Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Name Game







Many of us are well acquainted with these names & others; The are the infamous names that have sprouted up in our community in the last 20-25 years. They are also the subject of the name bias that's been written about in books like Freakinomics by Stephen Leavitt, that shows the discrimination against job applicants with "Black" names.

Below, find what were identified as the 20 "Blackest" names for girls:

Imani, Ebony, Shanice, Aaliyah, Precious, Nia, Deja, Diamond, Asia, Aliyah, Jada, Tierra, Tiara, Kiara, Jazmine, Jasmin, Jazmin, Jasmine, Alexus, Raven

* Please note the NGE/Islamic/Pan-African infuence in the names above

Here are the 20 "Whitest" names for girls:

Molly, Amy, Claire, Emily, Katie, Madeline, Katelyn, Emma, Abigail, Carly, Jenna, Heather, Katherine, Caitlin, Kaitlin, Holly, Allison, Kaitlyn, Hannah, Kathryn

* Please note that there are really only 5 or 6 names there; the rest are variations

The "Blackest" names for boys:

DeShawn, DeAndre, Marquis, Darnell, Terrell, Malik, Trevon, Tyrone, Willie, Dominique, Demetrius, Reginald, Jamal, Maurice, Jalen, Darius, Xavier, Terrance, Andre, Darryl

* I Must say that I've never met a white person named Terell

The "Whitest" names for boys:
Jake, Connor, Tanner, Wyatt, Cody, Dustin, Luke, Jack, Scott, Logan, Cole, Lucas, Bradley, Jacob, Garrett, Dylan, Maxwell, Hunter, Brett, Colin

All jokes aside, why is this important? Well, if people are being discriminated against, then that isn't a good thing. On the other hand, if we're giving our children the culture to go along with the names (excepting the lexus thing), then in reality, they shouldn't have as much of a problem as they may be now. Frankly many original brothers & sisters from the indian sub-continent have names that most of us can't spell, much less pronounce, yet they don't seem to have problems getting or keeping jobs. We have to do a better jobs of creating a reality for our children so that their names don't create a barrier. The issue is when give our children hard-to-pronounce names, and then throw them out to the wolves, or don't give people around them a understanding of why they carry those names. I will say that some of the names may sound a little "out there", b.u.t. in the absence of a culture to call their own, people will make do with what they have. In a sense, it's indicative of the fact that many of us were trying to go outside the box, b.u.t. didn't necessarily have a framework.

Be on the look out for Part 2...

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