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Why do so many black people give their kids such stupid names?

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Rodney Trotter, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Rodney Trotter

    Rodney Trotter Senior Member

    Joined: Aug 23, 2001 Messages: 1,683 Likes Received: 1
    I know it's been discussed on here before, but I just read this from a couple of weeks ago:

    The Name Game
    By ABCNews.com, August 29, 2004

    It's the first major decision new parents face, and their choice will stick with their child for a lifetime: what to name the baby. And today simple is out and variety is in, especially for many black Americans.

    Many African-American parents say they're returning to their roots by choosing names that sound uniquely black. For some a unique name has been an asset. For stars like Oprah Winfrey or Shaquille O'Neal or Denzel Washington, a distinctive first name can become a unique, identifiable brand, almost a trademark.

    But some ordinary folks say being different is just too difficult.

    Tiqua Gator says people just can't seem to get her name right. But she says her real burden runs even deeper. She's concerned about getting a better job, and sees her name as a potential handicap.

    "Something that was supposed to separate you from everyone else is now at the same time hindering you," she said.

    Gator has come to believe she'd have an easier time lining up a job in her chosen field of marketing if she had a plain name like Jane.

    "I think that they feel that they can identify better with a Pam or Amber rather than a Tiqua," she said.

    Résumé Test

    And Gator may be on to something. A recent University of Chicago study, "Are Emily and Brendan More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal?" by Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, found that people with names like Pam or Amber got 50 percent more callbacks for job interviews than applicants with similar résumés and names like Lakisha and Shaniqua. (To read the full study, click here.)

    Even though the study looked at 5,000 résumés, a group of young professionals didn't quite believe the name on top of their résumés could make that big a difference. The skeptics included Carita, an attorney; Tavoria, a law student; Orpheus, an educator; Arsenetta, a statistician; Tremelle, a financial adviser; and Ebony, an M.B.A. student. So 20/20 asked the six to participate in an experiment.

    20/20 put 22 pairs of names to the test — the six skeptics included.

    Each person posted two résumés on popular job-search Web sites — one under his or her real name, and the same identical résumé under a made-up, "white-sounding" names like Peter, Melissa and Kathleen.

    You'd think the identical résumés would get the same attention. Instead, the résumés with the white-sounding names on them were actually downloaded 17 percent more often by job recruiters looking for candidates.

    "You really never know why you don't get called back for that interview. I thought it was because of my job skills, or my résumé wasn't appropriate, but I never thought it was because of my name," Carita said.

    She was shocked by the calls from potential employers — not to her, but to her fictitious white counterpart. "I was just blown away that Kathleen got phone calls for three of the four weeks of the study, and I didn't get any. And Kathleen does not exist," she said.

    Arsenetta also was envious of her fictitious white alter ego, Kimberly.

    "They were calling her morning, noon and night," she said. "I was standing there looking at my phone going, 'God, I want to answer that phone call and tell the man I'm interested in this job!' "

    Ebony felt frustrated that companies were quick to stereotype her by name. "Once they get to know me, they say, 'Oh, you know, she is Ebony but she's not that militant one or she's not that rowdy little girl or she's not the ignorant one. She's very smart and very capable of doing this job,' " she said.

    What kind of companies were responsible? Our independent research found biased responses from employment agencies, law firms and even large financial corporations.

    Recruiter: ‘There Is Rampant Racism’

    But capable doesn't always matter. A job recruiter for Fortune 500 companies in northern California revealed an ugly secret.

    "There is rampant racism everywhere. And people who deny that are being naïve," said the recruiter, who spoke on the condition her name would not be used.

    The recruiter said if she were given two résumés, all else being equal, except one says Shaniqua, and the other says Jennifer, she would call Jennifer first.

    It's a choice she says she was trained to make: When representing certain companies, do not send black candidates. And on a résumé, a name may be the only cue of the applicant's race.

    "I think that the way that I had been taught and what has helped me to succeed in the industry is unfair," she said.

    It's also racist, and, quite possibly, illegal.

    That's why author Shelby Steele feels African-Americans must think long and hard before giving their children unusual or "black-sounding" names.

    "It's a naïveté on the part of black parents," Steele said, "to name their children names that are so conspicuously different than American mainstream names. … It suggests to people outside that community who hear those names a certain alienation. Certain hostility."

