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Open Editorial: You Named Your Baby WHAT???
Onyx Magazine ^ | March, 2006 | Josephine Hammond

Posted on 03/30/2006 12:41:35 PM PST by twippo

Someone needs to sit our people down and have a healthy discussion about the names we as African Americans are giving our children. We are hurting our kids and putting their futures in peril from the moment they are born.

That’s right, I said it. We are KILLING our kids and crippling their futures with the names we give them. Don’t you want your kids to get JOBS someday? Good jobs, and serious careers? With a name like Jaquez Ja’Quan Diante’, you’re dooming your sons to a life of drug dealing on some seedy street corner.

Our Black men face enough challenges. I do not subscribe to the notion that we are giving our children names that “convey pride in their African Heritage”. We’re way off the mark. I’ve got dear friends from all over Africa, and their children have beautiful cultural names like Akos, Ama, and Fia.

Notice how neither of those names had a “quita” in it? Or an “eisha”? Or more than four syllables? That’s because even in the motherland, they don’t give their kids the crazy names that we do in Black America. Many Africans even RESENT the implication that these names stem from their culture. I’ve yet to meet anyone from any African nation named Shaquandiniquah Takei’sha, or any other of the ‘colorful’ monikers we’re pinning on brand new precious lives.

Parents, we are stacking the odds against our children from birth. We’ve been doing it for generations, but we get mighty cross when white and mainstream America laughs and mocks us. With a name like Quieshianiquita (I know, I can’t pronounce it either), you’re dooming your children to employment at no better than a dollar store or the nearest fast-food joint.

You are automatically relegated in the minds of many to second-class citizenry, because when they hear the name, they instantly categorize you as ignorant, ghetto, incompetent, uneducated, and not worthy of much respect or basic human considerations.

We hear so often about African American students who excel in school, etc. and “beat the odds.” Well, guess what? Often times, the “odds they have to beat” is the tough challenge of being taken seriously in America with the atrocious name you gave them...names like Jaqui’sheia Sha’qu’an Tai’isha. If they can get someone to look past the name (and quit laughing), there is remarkable talent there in that person.

Unfortunately though, much of mainstream America isn’t willing to find this out. Come in with the wrong name, and you are nothing more than fodder for stereotypical, distasteful jokes. We as African Americans face enough challenges as it is. Our kids deserve a better start and a way better shot than this.

You’re angry with me? I can live with that. Now answer this: when have you ever seen an IBM Executive or a fancy New York office with a fancy highrise office door nameplate that says “Quandaniquah Roshel-Shaquita, Chief Executive Officer”? When? You don’t, and you never have, because the reality is, corporate America and a huge chuck of mainstream doesn’t have a high regard for those names. Quite frankly, you won’t be taken seriously.

I’ve been behind many a closed door with white corporate America. Oddly enough, many of them still see the Negro in the room as ‘non-existent’ or invisible, so they talked like I wasn’t even in the room. I hear everything they say. When Nakia Shaniquah-Quashiqua fills out an application, they have a field day in the office. Once they get their fill of ghetto and ‘weave’ jokes and ripping you to pieces sight unseen, they usually toss the application, or it gets stuck in the ‘bottom of the pile’. If they do hire you, you’re relegated to some meaningless, inconsequential task behind the scenes so they won’t be embarrased by you.

I’ve learned the harsh truth that right or wrong, no quality mainstream company wants someone named (oh just pick a name) representing them in the forefront. We don’t hear that, though. We just want you to get the name right, and look at you funny if you don’t. I recall a time a young woman got really cross with me because her name was LaShi’quita and I forgot to capitalize the ‘S’ and left the little accent mark off the first ‘i’ - how was I supposed to know? But lawd ha’mercy...what did I do THAT for? She was mad, hostile, and ready to FIGHT! It was a BIG ridiculously overblown embarassing ordeal (for her), and that’s OUR fault, parents.

She wouldn’t have such a huge chip on her shoulder and be so defensive, confrontational and mean if we had just given her a name that the average person can pronounce or spell. No spell check in the world can help, so most of her existence is spent correcting the spelling of her name, and feeling disrespected because people can’t get it right. We set her up for this constant and unnecessary battle.

I do not advocate naming all our children Bobby and Susie. But let’s do our babies a favor and keep the syllables down to a minimum, leave out the suffixes “quita”, “sheika”,“eisha”, “niqua”, “quan”...anysuffix with the letter ‘Q’. I could go on, but you get where I'm headed.And if you want your child to have an authentic African or other ethnic name, do a little research. Don’t just make up a name and expect the world to be able to spell and pronounce it. You're not being original or cute. That child has to LIVE with that horrible name, and that's not funny...or cute.

Amen. Now pass the cornbread.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: africanamerican; aquanetta; babynames; black; brerrabbit; byanyothername; children; deandre; dejames; ebonics; jaquezjaquan; lemonjello; name; names; nintendo; orangejello; spechal
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1 posted on 03/30/2006 12:41:37 PM PST by twippo
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To: twippo

pings for later...thanks


2 posted on 03/30/2006 12:42:23 PM PST by Leofl (I'm from Texas, we don't dial 9-11)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: twippo

Condoleezza.


