All Articles Tagged "names"
New research from online job-matching service TheLadders found that there’s a link between the length of a person’s name and how much they’re paid. The more letters in your name, the lower your salary, to the tune of $3,600 annually for each additional letter. So, for instance, a “Bill” makes more than a “William” and a “Debbie” more than “Deborah.” The company, which took a look at the names, industries, and salaries for its six million members, even noticed a difference between “Michele” and “Michelle.”
The one name that’s doing well, turning up prominently on lists of executives and those with the highest pay, is “Christine.” Women, across the board, however, make much less than men.
Names are a heavy topic for African Americans, with studies finding time and again that resumes with a name that “sounds” too ethic have a problem getting to the interview stage. This a topic we tackled just today over on MommyNoire, with many commenters saying they will be cautious not to choose a name that would “put their child in a box” or “sound too ghetto.” As if this ongoing debate about race and name choice isn’t enough, The Boston Globe, published a big story about how name choices reflect society’s tastes and behaviors. For instance, back when Puritans were building the colonies, names like “Abstinence” were big.
“Economists Roland G. Fryer Jr. and Steven D. Levitt used data from a California state agency in 2004 to ask why black parents in racially isolated neighborhoods began giving their children “distinctively black names,” like DeShawn or Shanice, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, while other black parents’ name choices became more similar to whites’. Fryer and Levitt write that the ‘ghettoization’ of black names is likely a consequence of the black pride movement’s influence on black identity.”
So what names do you favor and why? Are you taking a future career into account when choosing a baby name?
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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Although I’m not one of those people who tries to define what a “normal” name is, it always makes me laugh or just truly confuses me when I hear about an entertainer with a real name that is soooooo different than what I thought it would be. From names you think look better on nerds, to ones that are just really random, here are just a few that we can’t seem to understand or get with.
The former name of Texas governor Rick Perry’s hunting camp was certainly an alarming discovery, but it’s far from the only shockingly racist name of places across the US. Take for instance Negro Mountain in western Maryland, or Runaway Negro Creek in a state park right outside Savannah, GA. Park Rangers in the area do their best to keep from using the name.
America must have forgotten its history. Names such as these and “Niggerhead” in Texas were once so common that they were brand names for soap and tobacco, among other everyday products. But with Perry’s camp grounds in the spotlight, the New York Times reports that people are beginning to wonder just why these names are still around.
The federal government had the n-word replaced with “Negro” in all geographic names in 1963. Back then the word was an appropriate term for African Americans. But now there are those who wonder whether or not it’s even appropriate to continue to use the name “Negro.”
The United States Board on Geographic Names is the federal agency responsible for the collection of the over 2.5 million official names of streams, mountains, cities and civic buildings. There are 757 of them with ”Negro” or some variation of the word in the title, according to executive secretary of the board Lou Yost.
While there have been various attempts to remove these racially offensive names, the process of changing official government names of places is not always easy. Yost discloses that it’s not something his agency does lightly.
Official federal name changes are requested by a petitioner who must then convince a state board and the federal government that a new name is more suitable, using both historical significance and local acceptance to support the case.
Not all local residents in areas with the names want the names to be removed. Negro Creek Road located near Columbia, Tennessee was named in honor of three young black boys who drowned in the mouth of the creek in the early 1800s.
“Every three to five years somebody will rise up and say, ‘Oh, my! Why do you call it that?’ ” Bob Duncan, the county historian said to the NY Times. “We tell them and they say, ‘Oh, O.K.’ ”
Negrohead Mountain near Malibu, California however, was one of those places where the people wanted the name changed. In 2009, petitioners were successful and it was officially changed to Ballard Mountain, after the black homesteader who lived there.
“A lot of people feel the names should not be changed because they reflect a historical reality,” history professor Patricia Colman, who fought for the Negrohead Mountain name change, told the NY Times. “I would argue that there are better ways to teach that history.”