My Name is My Name: Why We Need to Do Better in Naming Our Children

157 comments
February 6, 2012 ‐ By The Manifesto

A few years ago, when I was in the basement of a barbershop waiting to get a chop, I waited with a young 20-something black woman who had a 3-year old running about the shop. My barber Janet asked her of her boy’s name, and this is what she had to say:

“Q’Kavarimantis.”

Another older sista waiting – doing what older sistas do – asked the mother: “Well, does he even know how to spell his own name???”

“He’s working on it,” she said sweetly. “He’s got about half of it down.”

As of late, it seems like I’ve been having many conversations related to the tendency of black parents – especially of humble background – to come up with grammatical manglings of names masquerading as creative expression. I’ve heard a small band of defenders explain that it’s a display of our cultural eccentricities and creativity that reveal names like the monstrosities above. Q’Kavarimantis. Really???

Being creative is cool, but I think we’ve come to a point–black folks and all folks really (yes, you too celebrities)–where the names we’re choosing for our children are going a bit too far. Here are why these damn names can be a big problem:

 

  1. Pointless creativity: Coming up with names that run in the family or stand for something deep is one thing; subverting them as a result of trying to be “unique” is dead wrong. Changing a perfectly classic name like “Alexander” to “Alezandear” and keeping the same pronunciation is not the righteous way to go. Making “Alexia” to “Alexuscia” will only make your child hate you for having to explain to people how that name came about countless times by the age of 35.

 

  1. They need to be employed someday: I’m a schoolteacher of young black boys and girls. So it should go without saying that I see and hear more over-the-top names than I care to share. Every now and again, I come across a doozy; what person in their free-thinking mind’s eye would come up with the name “Chandelier,” make it legal for the courts and send your child off with the expectation that it wont be an obstacle in the future? While we would love to assume that individuals aren’t shallow enough to judge a person by their name off the top, I’m sure no one reading this was born last night. It obviously happens.

 

  1. Phonetic mess: As an English teacher, I cant deal with the silent “j” and “s” that populate these names. I can’t deal with “L-ia” being pronounced “Ladashia” or the -leigh taking place of the -ley and having your child get mad at me for saying it wrong. Can’t do it. And you shouldn’t do it either.

 

  1. You don’t want your kids angry with you: You don’t want them to feel the need to run and get their name changed the minute they turn 18 do you? I have a unique-yet-common-enough first name, and I’ve been dealing with the blow back from it since I was in short pants. But the random jokes that come from my real name are nothing compared to the ridicule names that no other human on earth have outside of your child get. What’s wrong with “Andrew”? Is there a problem with “Tracy”? Hell, if you wanna go cultural, run with Malik! But there’s no accounting for “Dejalatasia” or some such name that will take your kids through hell on the playground. Some kids can be truly harsh (damn near evil) by nature, and those names are like giving them a handful of rocks aimed directly at your child.

 

  1. Don’t put absurd expectations on your child through their name: “Diamond.” “Essence.” “Precious.” “Heaven.” “Princess.” Not made-up names, but your daughter could be the second coming of Halle Berry in her prime and this would still make her look like a narcissist. And if she doesn’t end up looking like a “Diamond,” then you have got a lot of explaining to do. Plus, it’s hard to have a name like “Joy” if this young lady has an attitude more suited for a name like “Vicious.” Just keep these things in mind…

 

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  • Birch please

    Four Resumes with get sent in with the names D’brickishaw, Barkevious, D’quell, and Jon… guess who gets a interview.

  • E.F. Coleman

    Believe this, the hiring person at my last place of employment not only judged the name of the applicant but their address as well.
    My best friend a 3rd grade teacher had students that could NOT spell their name, and that was detrimental to their overall success in school.
    My viewpoint is will it still be cute when your little one is 69 years old and is named La’Queshia, and Dia’Montay.??

  • CecilTerwilliger

    I’d like to know if there is any problem with naming a black kid a name of another culture or language other than American and African. I have a few names I really like that are of japanese, chinese and greek origin even a few german names. Nothing too crazy they’re relatively basic like Kureha or Galatea except not galatea because it sounds like a warrior princess who should be fighting with Xena. I just don’t want my kids to hate me for giving them a stupid name. Personally I’m named after a college so people don’t bother me about my name but I find naming kid Brittany or Mark wouldn’t really fit for me. It’s their name not mine though so should I stop being so selfish and just name them something American and normal or would it be ok to find a name from another culture and use that?

  • DJ JELA

    What’s a “sensible” name? One that is accepted by white society? I think that the election of Barack Hussein Obama is proof that unique or “unpronounceable” names do not determine one’s trajectory.
    I am so tired of us buying into this notion that what is valued in THIS society is correct. Do we really need another slew of Marys or Johns?

    • Shh

      There is nothing all that odd about Obama’s name or its pronunciation, especially in comparison to the examples provide by the author. There is a large difference between unique names and ones that were clearly made by pulling letters out of a Scrabble bag.

  • CaucasianPasserBy

    As the random white guy here, I find all the bickering and insults between the posters here to be pretty sad.  Life isn’t hard enough on black folks in this country that you have to go making it harder?  Whether you call yourself a Christian, Muslim, or just a human being, you need to think about how you treat other people in this world, because it all comes back on you, one way or another.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GVSR43BNZSJRTGVNYV7C4OAYKI Mike Block

    I can’t make this one up: there’s a Fatburger “restaurant” in Jersey City where I saw a name tag that said, “Aquanetta”. 

    C’mon folks. What’s wrong with you?

  • Guest 3.27

    I’m all for unique over ridiculous. That said, it’s a thin line. 

  • Sjohnson2054

    I have one comment on those names, such as Precious, Diamond, Essence, Heaven, Etc.  Go to the local street corner where the prostitutes hang out, and ask them what their names are….Heaven, Precious, Diamond, Essence, etc.  Sadly people will judge and you saying “well, people shouldn’t..” is not going to stop them!  Saddling your child with a name such as this, is often hanging a reputation on them, that they don’t deserve, but will get anyway.  Try to make life easier on your child by giving them a name that doesn’t stick out so much, that they will get teased, bullied, and have rocks thrown at them.  Life as a young person is hard enough without being given a hard time about their name!

  • Gina

    why do they post this article every few months. I mean dont you have
    anything better to do than worry about what someone names their
    children. As a former teacher in an inner city school I think that it is
    shameful you are spending more time judging the kids parents and the
    child on their name. You should be working on your lesson plan instead
    of making up article to insult people and their God given right to name
    their child whatever the heLL they want.

  • Gina

    why do they post this article every few months. I mean dont you have anything better to do than worry about what someone names their children. As a former teacher in an inner city school I think that it is shameful you are spending more time judging the kids parents and the child on their name. You should be working on your lesson plan instead of making up article to insult people and their God given right to name their child whatever the f**k they want.

    • MNEditor2

      Well, the person who wrote this is a teacher so…we’ll let him know your issues.

  • Chris

    Thanks for this article.  I also wanted to add that a lot of standardized tests only have a set character limit these days (being a Christopher, I know the pain of having the R chopped off the end myself).  I visited my nephew at his elementary school one time, and except for him, the roll sheet read like a list of Klingon hors d’oeuvres.

    I think there should be a law where the government waives fees for a name change if your existing name is something really embarrassing, not only for the kid whose name is Klingon for “your sister has a well-developed throwing arm” but also for the kids whose names sound like they were made up by Bart Simpson for a prank call–the Ben and Eileen Dovers of the world, if you will.

    • Nerdcore


      the roll sheet read like a list of Klingon hors d’oeuvres.” 
      oh my, that was hilarious

  • Rah Truth

    As soon as employers see those names, the resumes go in the TRASH. I would trash them too! NEXT!
     

  • ManOrWoman

    My son’s name is Christopher, in America it means, he can say it, spell it and it’s clearly understood.  It also says his name will not define him but his actions as he go through life will.  Later Kunta Kinte

  • Mhampton0

    I loved this article. My children have regular names. I have a unique name that for some reason people cant pronounce or spell. It was my grandmothers name and had no meaning. However constantly being teased about it is why my children have simple names spelled the normal way. I always look at people crazy when I say his name is Christopher spelled the normal way. They just want to toss a letter in there because our people are known for butchering names.

