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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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