I’ve had enough…
I know this is a touchy subject, kind of like the whole “good hair” thing, but I have to address it. In my line of work I see it every day and it urks the living day lights out of me. Why do people insist on giving their children these stupid names trying to call themselves being unique? I know Rachelle Danielle may not be the best name to give a child but it’s definitely better than “Glory Hallelujah”, “Imunique” and “Flycimadiva” all of which have come through my office. It’s sad when we get a case and without even talking to the parent or knowing anything about the claimant, I hear a co-worker say “Oh he/she’s black”. I used to get upset with them for being ignorant, my statement to them would always be “oh so African Americans are the only ones that name their children ridiculous names”. Granted they were and are out of pocket, so please don’t think I’m defending them, but we aren’t making it any better. I’m all for being different and stepping out the box…but when we step out the box can we make sure it’s at least phonetically correct? I called one of my claimants just the other day, his name is “Enajhae”…his mother had the audacity to get mad because I couldn’t pronounce his name. Umm I’m sorry I don’t speak stupid. Ok maybe that was a little insensitive …I’m just saying if you’re going to try to be all original with your child’s name, expect people to mess it up. Oh and for the record his name is pronounced “e-jay” Now how in the world did she get EJ out of that? Unfortunately it’s not the first time I’ve dealt with an angry claimant because I couldn’t say their or their child’s name. It’s like they can’t comprehend why I can’t figure out which letters are silent and which ones I’m supposed to pronounce. My bad…I must have missed that lecture in English class. I seriously wanted to tell her…if you learned how to spell and stop trying to throw all these silent letters in your child’s name, people wouldn’t have a problem pronouncing it. But I value my job, so I was forced to apologize and say “e-jay” thus fueling the cycle of ignorance. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get my point by now.
Oh but before I go
I know many people will say “who are you to talk; you don’t even have any children.” You’re 100% right, but please believe when I do decide to have a child they won’t have a name like “Uvonika” ,“Necovia” or “Quamar” Again, all real names that have come through my office. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with people and they’ve said I was “acting white” or “stuck up” because I want my child to have a name A- with a meaning, B- they can spell before their 10th birthday, and C- they won’t automatically get discriminated against before they even have a shot. So at this point, say whatever, but I can guarantee you this…If my child(ren) don’t succeed in this world, it won’t be because their name held them back. You definitely won’t be able to look at their application and tell their race.
9 thoughts on “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”
Yeah I was reading on snopes.com how a lot of times, people will hear a nurse or someone in the hospital pronounce a name like le-MON-juh-lo and think it sounds pretty and foreign, then go and name their child that and spell it like Lemonjello. So now everyone is picking on your child as they grow up. It’s sad. It’s like they don’t think about the child’s feelings when they are picking out names. I feel you though. What I normally do at work is ask the parent how to pronounce their child’s name first because I know I will mess it up. If I have to leave a message on the voicemail I’ll just say I need to speak with you regarding your child. Sometimes I am forced to say the name and fortunately I haven’t had anyone get upset at me for not pronouncing it correctly, but I’m sure the day will come.
Yeah I used to try to call and not say a name but I’m running into more and more parents who have more than one child applying 😦
Hey, I love the blog! I really want to encourage you to keep it up. You are such a talented writer and have so many inspirational and informative things to share. On that note, I would definitely have to agree with you 100% on the naming of children these days. People who insist that you are “acting white” or “stuck up” obviously need to be cultivated themselves. I, like you, don’t have the best name either, Tobline, pronounced – Toe blend (‘d’ is silent), which noone ever gets right which is why I go by the nickname ‘Tobi’ because I hate having to pronouce my name 5 times before anyone gets it right. But anyhow, that’s why I too decided that when I had children of my own they would have names #1 – that have a meaningful meaning #2 – that they could spell and pronounce themselves before their 5th birthday and #3 – a name that they could be proud of and not be discriminated against. But it’s sad to say that because of my son’s name he may get picked on by his own race because it “sounds white.” Before my son was even born and we announced his name, we had people telling us things like “yall think yall white,” “why yall giving him a white name?” – So I ask the question, what’s a black name and what’s a white name? I guess a white name is one that uses the correct combination of vowels and consonants to acheive the proper pronunciation of the letters. While a black name (I would assume)uses any combination of letters to acheive the most unique form of the English alphabet put together to get a name that no one else on the face of the Earth would have unless they ‘bite’ it from you! And BTW my son’s name is Ryan Chase! So if it is a white name, guess what…………….now it’s a black and a white name!
Well I love Ryan, that was actually a name I considered. (Not that I’m having children anytime soon). If people are saying Ryan Chase is “white’ they’re really going to have something to say when I name my children, Morgan, Michael, and Madison. You brought up a good point…in stead of these “unique-named” children having to defend their names our kids who have “white” sounding names will have to defend theirs. SMH The cycle of ignorance, will it ever end?
My question where do most of these folks live? What’s their environment? and is there a grown person with common sense present when they name the baby? you ain’t acting white or being stuck up when you give your child a name they can spell and appreciate. Granted my name isn’t bad compared to some others, but it took me a while. When I’ve looked up the meaning of my name, I appreciate it. Gotta give a child a name they can be proud of.
A very intersting topic but I’m afraid that I don’t fully agree. I do recognize that there are judgments made based on a name, and often those judgments are far from positive. Much of what you say about the bias encountered by someone with an unusal name is true, especially names that are perceived as “black” names. However, I think that a much more significant issue is allowing such bias to go unchallenged. Presuming any attributes about someone based on a name is a form of bigotry, whether it is based on race, ethnicity or socioeconmic status. As a people, we can certainly be very creative when it comes to naming our children, but in some cultures Tiffany would be regarding as a strange name. Rather than buy into the dominant culture’s definition of how we should identify ourselves, be proud of our creative spirit. I don’t like every unusual name that I hear, but I respect the right of the individual to own that name. After all, Oprah wasn’t exactly a main stream name when she began her rise through the ranks. My first name was uncommon 54 years ago when I was born, although I hear it with more frequency in the present. Whatever your name, it is a title; it’s what you do and who you are that defines who you are whether your name is Sapphire or Jane.
Wow Ms. Sheria you raise some interesting points. I guess I never thought about how different cultures perceived what we considered “normal” I also hadn’t thought about how we as people change over time and what was “uncommon” becomes “common”. You’ve definitely given me some more things to consider. Thank You 🙂
Thank you for hearing my comments in the spirit in which they were made. I enjoy in depth dialogue that challenges us to think about why we believe as we do. I’m glad to have visited your blog and I will come back to continue to read your words. I hope that you will also stop by my blog. I think that your comments would add to any discussion.
I will be sure to do that!