  • rn

    I have been a grocery store cake decorator for many years. The names that I have to write on cakes are seriously rediculous. I spend more time with the customer clarifing the correct spelling that it takes to decorate the cake. And God forbid that someone else takes the cake order, and they don’t bother in gettting that spelling right, and it then ends up wrong on the cake…. Can we just say “Free Cake”.

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  • Jamila

    Depends on what you consider ridiculous. I have two friends named (I can say because they are adults and cool with it) Aijalon and LaSharron. I love both names. Both are horrendously misspelled and mispronounced (la-SHAR-ron. Simple. I-zha-lon. Simple.)  Teachers who should know phonetics mispronounce them even though they are spelled the way they are pronounced. It makes me furious to hear people mess up their beautiful names because they think they’re “ghetto” (both came from middle class families) and not even attempt to pronounce them, especially older people and teachers. The worse part is both names are Bibical and the main people who say they read their Bibles every day are the ones who snide them yet never knew their names were in the Bible until they said something.

  • Shayna Mariah

    Tacoleeta, shaquifa, rondrell are all dumb, ghetto names. I also hate Susan, Ann, Betty, Tom, Buffy, Bill. Kelis, Mikayla, Ashton, are nice names. Not difficult, not ghetto, and not typically common.

  • BOB

    Just choose a name that will not hinder your child’s development or future.  Choose a name that won’t cause your child to get picked on in school, that people who speak English can figure out how to pronounce correctly, and choose a name that will not hinder your child from finding a job or getting into grad school.  It is not hard to pick such a name.  And this applies to everyone, not just African Americans. 

  • Kristen

    I have to disagree.  I am white and my children are white.  When they were young and we lived in a predominantly white town, NO ONE would even bother to try to pronounce their names.  They are all named for scientists I admire, some of whom have difficult names.  Now we live in a more diverse town and all of my children’s friends can pronounce their names without any trouble.  Thank God for the Q’varius and Shai-tan and all of the other unique and beautiful names.  Plus, all of the current Ashley and Heather and Mary, Mark and Luke are now able to be their own self without being one of many (there were 4 Megans in my graduating class).  BTW, when I was named (late 60s) my parents were criticized for the “bad spelling” of Christian and I have many through the years that cannot pronounce or spell my name.

    • HabibtiKhalisa

      lol Shaitan? Are you serious? That is the Arabic pronunciation of  “Satan”.

      • Yep

        Shaitan is also used in the Dune series as an embodiment of evil. 

        • HabibtiKhalisa

          Well yeah…Satan is the embodiment of evil is he not?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erica-Moret/796149478 Erica Moret

      Shaitan? Sounds like Satan or “Shat On”. That poor kid is going to be ridiculed for life all because you only thought about yourself when you came up with the name.

  • Sincereighteen@yahoo.com

    I will name my child whatever i choose. Other cultures have names that are just as challenging to pronounce, and sound “weird”. We always pick on ” black ” names, why? Many names stem from African names? Why are we picking on our culture???? Other cultures, jews and Arabs have names that are our there, they don’t make funny of each other. We shouldn’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mercedes.hardy Mercedes Hardy

    Sorry, but I can say from my own experiences, that it doesn’t ALWAYS mean you are “ghetto” or uneducated when you name your child something different. I am a young, white female, I come from an upper-middle class family, and even though I have 3 sisters with very “normal” names (Samantha, Jessica, and Beth), I got saddled with Mercedes, while my youngest sister is named Harley. Gosh, my initials even spell out MPH (miles per hour)!!! It was extremely difficult growing up with my name; some people mistook me for African-Canadian or Spanish if they learned my name prior to meeting me in person, or teased me mercilessly for being named after a car. Even now, I’m in my early 20’s and people (particularly men), usually have one of three reactions to hearing my name: 1. “No, seriously, what’s your name??” 2. “Are you a stripper or something??” 3. “Can I have a test drive??”  What’s funny is, I have grown to love my name, it’s pretty, and fairly unique (at least where I live), but part of me still wonders how different my life may have been if my parents had chosen Hannah like they originally planned. Regardless of race or status (many, many people have overcome these obstacles), parents truly do need to think VERY carefully about what they name their kids; Will they have a lifetime of teasing? Will they constantly have to correct people? Or, will they be one of 6 kids in the class with a variation of the same name? There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere, and I think that’s all the author was trying to point out.

    • Preciousmoments

       The car was named after the girl, not the other way around.

  • Jahselah1

    So if you’re from a non-anglo country its okay to have a unique name because you’re foriegn, but if your a black person in America, you must conform to euro-centric standards for naming your children?  People should name their children what ever they what to without concern for how teachers can pronounce it or what people will think.  Names should having meanings that must be passed on to the child.  Children are going to get teased, even if their names are John, Suzy, Mary, or Tom.  Black people always getting flack about how and what we name our children, but take a look at Moon Unit, Apple, Crimefighter, et al celebrity babies…get them too.

  • Nakeeta

    Amen

  • http://thankq4commonsense.blogspot.com/ Thank, Q

    I’m so in love with this article.  You could not have expressed this any better than you did.  I hope it hits home with some people.

  • http://www.ithinkyoushould.com/ xobolaji

    this is boring, old-ass recycled commentary. if you don’t like the name, get over it. if you can’t pronounce the name, or you refuse to pronounce it, that’s your problem. whatever personal, subjective reasons you have for disliking what somebody else does, is YOUR problem. and if you can’t live with something, don’t.

    in this life we get to make our OWN decisions, and we get to live with OUR decisions. they may not be popular, they may not hold significance, and/or meaning for you, but what of it? the person who decided to name her child Q’K…doesn’t need to consult you, or anybody else to determine whether or not the name passes muster. and how do you know that that child is going to be made fun of? children don’t sit around plotting the demise of their young friends, but if they do, you can be rest assured that they heard it first from some jackass adult who decided it’s fair game to tear people apart.

    i’d rather read a post by the parents who have chosen to give their child a “unique” name than some self-righteous, self-appointed name-slayer with her own personal crusade against the differently-named. teacher, please.

    ps your intolerance isn’t cute. i for one would not want my child taught by someone who refuses to engage with a child, a CHILD, because her name doesn’t fit your superficial idea of convention.

  • M@ngosk!nMami

    As an American woman with a traditional Nigerian name I was taught early to be proud of my name because it had meaning.  I was taught that the name you give a child becomes a prayer for that child’s life whether it has noble, royal or religious aspirations.  That my African-American brothers and sisters choose something more than the norm does not surprise me, what surprises me is that despite the fact that our culture is alive and waiting for us to finally lay claim, we choose to make up a new culture and new names.  People ask me all the time what my name means.  The love the originality and even ask(just yesterday) if I’d mind if they named their child/grandchild after me.  I  am always happy to share a small piece of Africa and let them know that there’s plenty more where mine came from!