4 posted on 03/30/2006 12:43:48 PM PST by Alouette (Psalms of the Day: 1-9)
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To: twippo

I'd love to have a penny for every time this woman will be called a race traitor for daring to write this.


5 posted on 03/30/2006 12:44:04 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (No respect for conservatives? That's free speech. No respect for liberals? That's hate speech.)
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To: Alouette

Condoleeza just sounds Southern.


6 posted on 03/30/2006 12:44:27 PM PST by bonfire
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To: twippo

Hey it isn't just limited to "African"-Americans. I have plenty of caucasion friends who give their kids seemingly "normal" names. Then you find out they are spelling it some really strange way. Poor kid is going to be correctly people their whole life. Idiot parents.


7 posted on 03/30/2006 12:44:35 PM PST by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: twippo

This guy is 100% right.


8 posted on 03/30/2006 12:45:20 PM PST by utahagen
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To: twippo

Some white folks do a disservice to their kids with the names they give their kids. Names mean things. I saw a bunch of cards with kids names on them at a store. Some were real names with their meanings printed under them. There were other popular made up names that had suggestions for meanings so you can lie to your kids and make them feel special.


9 posted on 03/30/2006 12:45:33 PM PST by satchmodog9 (Most people stand on the tracks and never even hear the train coming)
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To: twippo

Great article. Thanks


10 posted on 03/30/2006 12:45:38 PM PST by conserv13
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To: twippo

How about Lemonjello ("Le'mon'jelow")


11 posted on 03/30/2006 12:45:42 PM PST by eyedigress
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To: Tax-chick

Ping!


12 posted on 03/30/2006 12:46:00 PM PST by Xenalyte (To the pudding vats!)
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To: twippo

My favorite was "Jabonga," who applied for a job in my group several years ago. I was kind of looking forward to meeting her, since I'd worked with West Africans before, and found they're hard workers and I really like them.

Welll, Jabonga turned out to be a radicalized black from Texas, and I didn't need a problem waiting to happen like that in an employee...

The article is dead on.


13 posted on 03/30/2006 12:46:27 PM PST by warchild9
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To: twippo

Roseanne Rosannadanna


14 posted on 03/30/2006 12:46:50 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: twippo

15 posted on 03/30/2006 12:46:55 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
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To: Very very very conservative

My Black name is "UnQueezy"

(Everyone should have one)

TT


16 posted on 03/30/2006 12:46:56 PM PST by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: twippo

Another column needs to address what white people are naming their babies. Some of the dumbest names I have ever heard: Laramie (named after a county in Wyoming), Rain, and Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards) are a few I have heard lately.


17 posted on 03/30/2006 12:47:24 PM PST by lesko
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To: twippo

No, no, I like people with screwball names. That way you know there's a problem before you get too close


18 posted on 03/30/2006 12:47:37 PM PST by D.P.Roberts
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To: twippo

Hey...what's wrong with Susie??
susie


19 posted on 03/30/2006 12:47:41 PM PST by brytlea (I'm not a conspiracy theorist....really.)
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To: twippo

studies have shown that teacher will pay less attention to a student who's name they can't pronounce.
but those names are better than a few i've run across lately: vodka, tequilla, kahlua, and erotica are some. these are GIVEN names, not nicknames.


20 posted on 03/30/2006 12:47:48 PM PST by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: lesko

How about Madycin? It's pronounced "Madison," but for the love of God, why spell it like that?


21 posted on 03/30/2006 12:48:13 PM PST by Xenalyte (To the pudding vats!)
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To: eyedigress

I remember that hacker, he wanted my password.


22 posted on 03/30/2006 12:48:24 PM PST by TexasTransplant (NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSET)
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To: beaversmom

ping


23 posted on 03/30/2006 12:48:29 PM PST by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: twippo

shi-thead always a favorite


24 posted on 03/30/2006 12:48:56 PM PST by eyedigress
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To: utahagen

This guy is named Josephine, which is a problematic name for a man.

I've said for a long time that this type of naming makes it EASY for employers who want to discriminate, to do so. "Josephine Hammond" is race-neutral. "ShaNeNe Janiquah" is obviously of a certain race. They'll never have her in for an interview, then will be able to say they had no minority applicants to interview.


25 posted on 03/30/2006 12:49:09 PM PST by linda_22003
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To: Revolting cat!

I had a student named Latrina. I am not kidding.
susie


26 posted on 03/30/2006 12:49:11 PM PST by brytlea (I'm not a conspiracy theorist....really.)
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To: twippo
My all-time favorite is a girl I once met named Lasanya.

