• Fri, Sep 13 - 4:39 pm ET

Reddit User Asks Why Blacks Give Kids ‘Weird’ Names But Isn’t Racist Or Anything

baby shower cakesDebates about classism have often arisen when mocking the many “Yoonique” names that have popped up for children. Laughing about some seemingly “janky” spelling for a kid’s name crosses into racist territory faster than you can adjust the spelling for Lindsay when you consider the cultural implications of calling someone’s name “weird.” Like when one Reddit user by the name of “fuckyourteam” asks WTF is up with black parents giving all their kids “weird” names?

TRUE story! “Fuckyourteam” puts this question to black parents directly, titling his post, “Black American parents of reddit, why do you name your kids weird names?

First, I need to do this:

But before you think “Fuckyourteam” is racist or anything, he/she wants you know that not only is he/she a “minority,” BUT he/she is also in possession of BLACK FRIENDS. Therefore, he/she is instantly inoculated against harboring any sort of racist sentiments whatsoever because there are black people in his/her company:

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.

My panties are right where I left them, but I can’t glean if “fuckyourteam” is using the quotes around the term “normal” in earnestness or not. What’s problematic here is defining names like Justin, Jason, Chris, etc. as “normal” simply because they’re white Anglo-Saxon names. Because what’s really happening is that whiteness is being upheld as the “normal” standard, while names that happen to stray from whiteness — like your stereotypical Laquisha — are dubbed “weird.” Let’s be clear. The only thing “weird” about a name like Laquisha is that it’s not a white name.

And so, in conclusion:

(photo: hjshewmaker)

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  • TwentiSomething Mom

    So he wants a straight answer for what many different people do and why? And when he gets that answer, what is he going to do with that information?

    • Byron

      Presumably sate his curiocity and go some form of “Ahh, I see, that’s why, alright man, thanks!”.

  • Emmali Lucia

    I don’t even think it’s a “Black” thing. Vagena, anyone? ( http://www.stfuparentsblog.com/post/229983649/halloween-09-i-recognize-the-editing-only-adds )

    Usually when I hear a yooneek cznophlaykke name my first thought is “Poor kid.” I don’t really think about the race or class of the mother. Other than thinking that the parents probably aren’t thinking about how said name will affect his/her future.

    • Sarah

      Every time I forget about those kids, someone brings them up again.

    • Annona

      Graduated high school with a girl named “Vagina”. Pronounced “Va-Gee-na.” She went by her middle name, so none of us knew about the “Vagina” thing till graduation practice. It was pretty amazing. Her explanation of where it came from; My mom saw it in a magazine while she was pregnant with me..

    • Evelyn

      I went to school with a few girls called Virginia (but haven’t seen any of my own kids generation) and would have assumed that her parents couldn’t spell Virginia. Every Virginia I have known went by Ginny (pronounced Jinny) because even that was too close to vagina to survive playground humour. Actually calling the poor lass Vagina … OK, that is actually the worst name I have ever heard.

    • jack_sprat2

      You’ve obviously never heard of Mr. Peter Glasscock. He’s a handful, I’m told.

    • chickadee

      All I wonder about the parents who name their children yooneek names is that they are trying way too hard to distinguish them from their peers.

    • jack_sprat2

      That’s the actual explanation for the practice among American blacks. Motivated, as it were, by the unfortunate practice of selling a mother’s children “down the River”. Families often spent entire lives, inquiring of their lost loved ones’ whereabouts. With an unusual name, it were at least conceivable that word might come back home, or that siblings might know one another when they met.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I totally don’t think of race. I’ve known enough kids of all races and from all walks of life for this to only be a black thing. Heck, there are seriously 7 different Kaylas in my neighborhood, and they are almost ALL spelled differently (IE YOONIK). And they’re all white girls.

    • jack_sprat2

      That’s largely a recent phenomenon. Given the state of American education, as evidenced on many internet forums, I’m not convinced that it isn’t mostly a product of profound ignorance.