  • Rico Law

    The continent
    Africa was conquered and named after Leo Africanus, a Caucasian. The Americas
    are named after a white Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. Therefore, the name
    African American has nothing to do with who Black people are except that we are
    a conquered people. We brand animals to let others know our animals. Likewise,
    Black people wear names that tell the world that we are a CONQUERED people.
    Names like Smith, Johnson, Bird, Woods, etc. are names that mean “I am a
    conquered Black man.” One problem that Blacks have is that we want to
    assimilate into white culture and “get a job.” Rarely do we hear
    Blacks talking about getting an education so we can come back home to create
    jobs for our communities. White people are tired of us. Are they responsible
    for creating jobs for their white brothers and sisters AND creating jobs for
    the 50+ million Blacks, too? We should have better goals and aspirations for
    our children other than having a “blessed” European sounding name so
    they can be blessed with a job from a friendly white person. Why the heck do we
    go to college and graduate schools? Is the Black man’s only purpose to get a
    job? Can we create jobs for ourselves? The only reason some Caucasians have a
    great standard of living is because we depend on them to supply our needs and wants.
    If Blacks depended on themselves, some whites would be unemployed. All my
    children have MEANINGFUL HOLY NAMES (Kadira, Amir, Bwana) and I don’t care what
    any white or Black person feels about it. I’m not raising them to assimilate
    “hoping” that some white person will kindly bless them with
    employment and a future existence. I’m not racist, I just don’t believe my
    future and the future of my great grandchildren rests in the hands of whites in
    America. I refuse to give them that kind of power. White people are not my lord
    and master. Moses of the Bible went to Pharaoh and told him to let the Children
    of Israel go. Some of the children of Israel were attracted to Pharaoh’s wealth
    and power and didn’t want to leave their taskmaster. So it is with the Black man
    in America. Some of us can’t see any future for ourselves and our children
    unless white people provide that future for us. We don’t want to own the NBA or
    the NFL. We are happy as employees. I thank God for Tyler Perry. That brother
    said “To hell with Hollywood,” and built his own studio in Atlanta.
    Tyler employs Blacks & whites. He is a boss. God is using him to show us
    the Power God has if we trust Him. Tyler is a praying man, a sincere man. Most
    of us on Facebook have more education that Tyler Perry, but we are not
    producing jobs for the Black community like Tyler. It’s as if all these degrees
    we have are really certificates for a higher position on the plantation if we
    have to ask our former slave master’s children for jobs. I employ several professionals
    at my business. I pray for the day when I and my children can provide more jobs
    in the community with the highest unemployment–the BLACK COMMUNITY.

    • Aaron

      Leo Africanus was born in 1494. The continent had been called Africa for millennia before that (back in Roman times or even before). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#Etymology

  • Proverbs31Sista

    Honestly, naming a child solely because it might hinder them from getting a job in the future has LITTLE merit with me and is quite shallow, and I say little mainly because while we have run into names that border on ridiculousness,  who are we to tell anyone they should name their baby “plain” Americanized names? It is nothing but assimilation packaged under the guise of well being. People shouldn’t be naming their children based on the dictates of cultural norms.

    I mean I think Beyonce is the SILLIEST name there is, HOWEVER she used her name and has a career many would dream of, and so do many others with ridiculous names.

    I don’t think we should go around telling people what to name their children. We DO need to start educating people on the importance of a name and how it can affect them and shape their future…. so this is why I am 50/50 with your article.

    As a former school teacher I have seen some stuff too, but I then realized how I perceived a name was based SOLELY on my upbringing and tastes, and has nothing to do with anything or anyone. 

    • Suspicious

      Author didt say the name should be Americanized.  Remember when arguing your point you shouldnt place words in the mouths of others.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erica-Moret/796149478 Erica Moret

        What exactly is ‘Americanized’ anyways? These ‘American’ names referenced are usually from European origin. My name is of Scandinavian origin because my family is from northern Europe.

    • Sheryelle

      Beyonce is named after her mother’s family. When names have meaning, it takes away the “silliness” although I think Beyonce is a beutiful name.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erica-Moret/796149478 Erica Moret

      Really? You don’t care if the name you give your child might hinder them from getting a job later on in life? That seems awful selfish. Beyonce is a very nice name, but Bahanenagash or L’Quariontoine is not. 

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  • Jjoneswrites

    I love your writing of this article, but I disagree. But, I am glad that you voiced your opinion on this matter. However, I think that a name like “Dajalatashia” is beautiful….We have to stop worrying what the outside world thinks. I never heard an Asian parent say “don’t name our child Zhuy, Ling, Thang, or Lauo….”

    • Kevin

      Actually Asian parents tend to give their children American names…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erica-Moret/796149478 Erica Moret

        You’re absolutely correct, and Asian’s are also most likely to change their own names to ‘Americanize’ themselves. For instance, my car mechanics name is Zhou something or other. He changed it to David Park.

  • F3ral Anarchy

    i think in the end regardless of how everyone feels parents MUST think of their childs future employment.  Yes we can talk about the future of having our own business to run etc.  but at the same time you must take into account that maybe not every child wants to own there own business. So that child will be going out into “the mans” workforce.  somebody had a good idea a few comments back. and i take this from a cousin of mine.  She was given one of the names like we are speaking of here but at the same time her middle name is “easy to spell, read and say” and is “very anglo”.  Give the child a name they can use in “the mans” workforce just in case……

    • Idontknowu

      coming from a person with a difficult name, i say please please give them an easy first name.

  • Sdb

    As a teenager, I was given the honor of naming a child.  I presented the name ‘Meshema’.  Some of you may laugh and interpret her name as “ethnic” but what I did not know at the time is that the word ‘shema’ means ‘Hear’ in Hebrew.  In the context of The Holy Bible ‘shema’ means “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut 6:4).

    True story: While completing a training program, I became friendly with several people in the program.  There were only two women, myself and an Anglo.  Someone asked the other woman about me and rather than respond, ‘she is tall or she wears glasses’, the Anglo woman responded, ‘the black girl’ with an emphasis on black. 

    Parents may name their child(ren) whatever they like. As a whole, it serves us best to honor the person rather than his/her name because love (especially self-love) begins at home, at church and in the community.

    BishopBabblings.com/WhatIsYourName?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erica-Moret/796149478 Erica Moret

      Ooh! So it IS offensive to describe someone as being black if someone else asks for a description. I wasn’t sure, but boy does that make things difficult. Sometimes it’s so much easier to say ‘the black girl’, because then people immediately know who you’re talking about. We notice the color of your skin, of course, but we don’t judge you for it. I’d imagine you’d refer to me as ‘the white girl’ if someone of color asked you. Am I wrong?

    • elle123

      Children are very curious and concerned as to why they were named a certain name. If their name has an honorable or literary or ethnic or family significance, they take ownership of it proudly. If it is a little bit challenging, they get used to that. Life is about more than convenience or fitting in, or filling out forms easily. I have a very common name; I don’t attach much significance to it. My name was the “Linda” of a popular song in 1947, and my young, innocent parents thought that was just the neatest thing to name their kid.

      I think African or ethnic names are mostly very musical-sounding and evocative. But then, I am not prejudiced. I would hate for somebody to have to name their baby something just to avoid that child being profiled or discriminated against. If a teacher can learn lesson plans and all kinds of other facts, they can certainly memorize a slightly different spelling. What a world we live in!

  • http://twitter.com/assassinsfate Davanward

    My son has a traditional African name.  When I found out I was pregnant, I went right on down to the African book store  and purchased a book of baby names. My son name does not fit the “norm” but it fits him and I would not have it any other way. In fact, I am currently expecting my second child and my spouse and I have already chosen non-traditional names for both genders. Again, I referenced websites with African baby names for idea. I see nothing wrong with unusual names as long as they are not over the top, can be spelled by both the parent and the child, and doesn’t sound like a disease you catch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deb.christina Deb Christina

    I had to closely consider all the types of teasing my daughter could possibly receive from her given name. I did a lot of research before making my choice. I looked up the meanings and proper pronunciations. Although, I didn’t want her to have a common name I also didn’t want her to have a ridiculously out of this world one either. I wanted her name to be spoken with respect and honor. So I named her Xolani Alexandria. It has nothing to do with her roots because she is a beautifully mixed Haitian/Brazilian little girl but the name sounded lovely. 
      

  • http://twitter.com/L0v3i0n_Tins20 LoVeIoN ShAnPrIaLe!!

    I have a common name “Kenya”..Yet PEOPLE STILL SAY IT WRONG!!!! There’s a couple of girls running around here with my name…spelled the same way, but the pronounced same other way smh. It’s a shame when you have friends who’s names you can’t even pronounce due to some “creative thought” their parents had. ROBRANIEHSA IS A PRIME EXAMPLE <—WHAT THE FREAK IS THAT. I can't say that. Stop combining two people's names to make your childrens names. It's embarrassing.