And no, she didn't have a sister named Ravioli. I asked.
27 posted on 03/30/2006 12:49:32 PM PST by Antoninus (I don't vote for liberals regardless of their party affiliation.)
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To: twippo

People living the Fancy Belt have had unusual names for years. Mencken's books on American English describe this.


28 posted on 03/30/2006 12:49:45 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: warchild9

There was a young lady working in the shopping center who was tagged with "Latrina" Obviously neither of her parents had been in the military or even the scouts.


29 posted on 03/30/2006 12:49:47 PM PST by CATravelAgent (Unless you're the lead dog, the view is always the same)
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To: twippo

Bill Cosby was excoriated for saying something similar........


30 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:02 PM PST by Red Badger (I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.....)
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To: brytlea

Her last year teaching, my mother collected the weird names. She had a Nien (pronounced "nine"), a Lashonda, and a Mushwanda (pronounced "Mashonda").

She also had a Lucille who was tough enough in sixth grade to beat up the girls' PE coach.


31 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:14 PM PST by Xenalyte (To the pudding vats!)
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To: twippo
I'm waiting for the brand name drugs to be used.
Livitra, Viagra, Lipitor, etc.
32 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:18 PM PST by chemicalman (Many have skeletons in their closets. In New Orleans, we have skeletons in our attics.)
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To: brytlea

lol :)


33 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:22 PM PST by wallcrawlr (http://www.bionicear.com)
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To: lesko
Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards)

Very "new age"!

34 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:24 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: twippo
My favorite, there was a U. of Oklahoma back named Rotney. Yep.

Course, whites don't get off the hook, either. The commander of the Pearl Harbor fleet on Dec. 7 was named "Husband."

Can you imagine that poor wife at dinner parties? "I'd like to introduce my husband, Husband." "Glad to meet you, meet you."

And, no joke, I went to HS with a retarded girl named Pigg. Her idiot parents named her . . . Ima. I kid you not.

35 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:37 PM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news)
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To: twippo

I've heard Female, pronounced "Fe-mah-lay", and Gina, short for a female body part. The poor mother had no idea what it meant--just saw it on a hospital chart, and thought it sounded pretty.


36 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:37 PM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: Xenalyte

"How about Madycin? It's pronounced "Madison," but for the love of God, why spell it like that?"

Excellent question. Poor little Madycin....doomed for her entire life to have her name misspelled by all and sundry, and doomed, too, to have to spell her name every time she introduces herself.

On the other hand, with 20 other Madisons in her middle school class, I suppose it makes her stand out, eh?


37 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:39 PM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: twippo

I made a vow to the moon and stars that I'd search the honky tonks and bars and kill the man that gave me that awful name.


38 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:42 PM PST by HEY4QDEMS (Remember 9/11. The left have already forgotten.)
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To: twippo

Worry not, FRiends. The way things are going at our borders we'll soon be naming all our children Jesus, second name Abdul.


39 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:49 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything.")
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To: lesko

You mean like Harley Davidson?.........


40 posted on 03/30/2006 12:50:49 PM PST by Red Badger (I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.....)
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To: Xenalyte
That reminds me of a talking head on Fox called Megyn Kendall (I think that's her last name). Nothing wrong with Megan, but every time I see Megyn I think...Oh, yeah, I need to make my yearly appointment..." susie
41 posted on 03/30/2006 12:51:07 PM PST by brytlea (I'm not a conspiracy theorist....really.)
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To: utahagen
This guy is 100% right.

I think even in African American circles "Josephine" is a woman's name. ;-)

42 posted on 03/30/2006 12:51:33 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (http://www.cafepress.com/liberalitees - Because they're too fun not to mock!)
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To: brytlea

Seriously,
Latrina is a Walmart employee I see everytime I go there....


43 posted on 03/30/2006 12:51:43 PM PST by najida (A day we haven't danced is wasted.)
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To: TXBubba

One could point to the whole "Phoenix" family of actors: River, Leaf, Twig, Moss, Pond Scum.


44 posted on 03/30/2006 12:51:43 PM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news)
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To: CATravelAgent

Look up Shirley Q. Liquor on the internet and find the songs.


45 posted on 03/30/2006 12:51:45 PM PST by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: linda_22003

I have an uncle named Shirley.......


47 posted on 03/30/2006 12:52:07 PM PST by Red Badger (I must not fear.Fear is the mind-killer.Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.....)
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To: twippo

A boy named Sue?


48 posted on 03/30/2006 12:52:07 PM PST by wallcrawlr (http://www.bionicear.com)
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To: twippo
Black Americans aren't the only ones. I remember an earlier article abouts kids named after products. Meridian sticks in
my mind as being among the more acceptable. Only four syllables too.

However, I recall a some march on CSPAN that ended with some would-be rapper calling himself "Prime Meridian".

49 posted on 03/30/2006 12:52:13 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: chemicalman

"Hello, we are the Merkels; Bob and Julie.

"And here are our children. Our son -- Vioxx and little sister Cialis."


50 posted on 03/30/2006 12:52:19 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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