Real Talk? If I Give My Son A “Black” Name, He Might Already Have A Mugshot

September 20, 2013  |  


From MommyNoire

Naming your child is a big decision, and for parents of color, it’s especially loaded. Will my child not be able to get a job if I name him something “too ethnic”? Will he be made fun of in school? An opinion piece on the New York Time’s Motherlode blog puts the whole thing into perspective with a new, sobering perspective. One mom-to-be found that when she Googled potential “black” names for her son, all she saw were mug shots. Nikisia Drayton is expecting a son with her boyfriend, who suggested they name their son Keion. Their friends and family were shocked, with her mother saying flat out, “Hell no…too ghetto.” Drayton was hesitant at first, too, but looking into the name’s origins made her feel better about the decision:

“Keion means ‘born of nobility’ and ‘God is gracious.’ Its origins are eclectic: Hebrew, African, Irish and Hawaiian. I felt in my heart that this should be my son’s name.”

But further digging didn’t have the same positive results:

“I’d accepted ‘Keion,’ but what about the rest of the world? I gave the name what I have now coined the ‘Google test:’ I typed ‘Keion name’ in the image search box. To my surprise, my computer screen loaded images of African-American young men posing for their mug shots. Trying desperately to grasp at straws of hope for my baby boy, I tried a variant of Keion which is spelled K-i-a-n. The results were dramatically different. Smiling photographs of Caucasian males could be seen with every scroll of my mouse. I could not believe the change.”



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