    • Shayna Mariah

      My twin daughter’s names are Mya-Lin and Jessalyn. For those who can read, you would think it’s obvious how to pronounce their names. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.

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  • Coco Black

    I don’t understand why people are getting so upset??? Come on…some so called African-American names are a joke!! Many are NOT African names but Europrean names ‘with a twist’…which some how makes it an African Anerican name!! If you are going for an African name/Muslim name etc….then go for it! They are beautiful names. However, those odd sounding, odd spelling … Make it look like your parents couldn’t spell lol.

  • Netdandri

    I could be wrong, but I think you may be a little traumatized by having a very unique name, and you’re over compensating by only approving of very simple names. You said not to name your child Joy because it may not fit the personality. Come on, Joy?

    I love names like Joy, Faith, Essence, Heaven, and Journey. They mean something, and they’re beautiful names to me. Now, I can see when people go too far with La-shia…

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  • wondertwin

    I am squarely of the mindset that believes naming a child is a resposibility, NOT a creative outlet. I went to school with a girl named Tequila. These Shaneaqua’s and Paketha’s do nothing but brand children with names that are “project” calling cards.

  • MixedUpInVegas

    As a woman of color with an weird ethnic name, I implore all parents to think long and hard about the name their child will carry through life.  Obviously my mother and father never thought that I would rise to a professional level and have to apply for jobs beyond anything they might have experienced themselves.  It has been a real pain having to explain myself everywhere I go.

    My name is not African or Arabic, but neither am I.  I’m a native born American, and so were they.  For those who feel drawn to their African or Middle Eastern roots, I congratulate you.  That is not my experience nor is it in line with my ethnicity.

     Do your kids a favor and at least give them a name that is easy to spell and pronounce.  Surely there are many lovely and meaningful ethnic names that your child can learn to spell before they finish first grade.

  • Black and Proud

    Whats Wrong with Tracy?..Andrew?…..nothing if your white …LOL…let me get this right , dont name your child Heaven or Essence ..but name them Amy and Peter…LOL..SMH

  • RenJennM

    “Regular”/ “normal”/”common” names are lame, boring, and monotonous. How many Ashley’s, Tiffany’s, Lisa’s, Jennifer’s, Mary’s, Michael’s, Brian’s, Christopher’s, William’s, and Timothy’s are we going to have in this country? Ugh! There was a time when names like Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Caesar, and Apollo were common. But now if you name your child one of those, you’re ghetto? C’mon now. That’s unfair, and you all KNOW it’s relative depending on where you’re from. And being that America is a melting pot, it should be commonplace to hear “unique” names.

    Names that are food-related, liquor-related, automobile-related, crime-related, furniture-related, or unrelated to the child himself/herself ARE, indeed, unattractive and unnecessary. But if it’s just something YOU have never heard of before, as long as the child isn’t embarrassed, who are YOU to say the child has a weird name?

    And what is it with people saying that a name will keep a person from success? What? Who? Please. Condoleezza Rice and Beyonce are doing just fine and their names are FAR from “normal” or “regular”. And why are you all getting mad that parents are “remixing” the spellings of common names? Yes, I agree that some spellings are ugly on paper. But others like Jhene (“Janae”) are not bad and are actually cool. (And for the record, putting “-leigh” instead of “-ley” on the end of a name like Ashley is not a “Black thing”; I know a couple of white girls who spell their name like Ashleigh. Just saying.)

    Though there are names out there that are unattractive and unnecessary (or what some of you may call “ghetto”), there are TOO many people with the same names! In school or at work, you end up having to say “Michael B.” and “Michael W.” or “Tiffany S.” and “Tiffany D.”. It’s ridiculous. My name’s Mecca. Most of my life, I’ve been the ONLY Mecca in my class or at work, and I liked it that way. Names don’t have to be “ghetto” or hard to pronounce, but they can be uniquely attractive. Names like Celeste (means “heavenly”), Saran (means “joy”), Gia (means “GOD is gracious”), and Cree are less known and not as used, AND are more cool, lovely, and unique. Give your kid something fresh and new, yet still sounds good and spells nicely.

    Creativity doesn’t have to be ghetto or outrageous, and “professional-sounding” doesn’t have to be boring. Strike a balance between the two when naming your child.

    • SweetPea

      I like your comment and agree about being unique….unique can be tricky and relative to your situation. As a child i was surrounded by Susan and Cathy and Angela, while trying to explain the prounciation and spelling of my name (which in the country it came from translates to simple `Mary` lol!). My husband and i gave our three kids what would be `common`names, but in the area where we live there are a lot of middle eastern and south asian kids, so my kids names are the unusal ones :)

    • SweetPea

      And yes, naming kids after alcohol and fancy cars is just dumb….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5IXT654FX7H2X3GVRAZTQREWGE Goldenlady410

      Well said and for the record, Mecca is a LOVELY name.

    • NaturallyMe

      Mecca is a beautiful name for the record! And I agree that you must strike a balance between the two. My family has difficulties with me being afrocentric and wanting to be creative and give my furture kids afrocentric or creative names. I love the names Sanaa and Khalil and more than likely I will name my daughter Sanaa and my son Khalil if I am blessed with children one day.

      How I balance it out is that I will give my children a “traditional” middle name for them to choose which one they want to use in the professional world. Or get even more creative and have their initals spell a name like S.A.M and they can use that.

    • MoreDots

      I think you’re misinterpreting the author’s intent here. He/she is opposed to absurd named – liek 
      Q’Kavarimantis – not just unique or uncommon ones.

      I guarantee the author would have no problem with naming your child Caesar or Cleo, and probably wouldn’t take issue with Mecca or Jhene either.

      Caesar is fine.
      C-zhar is not.

      Cleopatra is fine.
      Qui’lowpeturah is not.

      Mecca is fine.
      Meqcckuaie is not.

      Be creative. Pick a name you like. Tailor it to your tastes.
      Do all these things, but don’t do any of them simply because you want to be rebellious, or to an extent that makes them absurd.

      • RenJennM

        I understand your point, but the author had many points besides the one you’re referring to. I actually agreed with the author’s point of remixing a “regular” name to an ugly spelling as being unnecessary. Where I disagreed with the author, however, is when it was stated that a child’s name would keep them from employment, and when it was also stated that common names like “Andrew” or “Tracy” are better than more “unique” names. For the record, I’ve seen names that are more culturally based (like Arabic names) hold people back from employment more than “ghetto” names have–reasons being that those with Arabic names may have potentially been Muslim, and therefore possibly terrorists. 

        And trust me, I’ve heard of some JACKED UP names: Akillah, Sarah (for a boy), and Ashole (pronounced “ash-o-LAY”; spelled almost like… well, you know). And admittedly, the ones used in the author’s examples are pretty jacked up too. But the points I am making is that “common” names are not ALWAYS better choices or necessary ones, and that it is not a BAD thing to name your child something unique, or at least less common, as long as it spells well and sounds nice. 

        I just get tired of basic names, especially when a mother NAMES her kid something basic. I’m like, “You could’ve named your baby ANYTHING in the world, and you come up with Bob?! Wow. How inspiring.”

        • Onboard

          I have to disagree with you.  Names do hinder job prospects

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5IXT654FX7H2X3GVRAZTQREWGE Goldenlady410

    Ok, I am FIRST OFF wondering why so much hostility from Black people towards Black people?  The article seems to have struck a nerve among our people and has bought out such corrosive feelings toward one another.  Who gives a eff whether your name is of European or Arabic or African descent?  Do you all let the origin of your name define your blackness?  My name is Angela, I don’t give an “eff” if it’s European or not, I am still a Black woman (say it loud, I’m BLACK and I’m proud) I really don’t get why the sistas are telling one another off on here.  I can tell so many of us still have plantation mentality because for one, people are STILL walking around trippin off of slavery and referring to the white man as “slave master.” I don’t know about any of you but I do NOT have a slave master.  I never have as I was blessed not to have been born during the enslavement of the Black people in this country.  Besides as for the “slave master” names, if your first name isn’t a supposed slave master name then your last name probably is unless you have an African last name.  The only slave master that you have now is carrying around bitterness and anger over what’s past.  Yes it happened, yes it pisses me off, yes remnants of it STILL exist in the oppression and discrimination of people of color in this country, HOWEVER that is no reason to keep enslaving yourselves by walking around trippin about it and hating your fellow African-Americans because guess what folks?  THAT IS PLANTATION MENTALITY TOO.  Don’t believe me? read the Willie Lynch letter where effects of his demonic “letter” still exists today because he basically outlined the various and numerous ways to keep us divided because even then he understand what POWER us Black people would have in unity.  The hatred and animosity in some of these responses to one another proves Willie Lynch was right.  Why not spread more love and unity among one another.  (Someone is probably seething and seeking to tell me off and “educate” after reading my response, LOL!!)