    Steele, a researcher specializing in race relations and author of A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America, is essentially telling black folks, don't name your child Deshawn or Loquesha.

    "Yes. … I'm saying don't name your son Latrelle. Don't do that. … He's going to live 50, 60 years in the future. Give him a break. You know, call him Edward."

    Challenge the Bias, Not the Names

    But sociologist Bertice Berry says there are prominent African-Americans who've overcome the stigma of a black-sounding name, including top presidential adviser Condoleezza Rice.

    "We've learned to say Condoleezza. And you just can't get more ghetto than Condoleezza," Berry said.

    Opera diva Leontine Pryce also overcame any stigma attached to her name.

    "We hear Leontine and you think opera," Berry said, "… When they're associated with power and wealth we learn them." Berry says what needs to change is society, not black names.

    But the bias against those names, it seems, starts very early. University of Pittsburgh Vice Provost Jack Daniel studied 4- and 5-year-old children and found racist perceptions were deeply ingrained at an early age.

    White children had a tendency to associate negative traits with black names, according to Daniel. "Your name can hurt you," Daniel said, "but you've got to change the people who hurt you because of your name.'

    So, Daniel and his wife, Jeri, rejected white-sounding names for their own children. They chose African names — Omari and Marijata. "We thought that it was really important that the assimilation process not dissolve who we were as a people," Jeri Daniel said.

    The Daniels' children carried on the tradition, naming their children Amani, Akili, Deven and Javon. They see the names as a source of pride.

    But some of today's black-sounding names are more about conspicuous consumption than tradition. There is a trend to name children after luxury goods, like Moet, Lexus, even Toyota.

    Steele said that trend "suggests real cultural deprivation. And it's heartbreaking to hear it."

    Berry feels that "There's a responsibility, when anybody names a child, to name them something that means something." But she added, "I don't think we need to tell people, 'Don't name them that, because I don't like the way it sounds.' "

    Unhappy with her own name and her experience in the job market, Tiqua Gator named her son Derek to help him get by in white America. "If I was to have any more children, it wouldn't be any Tiquas or it wouldn't be any Tamikas or Aishas. It would be something common," she said. "I wouldn't want my child to go through the same thing that I've went through."

    It's not as though they're giving them traditional African names or anything. They just give them goofy made up names, or just name them after their favourite brand of cognac or champagne.
  2. Pfffffffffft

    Pfffffffffft Moderator Crew

    Joined: Feb 16, 2004 Messages: 15,347 Likes Received: 683
    but which is worse?? black people with their made up names?? (D'Shranda, LaQuentsha, Escalasha, Spinnisha)...or white people and their played out, boring names( richard, sally, cody, chase, ben)

    think about it.
  3. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
  4. TheoHuxtab|e

    TheoHuxtab|e Banned

    Joined: Jul 28, 2004 Messages: 468 Likes Received: 0
  5. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    writers are creative with their names. it's awful to make fun of someones name, whether it's made up or not.

    in other words, fuck it. a name is a name. there's always the unspeakable name that we all have before actual birth names are given, anyway.
  6. kido

    kido Senior Member

    Joined: Apr 16, 2002 Messages: 1,463 Likes Received: 0
    Theres a lot of white people with weird assed names too ya know, my parents named my little brother jace. Which I think is a cool fuckin name. Theres no way that Im gonna name my son Robert, or Dan, Dave, Matt, James or Todd
  7. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14

    name him Grunch
  8. alure

    alure Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002 Messages: 4,700 Likes Received: 17
    i gave machai a common first name and uncommon middle name.. but i call him by his middle name..

    what casek said a name is a name.. we arent in kindergarden anymore.. who cares if their name is unique..

    many of us think we grow up..but we're still doing the same elementary school bullshit.. " oh your name sounds funny hehehehe"
  9. 2 blaazed

