Yes, I Have A Black Name.. Sort of.. But So What?
For the record, my name is pronounced I-esha. The “Y” as an “I”. But if you’d like to get specifics about my name, it has several different origins and meanings. In Hindu culture, my name means “fame”, but if you take a look at in Hebrew, יש”ע, it means “salvation” and is also an acronym for Judea.
So there you have it, the various etymologies of my name. But in this country, because I’m a black woman, with an “ethnic” name, my name is automatically labeled a “black name”. Guess what, I’m fine with that. I mean, I don’t have time to break down the etymology of my name all the damn time. My siblings names are even more interesting. There’s Joshua, April and Khalilah. Two ethnic names, and two plain Jane names, my parents were random name pickers. Hell, I could have been named August, if I was born on the first of August. That’s pretty much how they came up with my sister, April’s, name.
There’s always that question of “What’s in a name?” but nowadays it’s “Why do parents give black children such weird names?”. That exact question was posed by a Reddit reader last week, to Black parents of Reddit:
“Before racism is called out, I have plenty of black friends. They, and their siblings have “normal” names, I.e. Justin, Jason, Chris, etc.
Just curious why you name your kids names like D’brickishaw, Barkevious D’quell (all NFL players first names) and so on. I don’t know 2 people in this world named Barkevious. Is it a “unique” thing? My black friends don’t know the answer so I’m asking the source .
I’m a minority too and I know all races have weird, uncommon names like apple and candy for white people, Jesus for Spanish, and so on.
Don’t get your panties in a bunch I just want a straight answer. I googled it and anytime someone asked, they get their heads ripped off so the Internet doesn’t have a straight answer yet.”
So you pose an antagonizing question, then state the old common “I have black friends” defense, and you don’t expect a shit storm to happen? Oh ok, dude. People were quick to site how “black” names could prevent people from getting jobs, others poked fun at names like Beyonce and Airwrecka, as well as stating that most black names can’t be proven to have African origins.
Daily Beast writer, Jamelle Bouie, received a barrage of negative comments after his series of Tweets pointing out the double standards that exist between black and white names:
“Seriously, I will take your ‘questions’ about ‘weird’ black names seriously when you make fun of Reince Priebus and Rand Paul. White people giving their kids names like Saxby Chambliss and Tagg Romney is a clear sign of cultural pathology.” If names like “DeShawn” and “Shanice” are fair targets for ridicule, then the same should be true for “Saxby” and “Tagg.”
Here are a few of the responses:
So, names like Jamelle, Mo’nique, [and] Trayvon are normal?” asked one self-proclaimed conservative. Likewise, another asked if “Jamelle, LaShonda, Trayvon, etc. are signs of advanced, successful, economically stable and crime free culture?”, which was followed by someone wondering if “names like LaShaniqua, Jamal, Porsche, Mercedes” would be our “future leaders.”
Future leaders, huh?
Well there is that dude named, Barack. I sort of remember this woman named Condoleeza. Now if those aren’t examples of how names didn’t keep people from becoming leaders, I don’t know what is.
Like Bouie stated, apparently these so-called “black” names are treated inferior. So it’s completely fine for a kid to walk around with the name “Apple”, but “Laquan” isn’t? Dweeezil, is completely fine. Shaniqua, oh that’s ghetto. A few months ago I noticed someone on Facebook posting the name of their new son, I had to raise an eyebrow. Skywalker? Really, dude? You can name your child after a Star Wars character and no one raises an eyebrow. Now that’s what you call white privilege.
So to answer the Reddit user’s original question, “Just curious why you name your kids names like D’brickishaw, Barkevious D’quell (all NFL players first names) and so on”, it’s because they can.
What do you think about so-called “black” names, or parents being creative when it comes to their child’s name?
Reprinted with permission from Clutch.