    Now, my opinion on the naming of children, to address what one blogger said, yes white people are trippin naming their children whack names too, but we aren’t worried about them, they can worry about themselves.  No one is saying that as Black people we can’t get creative or name our children more ethnic names (for example nothing wrong with Aamir, Malik, Jamal, Aaliyah, Aisha, etc) or even the sista who commented that her name was made up (Jalita, which is a pretty name BTW, wouldn’t have known it was made up if you didn’t tell us) those are ethnic names from different cultures throughout the world, however some names that Black people do give their children cross the border of ridiculousness.  If a Black person has named their children after a car, an Italian fashion designer or any alcoholic beverage it’s just well…well….ghetto (IMO, sorry if it steps on ANYONE’S toes, not meant to be offensive).  Anyone who works in the professional world (or school teachers I KNOW you feel me on this) you can look at a person’s name and AUTOMATICALLY determine if certain names are African-Americans.  Now that isn’t always a bad thing because I have never seen a white boy named Malik or a white girl named Fatimah and an ethnic sounding name does NOT in and of itself work against a person in applying for and subsequently securing a job but when the nature of a name is just plan ridiculous (la-a?, I mean was her momma efin serious??)  who’s going to call her for an interview?  To be honest, what kind of mental predeterminations is that employer develop just based on her name?  It’s like when we say something to the effect that Shaneequa or Laqueesha is a ghetto name, there may be many Shaneequa’s or Laqueesha’s of the world who are anything but ghetto but because of her name, she’s been labeled.  All the writer was saying is keep that in mind BLACK PEOPLE when naming your children something you think is unique.  Remember they have to go through life with that name…or at least until they are 18 yrs old.

  • SweetPea

    Im Canadian born of Jamaican parents. My first name is Scandinavian, my last name is British. I dont quite understand why so much anger has to be part of a conversation about names. Why must someone give their child an african name just because we are of african descent 100% or in part. My family has no ties to African so there was no incentive to give me an african name. I agree that some names are too far off base, but in terms of choosing a name, people have the freedom to name their children whatever they deem approriate. Your culture isnt carried strictly in your name, what we teach our children about their past is much more important.

  • ThankYouYaweh

    I am a Nigerian born woman living in America and honestly I will never stray from naming my children Igbo names. That is my culture and the names have very deep beautiful names. My own name means Thank you God. Yes I was extremely angry growing up here in America where no one works hard to pronounce a name that sounds just like it looks. They would often add a “P” when there was never one, and so on an so forth. I became increasingly aware of the importance and beauty of my name as I got older because I became far more aware of my unique culture. I do definitely agree about not naming your kids outrageous names. Like Lemonjello…Yeah…I just can’t. But when a name has a great meaning and it is hard to say I could care less about how hard it is for others to pronounce. At least have the name be meaningful. Btw, Princess in my Igbo is Adaeze. It is one of the most beautiful names I’ve ever heard and I don’t find it dumb to name your daughter Princess.

    • Stefany

      “Yes I was extremely angry growing up here in America where no one works hard to pronounce a name that sounds just like it looks.”
      I think people should not get offended because others cannot pronouce a name that is not familiar to them. I now live in Europe and many names that are common in America are pronounced differently here. I have a difficult time pronouncing them simply because certain sounds are not familiar in the American English language.  Im sure when you came to America that you had difficulty pronoucing words. 
      I have an unfamiliar name.  I dont get offended if others cant pronounce it.  That’s something parents have to realize when naming their children “unique” names.  And if the name has 4+ syllables, forget about it…

    • http://www.facebook.com/kayla.esbjorn Kayla Ancrum

      No one is shaming using actual African names. African names are wonderful and beautiful.

       Its just…. in like the 90’s and late 80’s when Afrocentrism became popular in America, Suddenly black Americans fixated on certain African names ( like keisha, for example) and then used them to death. Then they started to get ” creative” with the names, adding ” iesha”s “nay” And “La” to try to make their child’s name unique but still “African sounding” which was super super stupid. They also stupidly over used ” Kente cloth” Cowrie jewlery and other generic things like that. All of this malarkey is the aftermath of that.

      In the 70’s none of this shit was even happening.

    • Starrwilson535

      I was somewhat surprised by the article about what we should name our children.  Just because it is a name that challenges your linguistics, does not mean that there is something wrong with that name.  This country has millions of immigrants from other countries that do not have “easy” to pronounce names.  Does that mean that there is something “wrong” with that name? No.  As an educator, I am shocked at the narrow view that you have of the world.  Not sure what college you went to…but you are failing…stop judging, stop punishing, and open up your mind.  Did you take a foreign language in college?  Try taking a harder language, one that will open up your mind and hearts to accept things that are different and force you out of your comfort zone.  I am sorry that this magazine would publish an article by an educator such as yourself…

      • Thesuspect

        Are you responding to the wrong person? “ThanYou” never mentioned being a teacher not did she discount naming children unique names. 

  • Live_in_LDN

    There was a social psychology study which they did in the UK recently. I’m sorry oparaphrase the study and the results but here goes:-

    They submitted hundreds of exams papers to exam boards and each paper had identical answers. The only thing that was different was the name on the front of the paper.

    In a nutshell they found that exam papers with Indian or Chinese sounding names were marked higher whilst papers with ‘black’ sounding names were marked down. Christian and anglo names were marked closest to their actual score with not much bias either way.

    Sorry to give a very vague summary of this study but I thought it would be relevent to this topic. I will try and find sources…

    • Coco Black

      What survey was this?!!…I’m a Londoner too and have never hear of such a survey. Plus, aren’t exam papers….college and university level ‘not named’ but each student had a unique reference number. So you clearly just made that up!!! Lol

  • Anon

    Shakarika & Shitara are the worst I’ve heard.

  • http://thefoolishtruth.com/ Naeem Congo

    I wrote on this very issue years ago. Parent’s are getting carried away. They’re not thinking about their child’s future. These made up names are attached to the worst kind of stereotypes. 

    • http://blackonpurpose.blogspot.com/ gryph

      oh yeah. what a tragedy that is. 

      given that your name is ‘naeem’ ‘congo’ i can only assume that you are a suicide bomber and a coltan-mining rapist.

  • http://blackonpurpose.blogspot.com/ gryph

    i generally favor ridiculous creativity. go to town i say! 

    just – for goodness sake’s –  give the kid a pronouneable middle name so later in life they can have a choice without giving up their ‘identity’.

    oh and the english-teacher writer is a bit of a pretentious snob. 

    that’s all.

    • Starrwilson535

      I agree

  • http://twitter.com/Normally_Weird driven

    and lets not act like black folks are the only ones naming their kids crazy names. white folks name their kids stupid shyt like dakota, hunter, forest, pioneer, bristol, apple???  but they can still get hired right??? its not about the name. its about ethnicity. if you’re name sounds like black, they ain’t trying to hire you.

    • Live_in_LDN

      I do understand what you are saying but I think in this case and especially in light of your examples, status trumps race.

      I don’t think its much about ethnicity but the fact that you have named celebrity kids and because of their parent’s connections these kids will never have to fill out a job application let alone be judged by one.

