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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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To: Juana la Loca
The sad thing about it that while her name was often a source of embarrassment to her, she refused to change it because she didn't want to shame her mother.

Sounds like she made the best of it, and was a very classy young lady!

861 posted on 03/30/2006 6:24:26 PM PST by Nea Wood (Is cheap, illegal labor worth one life?)
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To: colorcountry

In THE GREAT GATSBY", there is a female character whose first name is Jordan.

862 posted on 03/30/2006 6:27:29 PM PST by nopardons
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To: nopardons

I've never read The Great Gatsby (or seen the movie.) Is it worth the read?

There are a lot of girl Jordans out here in the Utah Bible-belt. We even have a Jordan River, it is biblical after all.

863 posted on 03/30/2006 6:30:34 PM PST by colorcountry (You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.....CS Lewis)
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To: cyborg

I think Giovanna is a gorgeous name. It means "gift from God."

I also like Adriana, Alessandra, Cara, Elena, Fiorenza, Francesca, and Serena.

864 posted on 03/30/2006 6:30:50 PM PST by Xenalyte (To the pudding vats!)
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To: stands2reason
there would be probably 39 postings thru the years came across a couple of names that doesn't need explanations a dentist in Pomona Ca. Dr.Toothacher and the best one was a gyn in Temecula Ca. Dr. Khuntz but growing up in rural Iowa two bachelor brothers was Harry Cox and Fred Cox "Redd" nickname and the best was Harry Bahls and his brother Ehmile Bahls these two pair of brothers only lived about a mile apart
865 posted on 03/30/2006 6:31:40 PM PST by mt tom
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To: twippo

When we lived in Virginia, the wife of an employee had a little girl. They had 12 children and I guess she just could not come up with a name so she called her Female and pronounced it Feemalee.

866 posted on 03/30/2006 6:32:17 PM PST by Dustbunny (The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist)
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To: lesko
Here's some vintage white-people whatsinaname stupidity
867 posted on 03/30/2006 6:34:02 PM PST by coydog
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To: Xenalyte

Those are great ones!

868 posted on 03/30/2006 6:34:06 PM PST by cyborg (I just love that man.)
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To: colorcountry
I would like it to be true that "L'Shonda Jones" will be treated no differently than "Sharon Jones", but wishing for a thing does not make it so.

"L'Shonda" could have graduated from Beverly Hills High, but any prospective employer will assume, in the first millisecond after reading her name, that she more likely went to Compton. There is a difference in the quality of education one gets at these two L.A. area high schools. That difference is understood by employers and goes a long way toward whether or not a potential employee is desirable. (It's kinda like showing up for an interview with purple hair and a nose ring; only worse. Hair grows out and jewely can be removed.)

Do you know that old saw about not having second chances to make a first impression? Like it or not, this is as true for "L'Shonda" as it is for anyone else. But in her case, it will have been her mother who made that first impression.
869 posted on 03/30/2006 6:34:17 PM PST by Redcloak (WARNING: This post may irritate John McCain.)
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To: elcid1970
Asa was the name of a king of Judah:

David--> Solomon--> Rehoboam--> Abijah--> Asa.

(Abijah's name also appears as Abijam.)

870 posted on 03/30/2006 6:35:07 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Alberta's Child
That child has to LIVE with that horrible name, and that's not funny...or cute.

It's beyond selfishness, but sheer stupidity to name one's child in such a manner that he/she is the subject of mockery every time someone pronounces his/her name. Laughter and ridicule at the expense of a young child's name isn't funny but hurtful to those young children growing up.

871 posted on 03/30/2006 6:35:49 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: Redcloak


872 posted on 03/30/2006 6:36:32 PM PST by colorcountry (You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.....CS Lewis)
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To: BunnySlippers

There was a Monty Python skit once with an Angus Podgorny (doing battle with a gigantic blancmange).

873 posted on 03/30/2006 6:37:41 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; Dog Gone; razorback-bert; Socks C.; Senator Pardek

I went to that website out of curiosity. Thank you!

Years ago, some people around here (who shall remain unnamed) started calling me "Nitz" on occasion (for reasons that will remain unstated).

Now I can tell 'em to shutup and call me "Buckwheat." :-)

874 posted on 03/30/2006 6:39:38 PM PST by Nita Nupress
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To: eyedigress

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


875 posted on 03/30/2006 6:42:01 PM PST by Beagle8U (John McCain, you treasonous bastard)
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To: coydog

A friend and I were laughing over our geneaology and the strange names. Her family is Scot-Irish, mine French and Spanish. She has Sophronia and Obijohn. I have Olampye and Balthasard Esnould.Thank goodness no one used them again. How can ANYONE look at a newborn and call it 'Olampye'? Why not Otable, or Osofa?

But these popular black names are unpronounceable! What is it? Are they trying to sound high-class and sophisticated by adding 'la' and 'sha' to everything? Where and when did it start? There are beautiful African names from African languages, but this garbled amalgamation of Baby Daddy and Baby Mama's names with a 'la' in front and a 'sha' behind just SCREAMS 'low class'!

876 posted on 03/30/2006 6:44:29 PM PST by ClearBlueSky (Whenever someone says it's not about Islam-it's about Islam. Jesus loves you, Allah wants you dead!)
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To: Jonx6


877 posted on 03/30/2006 6:45:03 PM PST by TXFireman
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To: stands2reason
We had a cat named Angus. Named him after the singer from AC/DC ;-D

No, you didn't.

The hell we didn't! The kitten ended up in our yard on my son's 7th birthday. Dog treed him. Brought him into the house and he was family for 9 years. Died in 2003, from infections from being nailed with BB guns.

Why wouldn't you think someone wouldn't name a cat "Angus"? We had a cat named Ozzy many years back. Is that also unbelievable?

878 posted on 03/30/2006 6:47:32 PM PST by TheSpottedOwl ("Life is a box of chocolates. Eat them before they eat you ".---me.)
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To: stands2reason

"If it weren't for the Hoggs, the Placentas, the Lemonandorangejellos and the Shi'theads, this thread would have 38 replies on it."

And your point is?

879 posted on 03/30/2006 6:48:48 PM PST by lawdude (2006 Republican bumper sticker : Vote Republican: We are NOT democrats!)
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To: cyborg

Not me. I haven't mentioned blacks at all.

880 posted on 03/30/2006 6:49:22 PM PST by onja ("The government of England is a limited mockery." (France is a complete mockery.)
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