hug* Thanks for letting me be great (whatever that means)

          • Oshun

            I wanted to up vote this twenty hundred million times.!!!!!

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    The thing is, it really doesn’t matter what your name is if someone is going to discriminate based on your ethnicity. I’ve heard the example of a person with a Black sounding name emailing their resume only to never hear anything back time after time. But, even if your name is classically Anglo and they set up an interview for you they are still going to see you are Black and act according to their prejudice.

    If we Black folks did or didn’t do based upon what the larger society thought we’d end up staying in the house for our entire lives. Everything about being Black is wrong according to some. Our hair, where we live, what we eat, who we marry, our noses, the way we speak, and on and on.

    So, if you are inclined to name your child D’brickashaw then do it. In the long run you’ll be doing what you want and that name isn’t going to afford him any less of a chance than if his name was Brad.

    • Oshun

      On that note, I’m inclined to name my child I’minlovewithIdrisElbanowwhat! Thanks Val!!! :)

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Lol.

      • LMNOP

        Your kid will fit right in on facebook.

        • http://daratmathis.wordpress.com/ dtafakari

          BOOM! Tafakari LovingMeSomeHim GoGetter

    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

      Brad. Brett. Brent. Brock. Brick. Biff. Bill. Buck. Bob. Ben. bland and flat vowels with no rhythm or style what so evaa

    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

      Brad. Brett. Brent. Brock. Brick. Biff. Bill. Buck. Bob. Ben. bland and flat vowels with no rhythm or style what so evaa

      • LMNOP

        I’ve never met or heard of a Brick, but I think that would be a nice name. Strong and solid.

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          One of the kids on the TV show The Middle is named Brick. Otherwise I’ve only heard of guys giving that name to themselves as a macho nickname.

          • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

            my favorite Brick is from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Paul Newman doinn it le sighh all secretly gay not fukkinn his wife who keeps throwinn a dude name Skipper in his face. mmkayy. Tennessee Williams. his characters got good names. he got a short story bout a white hustler named One Arm. yup.

          • LMNOP

            Hmm. I didn’t think about it as a macho nickname. I don’t like that as much. I was thinking it was kind of humble but important, you know like a brick. Part of something larger than itself.

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

              “I was thinking it was kind of humble but important, you know like a brick. Part of something larger than itself.”

              Interesting. I like that.

      • Ms. Bridget

        All those names sound like Blahhh to me…

      • Nic_Mac

        Brick. Broc. Both great names and I happen to know wonderful black men who carry them well.

    • Gina

      That’s not necessarily true. Having worked in recruiting it’s not about being black, per-se, it’s about a perception of “class” or socio economic status. It is presumed that anyone with true professional aspirations will not use a name that is “embarrassing” as their “professional” name. Bear in mind this is not exclusive to blacks as Asians OFTEN use different/shortened names professionally. So the attitude isn’t necessarily “I don’t want a black person” it’s that there is a perception that using Laquandeesha on your resume says something about you (to be frank, that Laquandeesha will be ghetto as hell, so skip right on past it).

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Asians do it because the pronunciation of their Asian names can be difficult. Jewish people would have been a better example. As for Black names and White folks differentiating between classes of Black folks based on names; I’m not so sure that’s really a thing. If anything it’s about who they think might be more assimilated to White culture. But, if they’re inclined not to hire Black folks it doesn’t really matter.

        I could see the class thing being more of a thing that Black HR folks might consider.

        • Gina

          – I’m not so sure that’s really a thing…I could see the class thing being more of a thing that Black HR folks might consider.—

          I get you don’t think it’s a thing, I’m telling you it is. I have not worked with another black HR person so my perspective is from the perspective of working with non-blacks (mostly Caucasians). And it was not about who was assimilated more.

          If you think that only black people think that certain names are ghetto, think again. And while whites may not use the term “ghetto” the sentiment is the same.

          And Asians do not do it just because of pronunciation. There are tons of Asian names that can be a hindrance. If your name was Osama, would you use it right now? It’s not just pronunciation.

          • Gina

            Part of that comment wasn’t well written. Its late forgive me. My point is there are many reasons Asians don’t use their given names, not just because of pronunciation, but also associations. For example, certain names being associated with terrorism. Or sounding like something bad/negative in the English language.