      Same for Willow Smith, you can put her name alongside Dakoka, Hunter, Forest etc but it doesn’t matter if she’s black, her parents have status.

      Similarly, I doubt no one is in a rush to hire Billy Bob, Cleatus and Peggy Sue either.

      I think status holds stronger connotations to names than race.

      • http://twitter.com/Normally_Weird driven

         no i have heard some of these names in real life and they exist in real life, except for apple and bristol maybe.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5IXT654FX7H2X3GVRAZTQREWGE Goldenlady410

        @ Live_in_LDN,  LMBO!!!  I feel you on the Cleatus thing, like as a woman how do you call out THAT name in a moment passion and it sound sexy?  I mean Billy Bob and shorten it to Billy and Peggy Sue, while very rural COULD squeek by or she could shorten it to Peggy but Cleatus?  He’s hit!!!  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5IXT654FX7H2X3GVRAZTQREWGE Goldenlady410

      You know Driven, I feel you because as you so correctly said Black people are NOT the only ones naming their children dumb behind names but with White folk, a lot of time they have “the complexion for protection” or the “skin that gets them in” or either their parents have connections to get them jobs where they might not face the same challenges and obstacles that some Black people may have to face.

    • MoreDots

      In the hierarchy of names, I do think I would rate “words out of the dictionary” above “random mishmash of phonemes”.

      Would I be any more likely to hire a rural white kid named “Tractor Pull” than a urban black kid named “Kiliquaffuhran”? No, they’d both probably get filed at the bottom of the stack… behind Derrick and Nacim and Britney and Sophia.

  • DeepThinker

    Also stop giving our girls skripper names…Destiny, Chasity, Desia, Unique, Diamond….

    • http://twitter.com/Normally_Weird driven

       whats wrong with those names? black people can’t do anything right can we? i think those are pretty and unique names. quit being judgmental.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kayla.esbjorn Kayla Ancrum

        You think those are unique names? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1415696195 Calandrial PhoenixRising Afriy

       Destiny is a common name used by people of all races….so is Chasity. I can understand not wanting to use the rest. 

    • Coco Black

      I don’t like a lot of those 12 letter made up names however, I quite like Destiny and Chasity!! I’d forget about Unique…that’s just funny!! But each to there own!!

    • Starrwilson535

      Blue Ivy

  • DeepThinker

    Is it just me or do the kids (especially girls) with hard to pronounce names always have such bad attitutes and were the playground bullies? Maybe from having to defend their names. LOL  Taterneishia (phonetically pronounced -tottuneisha) used to make my life a living h-ell.
    Is it just me or do some of these unique names sound like additives and preservatives or cleaning chemicals?
    There are beautiful African names that people can give their children instead of something like “Triethanolaimie” or “Carpreshayna”
    We got to do better.

    • http://twitter.com/Normally_Weird driven

       no, its just you taking your personal experience out on a whole group of people. that’s called stereotyping. i think you are exaggerating the spelling of the names.

    • Rachael

      No its not just you. The kids who were nasty to me in elementary school were named “Taquila”, “LaDavia”. LOL I’m startng to think that maybe it was some misplaced aggression going on. I would be mad if that was my name too. LOL
      *****
      Nothing wrong with African names – I have a nieces named Ashanti and Nia. I like those. I have a problem with “Laqueekalaka” and “Lemonjello” and names of THAT nature.

    • http://twitter.com/littlemisstruth Truth Hurts

      Yes, and it’s actually a pretty common psychological occurrence. Bullies are usually products of bullies and/or bullied themselves. It’s very likely that they’ve been picked on before and names are usually one of the first things kids go for. They then turn around and unleash that misplaced anger on someone else.

  • http://twitter.com/Normally_Weird driven

    i absolutley love my african-american name. i would never want my children to have cookie-cutter euro-american names. i love originality. its not the parents with the problem. its not the children with the problem. IT IS the NARROW minded prejudice people who wont hire someone because they can’t relate to their name. I don’t have to conform to ignorance. I am proud of my name and im glad my parents were conscious enough to name me and my siblings unique afro-centric names. J A L I T A. made up, no meaning, but so what? got a problem?

    • Common Sense is NOT Common

      I like your name too. If its Jalita. It sounds normal and has 3 syllables instead of 10. And its not a name that can also be counted as an object or another everyday word like tu-morrow, Diamond, Alize, etc. *snaps* to your momma for giving you a creative name that won’t hinder your job placements.

    • MoreDots

      I think the author is not so much arguing against unique names – like Jalita – and more against *absurd* names. Names that use obscure phonemes, unconventional spellings, and non-standard characters, or are abnormally long.

      If a bank teller asks for your name and you say “Jalita”, they will probably spell it correctly on the first try. Jalita rolls of the tongue nicely. It’s easy to remember, and still unique. It employs a suffix in -ita that we’ve heard before, and any English speaker will be comfortable with.

      Clearly your parents thought about your name, and considered the impact it would have on your life. Your name is “normal”, but still unique.

      Not everyone is so lucky,

      • Themcleods

        Wanting to be “ethnic” is one thing….both of my kids have N. African names…but names that can be easily pronounced and aren’t so unique that no one else has them.  But when we do stuff like combine dad and mom’s name into one name…..you’re venturing into the ridiculous.  Like the article said: think of the kids and what they have to go through in life. 
        I aggree whole heartedly with MOREDOTS, being unique is fine, but being outragous is a burden left for the child and that; for the parent, is selfish (your only wish to go about town bragging how “unique” your baby is).

  • Live_in_LDN

    Wasn’t there already an article about a couple weeks ago?

    • MNEditor2

      Not exactly. We did one on unforgivable kids names heard along with ones that celebs named their kids, but we haven’t done one on why it’s not idea to get too creative. Either way though, thanks for checking this one out too! 

      • Live_in_LDN

         Ahhh fair enough!

        It’s a good topic anyway and I predict I will be leaving more comments on it later.

  • IllyPhilly

    Wait a minute you telling me Mesothemaliayah is NOT good enough to get a job at the bank for!? Ya mama!

  • YeahIWentThereCuzICan

    This one here’s touchy. I agree that naming our children after household cleaning items (yes, I have a homegirl who actually named her daughter after her laundry detergent. no, I won’t say in case they read this) is ludicrous. Having moved from D.C. to ATL has been quite an amusing adventure in regards to some of the names these poor babies got. I’m undecided what’s worse; Taqueetalasia or Heather. It seems some parents try too hard to emulate Anglo-Saxon (white for the uneducated reader) ways, and I feel a pang of sadness to see a beautiful Nubian (‘black’ y’all) baby named Elizabeth or Skyler. My two have African names and I’m proud about that. Instead of us emphasizing gearing our children up to be a corporate slave to get the government machine running…..why aren’t we focused on entrepreneurship—-that is successful to the point that when our baby Nubians are adults, they won’t have to worry about some racist Corporation deeming them worthy of their joke of a paycheck.  Why are we inferring that there’s a chance that they will fall into Legal troubles in the future? If we raise them right, the only thing they’ll need a courthouse for is to process their marriage license! C’mon folks. We gotta stop subscribing to the negative stereotypes. That’s waaaay more important than whether or not we name our daughter Taqueetalasia vs. Teresa.

    • Blackbeauty950

      nubian people are from the nobu tribe which is in northen africa educate yo self put simply if you black then you aint nubian

      • Themcleods

        Re-check your facts.  Are you sure you’re knowledgable on the meaning/definition of “Nubia”?   I don’t think this forum is a place to try and “School” anyone.  Nubia was Black prior to Arab invasion of the 600’s (As was Egypt, Sudan, Morroco, etc).  The article was about names. 

        • HabibtiKhalisa

          Nubians were and still are black people.

  • RedButterfly81

    My daughter name is Aaliyah, but she has classmates  named Reality and Tu-Morrow. Also, thank God my parents named me Natasha.

    • Coco Black

      Aaliyah is a beautiful name!!

