Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just thinking...What's in a name?

I was on the way to work this morning. I was listening to the Steve Harvey Morning show as usual. On Wednesday's they have the Essence Hot Topic. Today the issue was 'are minorities getting overlooked because of names'. (They also touched on a little affirmative action and brought up an issue of: 'since President Obama has been elected, is affirmative action still needed?- To be blogged about later). So- One example of a 'name that is often overlooked' was 'Jamal'. They had several more, but for some reason Jamal stood out to me, I guess because I had a childhood friend with that name, who was extremely intelligent. (Who knows where he is now and what he's doing... but oh well..) Anyway. I was thinking today... what really IS in a name?

They talked about how 'black sounding names' on applications and resumes were trashed before lookin at any qualifications. The 'white sounding names' that appeared on applications peaked interests more and applications were reviewed and interviews granted. (This isn't to say that these people were hired, BUT were a heck of a lot closer than the ones who's apps got tossed).

If there is an applicant with a white name- for blog's sake- let's say Bethany applied for a job as a teacher's assistant. Let's say- again for blog's sake- that the requirements are: high school diploma and 4 years experience in child care. Bethany dropped out of high school in 11th grade, and had 2 children of her own who are wards of the state because she was negligent. Let's also say an applicant with a black name- for blog's sake- let's say Shaquintilla applied for that same job. According to the radio discussion, Shericka's application would most likely be tossed even though she graduated top of her high school class, graduated in the top 10% of a community college, worked for the last 7 years in a daycare (from general employee to daycare director). Kinda sucks huh? And is very wrong. In this situation, Bethany was pretty much a waste of an interview, but based on 'name alone' she was considered. And based on 'name alone', Shericka was snubbed of an opportunity.

They also went on to talk about how some 'black sounding named' individuals (example-made up name): Quashon Christopher Davis has been encouraged to fill out applications using partial names, such as Q. Christopher Davis or just Christopher Davis... because 'Christopher' is neither 'black' or 'white'. Go figure! When in the world will people be judged on content of character and not on petty things such as a name.

As a black woman, growing up in a black community, we have- for some reason, made a sport of 'making up names' or trying to find names that are unique. Ehhh... I can't lie, some of the names are VERY interesting... LOL and some quite stupid! I agree, that some names may make you question the 'character', but it wasn't like little Shithead (pronouced Sha-theed) could come out the womb and say, 'Moma, don't make up a name for me please. Please name me Michael or Cory or Brandon or something 'job worthy'. Baby Aquanesha couldn't crawl up to her mom and say, 'mother dear, this name is going to hinder me from future jobs... '. A mother should know better you say? Well... how could she when her name is 'La'Trendalyn' (LOL) And her mother should have known better you think, right? Well... could she when her name is 'Curdy Mae'. (the names previously mentioned in THIS paragraph are names of people I have actually met!!! sad...but true! LOL).

It's funny how my sister (Natalie) and I were often the butt of many jokes because we had 'white names'. I'd say my family has relatively 'equi-race' (yes, I made that up, but I know you get the meaning) names: Veronica, Trilana (a stretch), Cory, Natalie, Percy Jr, Prentiss III, Savannah, Marcus, Denzel (maybe not so 'white', but not a bad name), and Shericka (yeah- probably the most 'black' name of all of us). Now, the paternal side MIGHT be a lil different (LOL) Still I'd say FOR THE MOST PART, according to the radio show, most of my maternal cousins wouldn't be tossed as applicants.

What ever happened to 'regular' names with 'meaning'? Why have we, as a black community, decided to get SOOO creative with the name and neglect the more important issues sometimes. Some times we, forget to be creative with how to teach and train our children. NO- not a mother yet, BUT, I've had my share of the baby sitting and assisted in rasing a few little ones...
(Sigh) well..I guess that's all of my venting/typing release for now...

Later folks!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Milesperhour. I read ur comment. Tried to respond. Accidently deleted it! I'm sorry. However I wanna say thanks for the response and from ur response, I wanna say I'm glad there are good people with common sense left in this crazy world! Do come back!!! And by then I'll have this phone icon/response thing figured out so no more accidental deletes!!!