    • Sincerity Hightower

      Have to agree with you on the job front. I have a black sounding name and got called for 3 interviews. I changed my name to Anglo sounding grandmas name on resume, ended up getting 5 interview request and got one of the jobs.

      It is only part time and im still looking so what do I do? Do the strategy that worked the first time, use Anglo name. I got so many interview request and WENT on so many interviews i lost count, drove all over the county, still not one job, jobs i know for a fact i was more than qualified for and had the experience to back it up.. At first i thought maybe my interview skills had diminished till i realized by the sheer number of interviews I should have at least gotten one. i know i dont interview that poorly. So whats next? my mind quickly drifted to the fact that they were expecting a yt lady, may not have even called any minorities in intentionally to interview and saw my black arse and simply marked me off the list.

      I am now in the category of “underemployed and no longer seeking”. I just couldnt take the rejection or waste of my time anymore. When I do decide to resume looking for work, Ive decided to split the baby so to speak and will only use my first initial on my resume.

      Point is once they see you, like you said they can still discriminate.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Yeah, that’s one of the reasons why the Black unemployment rate is always twice as high the general rate. Sorry you are going through this.

      • LeeLee

        I know what you are going through. Hang in there and don’t give up! As for rejection, I’ve become a big believer in “rejection therapy.” Check it out. My real name sounds Anglo. I went to an HBCU for undergrad and a PWI for grad school. So if HR checked my undergrad and my Linkedin page, they would see that I’m black. I get quite a few interviews as well. Sometimes, employers are just “going through the motions.” They already know who they want, but have to interview anyway. It sucks! The baby boomers getting ready for retirement are more willing to invest in hiring and mentoring the 2520 millennials. Ever looked at the Linkedin pages of people in positions you aspire to? What an eye opener!!! I’ve seen people with only 2-3 years of experience in senior level positions. I’m not saying they didn’t work for it, but clearly they had upper management on their side who made sure they got the opportunities to get to that level. Unfortunately, I also see and hear complaints from black professionals who have worked twice as hard with lower titles.

    • LMNOP

      Yes. The problem is our racist, classist society. People trying to put all the blame for how hard these kids lives are going to be on the names their parent gave them is backwards. Discrimination against poor black kids begins way before they are writing a resume, and it won’t be prevented by giving them a “safe” name.

      This is kind of how the world works, all of our societal pathologies (like classism and racism) get blamed on the people who are victimized by them.

    • Rachmo

      “But, even if your name is classically Anglo and they set up an interview for you they are still going to see you are Black and act according to their prejudice.”- that’s why you hit em with the Valley Girl voice in the interview

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        Lol. That might backfire. A lot of people, White included, are annoyed by Valley girl accents.

        • Rachmo

          Like, really? I meeeeaannn I didn’t, like, know that? **flips fro**

          • Yonnie

            LMAO! I was born in a very White state. My parents said they knew it was time to move when I began to flip my afro. Seriously. That happened.

            • BreezyX2

              How in the heck did you flip your fro?!?!? LMBO!

              • Yonnie

                Chile. It was sad. I couldn’t clap on beat either.

            • Rachmo

              HA, I actually often look at one of my straight-haired sistren and ask them to flip their hair for me.

          • Canna

            Lol. You acting like all white girls talk in the Valley Girl voice is the same thing as people assuming all black girls be talkin like dis.

    • Yonnie

      I disagree. I think some (most) people are prejudice (they pre-judge) and some people are racist (they hate). I think if you’re Black and named Shamika, you might not get the interview. If you’re Black and named Ann, the SAME person that passed over Shamika’s resume, may interview you and find that you’re very qualified for the job and hire you. That hiring manager isn’t necessarily racist and wanting to exclude ALL Black people from the job pool. It is the pre-judging (and the fact that as Champ stated, people associate these names with lower class/income communities) that is the issue.

      • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

        I’m sure that’s the case some of the time. But, even so, why is the onus on us to genuflect? Maybe the larger society should stop pre-judging?

        • Yonnie

          I agree. It’s effed up. I’m just saying, I think this is closer to reality than, “I refuse to hire any Black people.”