      • RedButterfly81

        Thank you. :)

  • I Patterson3000

    lol people seriously need to stop and think.i mean really, q’kavarimantis??? lol that sounds like something from a star trek or star wars movie.it doesn’t even sound real.what i want to know is why she did it.i get it,it’s your kid you want him to have a interesting and diverse name.something that isn’t heard often,but sounds good and has a REAL meaning.that was cute when he was born,but what about when he’s a grown man?? i hate to say it but his name is a joke.and sooner then later,he’l be saying the same thing.

  • Rachael

    I thank God he blessed me with parents who had the good sense to give me and my siblings sensible names. Even my nieces and nephews have presentable, easy to spell names WITHOUT all of the extra apostrophe’s and weird spellings. 

    • YeahIWentThereCuzICan

      By ‘sensible’ you must mean Anglo-Saxon, you blessed little thang you. Cool; your parents were too afraid what ‘they’ would think if they had gotten a book of (gasp) African names to identify you descendants of slaves whose identity has been tainted enough by Massa. I’m not saying they should have named you Taqueetalasia, but for some reason, your post has the distinct smell of Sellout. 

      • Slimmommy

        Dont forget to get on REDBUTTERFLY81.  She named her daughter Aaliyah, an Arabic name.  And Natasha is a Slavic /Eastern European name.  What’s your name, btw?  Did your parents consult a book of African names before naming you?

        • YesISaidItCuzIMeantIt

          My name is French (as in the cultural background, lest your dumb ass gets to thinkin I’m telling you “French” is my first name). My son’s name is Arabic and my daughter’s name is Swahili.  My Jamaican mother was excited about my birth, and needed no name books. My first name is a variation of hers and her father’s. That Sellout stuff is sho’ gettin’ you hot under the collar ain’t it? If the shoe fits; why go around barefoot! #ShawtyYouCan’tHandleMe!#

        • StopHatinMNAndLetMeExpress

          My name is SitYourIgnorantButtDownSomewhereAndReadABook. My first name is French (as in culture, lest your dumb butt thinks it’s actually “French”). My Native American/Afrikan father and Jamaican mother variated it to show honor to my mother and grandfather. My son’s first name is Arabic. My daughter’s first name is Swahili. Your first name has GOTTA be UnderTheSpell. I can tell. 

          • Rachael

            LMAO! So wait your NOT Arabic but you gave your son and Arabic name? Didn’t the Arabs help sell our people into slavery AND you have the nerve to tell me my post was “sell out” LMAOOOOO The irony is EVERYWHERE in your post. LMAO!

            *******
            This is the kind of stupidity I’m talking about. This is the dumb black chick I encountered in school named “Taqueekalaka” who would have claimed I thought I was white because my name is “Rachael”. Just completely idiotic. Black people – we gotta do better. 

            • StopHatinMNAndLetMeExpress

              My son’s Islamic father selected his name. There’s a reason why the first three letters of “assume” are a-s-s. Don’t be that reason. It’s not very “sensible” of you. I agree. WE gotta do better, and can start by not nit-picking over the irrelavent.

            • JustSayinComeOnMN!

               My son’s Islamic father selected his name. Because my 2nd beautiful baby is male; I didn’t mind letting his daddy name him. You’ll know my first name soon enough shawty. Right after your man calls it out wishin it was me while he’s reluctantly phuckin you! Afrikans actually were co-perpetuators of slavery. I don’t know why you and SlimComplacent are trying to engage in a battle of wits with me. You won’t win! Who cares if your complacent parents gave you a name that in no way, shape, or form reflects your heritage? Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of like minded sellouts to shoot the breeze with.

              • Slimmommy

                Have to school you again….

                Arab is an ethnicity.  Muslim is a religion.  So, unless the Islamic father is Arab (which Im sure he isnt) then he named his son after a group of people that has nothing to do with him.  Not all Arabs are Muslim.  And, Im sure you know, not all Muslims are Arab.

                • HabibtiKhalisa

                  Most Muslims like to name our children beautiful names as reflected in the Quran, or after great figures in Islamic history. Those names happen to be Arabic in most cases but have meaning in our religion. So what’s the problem with that?

              • Rachael

                Its okay Taqueekalaka. I can see your feelings are hurt. You’ll get over it. LOL

              • Rachael

                Oh now your blaming your man for your sell out Arabic name?!? LOL Who is the real one perpetuating slavery? All up and under the people who helped enslave you and you’re rockin that name like your proud. LOL!
                *
                Your one of those fake black people who “think” you’re liberated and so much better than everyone else. While you have more than 1 kid by 2 different men and are about as close to the wedding altar as Kim Kardashian. LMAOOOOO. You’re mad because what I said was true. Its alright. You’ll get over it. They got places where you can go and change your name Taqueekalaka. #JustHelping***And no man is calling out my name during s.e.x. because I don’t HAVE to put out in order to keep a man. So while you’re out there making some RANDOM dude your new ” other baby daddy” consider the benefits a giving your child a presentable name so that he or she can at least get a job in the future. Have a good evening sweetie! :)

                • FreeSpeechAintFreeApparentlyMN

                   Only a fool argues with a fool. it’s little surprise my inbox indicated you and SlimDummy up nearly half the night tryna find your way under my silky caramel skin. Happy Black History Month. Go on and touch up your perm or something. I’m sure you require chemically created ‘good hair’ to go with your ‘sensible’ name n all. Later Hater! ; )

                  • MoreDots

                    While I’m sure your beliefs are strongly held, your passion seems to come at the expense of eloquence.

                    Focus more on the composition of your arguments – and less on projecting an air of affected superiority – and people will take you more seriously.

              • http://twitter.com/littlemisstruth Truth Hurts


                You’ll know my first name soon enough shawty. Right after your man calls it out wishin it was me while he’s reluctantly phuckin you! ”

                And you lost any credibility you had right there. Fight smart or don’t fight at all. When you stoop to low levels like that, you make it obvious that you’re no better than the person you’re arguing with and that you’d rather sling dirt than knowledge. 

                • FreeSpeechAintFreeApparentlyMN

                  You right sis. My bad. I allowed my lower self to take over at that point but sorry to inform ya that my credibility shant be based on your opinion. The Facts are the Facts. There are no perfect Nuwaupians. When you pass gas, I’m sure it doesn’t smell like butterfly nectar either! ;)

            • Starrwilson535

              North Africa is a Muslim country and the Africans there speak Arabic and their faith is Muslim.  So that is probably why she chose an Arabic name for her child….she did say her father was
              Afrikan….I am Black and I have a degree in North African/MiddleEast History….we should be educated about something before we speak….ijs

              • FreeSpeechAintFreeApparentlyMN

                Right On Homie! Those little girls just can’t handle my Real. I called a spade a spade and it struck their nerves of Denial. It happens. Praise Be for people like YOU to tell it like it is! 

              • Slimmommy

                Really, you have a degree in African studies??  However, you believe that North Africa is a country and not a region. 
                You, *cough,cough* I mean she chose an Arabic name believing that it connected her to her roots.  But clearly if you, I mean if she, knew enough about her roots then she would know that Africa is comprised of many regions.  It is not one blended continent.  Arabs, throughout history have enslaved and terrorized many “black” regions in Africa.  So your, I mean her argument is weak.  How can she know where she is from and still not know about the people who enslaved her ancestors?  And not know that by giving her child an Arabic name has nothing to do with Islam.  People have to stop assuming that Arab equals Muslim.  One is a people, the other is a religion.  There are many Arabs who are Christian, even athiests.  

            • Themcleods

              This is a weak argument.  Black parents give their children European names every day….”slave master” names and no one balks at that.  Let’s stick to the issue.

          • Slimmommy

            So why are you bothering Rachel about having an African name?  An Arabic name is not an African name.  And last I checked a French name is not of African origin. 

            Before you get on someone else about their choices be sure you can back up your position.

        • Rachael

          @Slimmommy I guarantee you her name is like Boomsheika or La’Quavika or something just as laughable. Its why she’s taking this post so seriously. I think me and a couple of other posters hurt her feelings. Oh well…..LOL She should be mad at her parents not us. 