    2 blaazed New Jack

    Joined: Jun 28, 2002 Messages: 0 Likes Received: 3
    what about all these wierd ass name celebrities and what not are giving there kids...you will get abused in jhs for having a wierd name alone..
  10. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    ive thought about this topic alot. why? because i just think too damn much. really though. i cant front, when i see a name like 'lashaniquia' or 'shequanda', i have a particular 'idea' in my head of the person, and unfortunately, 9.9 times out of ten, that idea fits. if i was in a position of hiring someone, and all i had to go on was the name on the resume, flat out, i'd take jennifer over makisha. does that make me racist? probably. do i care? not really. cause if you add a last name to it, i'd be just as likely to pick jennifer gonzales, as i would jennifer marryweather. infact, i'd be more likely to pick gonzales.
    i live in a city full of individuals who name their kids, literally, after rappers and (as mentioned) luxury items. 'cristal' 'mercedes' 'lexus'... theres a ton of them. its fucking ridiculous. and i dont want to cast stones, but the only person who names their kid after a brand of champagne, is an ignorant person, and ignorant parents, seldom raise intelligent, well adjusted children.
    i'm not usually one to place the burden on the minority, but in this instance, just stop giving your kids retarded names that you fucking made up, and think they sound 'ethnic'. they dont sound ethnic, they sound ridiculous. 'tamiqua' is not a 'traditional' african name, it's some shit that someone made up in the 80's. it's like naming your fucking kid 'atari'. ugh. if you're black and poor, you know your kid has an uphill battle to begin with, if you're going to name him lemongelo, you might as well tattoo 'crip' across his forehead too.
  11. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235

    fantastic point. think of frank zappas kids. if they were not famous, you think anyone would be jumping at the chance to hire 'dwezil' or 'moon unit'?! it's not really an issue of race, it's an issue of social norms and expectations. names imply certain things. naming your son 'mohammed ahkbar johnson' makes you sound just as 'rebellious' as being named 'moon beam miller' makes you sound stoned.
    no one wants that shit in their company.

    have fun with that data entry future.
  12. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    the thing is, if you raise your children in a correct manner, and you teach them to be oblivious to things like that, it will be ok.

    a name is a name is a name.

    there shouldn't be a problem with it. the insecurities of others will obviously be a factor...poking fun of others for such minor issues as a name, race, religion, etc. are just too damned stupid.
  13. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    apparently while i was busy posting and dual browsing another site, seeks was typing away at his keyboard, voicing his opinion.

    i respect what you said, seeks. honestly. but a name is such a minor thing in life.

    however, you are speaking like the majority thinks. very respectable that you have the balls to say it, though.

    who cares if a girl is named "mercedes" or a guy is named "kniven" (i know a guy who's son is named kniven). it's irrelevant to life. it's all about educating people (children in particular) to not let things like a name or skin color have any effect on how they treat someone else.

    anyway, good points all around.
  14. seeking

    seeking Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 25, 2000 Messages: 32,277 Likes Received: 235
    educate all you want, if i have a company, and i need someone to go out and deal with clients, i will be more comfortable with a jeff rogers, than a laquinta jones. does that make me a dick? fine. ya know what, i'll take it a step further, i wouldnt even have a problem with a name like jamal, or jerome, and just about any hispanic name is fine. it's only when you get into these riduclous names that sprung up in the 70's and 80's, that the problem arrises (60's for hippie names). and if its just a name, why is it a problem? because a name is who you are. it represents you. if your name is igor nabukov, people will assume you are russian, and expect you to have specific traits...possibly an accent, russian looking features, etc. if you're name is william goldburgh, people will expect certain things. larger nose, slight jewish accent, etc. and guess what...9 times out of ten, they'll be right. so if you then get a sharonda wiliams, i'm willing to bet that the majority of the time, the preconceptions they'll have about that person would be correct too. possibly a 'snappy' attitude (even if a positive one) inability to pornounce 'ask'. it's sad, but it's true. and if you want to deny that it's true, you're lying to yourself and lying to us. stereotypes don't just fly out of peoples asses. every single one has some basis in reality.
  15. casekonly

    casekonly Veteran Member

    Joined: Aug 6, 2002 Messages: 8,264 Likes Received: 5
    i don't know, man. i really don't know what to tell you. i don't look down on you for your views, but i definitely don't agree with them.

    it's all good.

    life is life and that's how it's played, right?
    even if shakwanda or valencia have a genius i.q., most likely jeff williams or jane smith will get hired because white people are more comfortable saying "hey, jane, did ya get those papers faxed out on time?"

    it's moronic. it really is, but such is life. it's lack of understanding, education (the proper type, not taught in schools) and social skills that make us (as humans) so quick to judge based upon something like a name.

    ethnicity shouldn't have anything to do with anything, but it does.