Skip to comments.Open Editorial: You Named Your Baby WHAT???
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.
Thats right, I said it. We are KILLING our kids and crippling their futures with the names we give them. Dont you want your kids to get JOBS someday? Good jobs, and serious careers? With a name like Jaquez JaQuan Diante, youre 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. Were way off the mark. Ive 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? Thats because even in the motherland, they dont 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. Ive yet to meet anyone from any African nation named Shaquandiniquah Takeisha, or any other of the colorful monikers were pinning on brand new precious lives.
Parents, we are stacking the odds against our children from birth. Weve 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 cant pronounce it either), youre 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 Jaquisheia Shaquan Taiisha. 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 isnt 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.
Youre 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 dont, and you never have, because the reality is, corporate America and a huge chuck of mainstream doesnt have a high regard for those names. Quite frankly, you wont be taken seriously.
Ive 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 wasnt 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, youre relegated to some meaningless, inconsequential task behind the scenes so they wont be embarrased by you.
Ive 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 dont hear that, though. We just want you to get the name right, and look at you funny if you dont. I recall a time a young woman got really cross with me because her name was LaShiquita 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 hamercy...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 thats OUR fault, parents.
She wouldnt 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 cant 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 lets 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. Dont 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.
pings for later...thanks
I'd love to have a penny for every time this woman will be called a race traitor for daring to write this.
Condoleeza just sounds Southern.
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.
This guy is 100% right.
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.
Great article. Thanks
How about Lemonjello ("Le'mon'jelow")
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.
My Black name is "UnQueezy"
(Everyone should have one)
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.
No, no, I like people with screwball names. That way you know there's a problem before you get too close
Hey...what's wrong with Susie??
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.
How about Madycin? It's pronounced "Madison," but for the love of God, why spell it like that?
I remember that hacker, he wanted my password.
shi-thead always a favorite
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.
I had a student named Latrina. I am not kidding.
People living the Fancy Belt have had unusual names for years. Mencken's books on American English describe this.
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.
Bill Cosby was excoriated for saying something similar........
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.
Very "new age"!
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.
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.
"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?
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.
Worry not, FRiends. The way things are going at our borders we'll soon be naming all our children Jesus, second name Abdul.
You mean like Harley Davidson?.........
I think even in African American circles "Josephine" is a woman's name. ;-)
Latrina is a Walmart employee I see everytime I go there....
One could point to the whole "Phoenix" family of actors: River, Leaf, Twig, Moss, Pond Scum.
Look up Shirley Q. Liquor on the internet and find the songs.
I have an uncle named Shirley.......
A boy named Sue?
However, I recall a some march on CSPAN that ended with some would-be rapper calling himself "Prime Meridian".
"Hello, we are the Merkels; Bob and Julie.
"And here are our children. Our son -- Vioxx and little sister Cialis."