      • Rachael

        You mad Taqueekalaka? Is that why you posted a fake name as opposed to your real name? I love my name which is of Jewish origin by the way and I love my sisters names which come from African tribes and of Jewish origin. They reflect our heritage.
        ******
         Thats what hilarious about you apostrophe obsessed little girls. Naming your child Aquanetta doesn’t make her anymore “black” then anyone else. I laugh as fools like you overcompensate and try to name your kids all sorts of ridiculously silly names like Panjama (pronounced Pan-Ja-May) and OrangeJello. 

        • HabibtiKhalisa

          So why is she a “sellout” for selecting an Arabic name for her child when you are here bragging about a Jewish name? Jews are no angels either; please do some research as to their role in the slave trade and historic oppression of black Africans as well.

      • Ms_Sunshine9898

        who said anglo saxon? the author just said unique names are fine as long as they don’t do the kid disjustice in the long run. . . 

  • SickOfRidiculous

    I agree with your article. While I am all for parents naming their children whatever they wish, there is a greater responsibility to the futures of these children. Let’s be clear… naming “our” children is a cultural thing. “We” get it, but “they” don’t and “they” run corporate America. I am not saying that we should abandon our roots (or our creativity) by submitting to names that set Europeans at ease. I’m simply saying that great caution should be taken when deciding upon names for our children.

    • YeahIWentThereCuzICan

      If you’re really sick of ridiculousness, S.O.R; then how’s bout you canceling your subscription to Plantation Mentality? It tickles me sick…how many of my Sistahs and Brothas are spewing their unabashed resentment for ethnic immigrants ‘takin over all the jobs’ (i.e. Latino). We could stand to take a page outta their Book. They arrive in the US, live and save their money together, invest in a family business, and thrivingly pass us by in their luxury SUVs that they’re oft able to afford in a mere few years. I agree that to name one’s daughter Taqueetalasia is risking prejudiced bias against her in the future. If more of us set our sights on entrepreneurship, then our baby Nubians won’t even have to worry about some racist corporation bidding them entry into the ratrace for a joke of a paycheck (after taxes). 

      • Slimmommy

        You are one of those people who live in THE WORLD OF HOW THINGS SHOULD BE.  Not in THE WORLD OF HOW THINGS ARE.  In the real world, a person’s name can be a hinderance.  In the real world we have to rely on others to provide us with  unemployment.  In the real world Taqueetalasia will be judged simply b/c of her name.  So in the meantime, since we dont own our own business and run our own companies, how about lets give our kids a fighting chance.  When THE WORLD OF HOW THINGS SHOULD BE manifests then we can proudly name our little ones Taqueetalasia. 

        And why are you calling our babies Nubians?  Nubians come from North and East Africa.  Our ancestors come from the West.  And as African Americans we have our own identity, right?  Or are we descendants of pharaohs (no, we are not).

        • YesISaidItCuzIMeantIt

          You oughtta change your blogger name to SlimCOMPLACENTMommy! I knew I would strike the nerves of the likes of you (and hoped I would). When a Latino immigrant comes to the US, possibly not even able to speak English, and within five years owns a beautiful home with a gleaming luxury vehicle to match; I’m inspired. When I read from ‘negroes’ such as yourself, complacentisms like THE WORLD OF HOW THINGS ARE, at least I don’t have to wonder why! If your ignorant indignation hadn’t gotten the best of you, you would have thoroughly read my post, and noted that I SAID: “I agree that to name one’s daughter Taqueetalasia is risking prejudiced bias against her in the future.” (Oh. Ooops. You may not even know what prejudiced bias is. Check out www. m-w. com. It’s an online dictionary/thesaurus site for those who appreciate articulation over slang).  I know where I come from, and who my children and myself look like. We are proud Nubians who were blessed by our Creator NOT to remain under the Spell of Complacency. There’s Room For Many A-More. Get on Board. U wanna go into a battle of wits with ME; start with the website, Slimmy.

          • Slimmommy

            There’s no battle of wits because you didnt say anything witty. 

            First, you have to refer to Mexicans to make your point.  Your championing for African Americans to embrace their African roots/ identity but you have to refer to people from south of the border instead of across the Atlantic to make your point.

            Second, according to an above post written by you, your father is African and Native American and your mother is Jamaican, but you have this illusion that your are Nubian.  You are far from it.  And that goes for most African Americans.  Our ancestry is not Northern nor Eastern African. Sorry to break it to you, but your children are no “little Nubians.” 

            Third, you use insults (when people dont have a strong position or popular point of view they have to resort to name calling in order to seem as if they are leading the discussion) because commentors dont agree with you. You insulted others for not having African names of origin, but your name is of French origin and your son is of Arabic origin.  And FYI, combining your name with your husband’s name doesnt make it African, an Arabic name doesnt make it African, placing an apostrophe followed by a capital letter doesnt make it African. Those are the names this article is referring to. 

            Fourth, I think if you are going to push your rhetoric, know in depth what you are talking about.  Sound intelligent, know your history/ geography.  Know what REAl African names are.  They are not Arabic and yes, the French colonized  several African countries, but that doesnt make your name African, now does it?  Oh wait, does that mean your parents are complacent?  They gave you the name from a group of people who savaged our homeland, took over several African nations, raped and slaughtered our people.  I think you need to have a talk with mom and dad.           

        • YesISaidItCuzIMeantIt

           BTW; my sincerest condolences for you and your children that you label my suggestion of entrepreneurship as Idealistic. It’s because so many descendants of Slaves think like YOU….why so few actually achieve self-made success and security. More Power To Ya! If you’re looking for me and mine; look up and bring your binoculars cuz we don’t DO Complacent!

      • anon

        I don’t think people as a whole have issue w/ ethnic names.  But I do think you should know the meaning behind the name and know exactly what you are calling your child.

        • StopHatinMNAndLetMeExpress

          Peace Anon. I dig everything you’re saying, and the naming of my children was well thought-out, fasted, and prayed over. Slimmommy’s just mad that I’m calling out Complacency and I clearly struck a nerve. It’s sad that she’d rather try to get at me all crazy for suggesting we think outside the box. Our ancestors and relatives who participated in the Civil Rights movement didn’t do all that just for us to name our offspring in honor of our slavemaster’s descendants….with the primary goal of gearing them for slaving in his corporation upon adulthood.

          • One

             But…did they do all that for us to name our offspring after what we were drinking the night we conceived – or the model of car we lifted our skirt in after the club? I think not!

            • StopHatinMNAndLetMeExpress

              I’m totally with ya on that “One” (lol). I think it’s pathetic and ignorant. My son’s name means “cheerful” and my daughter’s name means “daughter”.  As Down for My People that I am, a lot of folks misoverstand me as bougie. A child shouldn’t be named after liquor or material things.

  • Moveon

    Funny, yet necessary article.  I have a “unique” name.  I got teased, teachers were never able to pronounce my name, and 9 times out of 10 people mispronounced my name for years before realizing the real pronunciation.  That’s because I hated correcting people over and over again.  My name actually sounds Japanese.  So if a person was privy to my name before meeting me in person (job interview, meeting, etc). they assumed I was a Japanese woman married to a white man (I have a very American last name).  And my grandmother constantly cursed my mother and aunts for naming her grandchildren ridiculous names.  She couldnt pronounce most of them.

    And let’s not forget “ghetto”(not unique), but ghetto names will not help you children in the long run.

    • Liish

      Cue up Black Girl Pain by Talib Kweli. Lol your grandmother sounds like my mom. My niece has a unique name for sure. There was even a debate between parents on how to say it. I learned to love it, as it suits her. (She had the longest name in her class but def. not the most outrageous on her kindergarden graduation)

      • Cassandraisjackson

        Well, I…for one don’t believe you loved it…why not tell us?

        • Liish

          I don’t want to put my niece’s name out there on the internet. I find that inappropriate, especially since she isn’t my child.

    • Pahleeze

      Ok I gotta ask MN how many sign on names can a person have? Because I know some of these posts are from the SAME person! LOLOLOLOL!

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