  • Byron

    Are those weird names actually African though? Like, if you go to Africa, will you find a lot of Laquishas? I know of Kimbo and Sheeba and such names as being African, I wouldn’t consider them weird at all. What IS weird is when some ignorant parent picks random words, misspells them, and decrees them a “name”.

    If I wanted to call my kid a “unique form of Jeremy” and I spelled his name Gerehmayee or something like that, people would think it’s weird. They’d be right, it would be weird.

    I don’t see how it is “cultural” to take words and phonetically curbstomp them and then decide they now are names. That’s not culture, that’s stupid flamboyant unconformity and trying to pretend you or your kids are special because of their name being some weird jumbled mess of letters that means nothing but kinda sounds like something else.

    Names have evolved as they did through a process, they used to be titles, for example the root for George is the Greek word for “farmer”. With many names you have a long history and an evolutionary process at work and its final stage is the name we have nowadays. Names are a way of honoring and paying homage to our roots and history. When you just pick some random thing and turn it into a name cause you’re so special though, that indeed is weird and to attribute it to your skin color or race to avoid flak instead of just come out and say it “I just thought it sounds cool guys, it’s not because I’m black, it’s because I’m ME” is most definitely playing the race card.

    I know when people named their kid Dovahkiin (from the game Skyrim, it means “dragonborn”) they didn’t say “it’s a white cultural thing to give kids videogame terms for names, if you question us about it you’re racists”, they said “we love Skyrim, it’s 100% on us!”. I think this is how all naming, be it more common or not, should be treated.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      African and African-American aren’t the same culture. And creating names that are neither completely African or WASP has a long history going back to slavery when it was a way for the slaves to name themselves apart from whatever name their master had given them. There are cultural origins to things, apart from people simply “playing the race card” so that they can complain that no one is allowed to make fun of them.

    • Byron

      How does it make sense to honor their few hundred years of slave history over the thousands of years as purely Africans? Presumably, modern people are aware of their past in its entirety. Why choose to identify more to the slave-segment of their past rather than the African one? It is surely a much grander part of their history.

      Even if we agree that there’s cultural origins, I’m sure a lot of the names that modern people use are not the same names or evolved/adapted forms of those old names the slaves named themselves.

      To say “naming my kids whatever the hell I want is part of my culture” when you don’t have a white slave-owner naming them for you is kinda redundant. Especially when you’re free to just name them whatever African name you would have named them had you never become a slave in the first place.

      All in all, I don’t see the point to paying homage to the last 300some years of your history and ignoring the past thousands of years of it. It keeps people in the mentality of the “ex-slave” and they should instead be in the mentality of the “free person”.

    • msLiz506

      How kind of you to lay out how black people in America should feel about their history. Thank god they’ve got you around!

    • Byron

      Common sense is common sense. If you have an argument as for why my logic doesn’t make sense you’re free to point it out. Just saying that because I’m not part of the group I have no chance of ever being correct or that my suggestions are pre-disposed to wrongness is quite irrational.

    • msLiz506

      Also, if something is largely practiced in the black community, it’s part of black culture. Not sure why you said black parents play the race card to “avoid flack”. If its part of the culture, it’s part if the culture.
      And being a white person doesn’t mean that our insights about black culture are inherently wrong, more that it isn’t our place to judge and tell them what they SHOULD be doing.

    • Byron

      Every time culture’s used like this it’s to remove blame from a group and attirbute it to the culture. “It’s not my fault, I was raised as X objectionable thing” or “this thing is actually normal over here, you’re being intolerant by judging, despite my agreeing that you do have a point”.

      Everyone should be able to offer advice and opinions to everyone else in a free society. Whose place it is to do so or not is irrelevant. What matters is the subjective merit of the advice itself.

      Also, I just said I’m not black, not that I’m white. Way to go assuming stuff. :P (I’m actually mediterranean)

    • msLiz506

      Your comment says “white guy” all over it. From deciding what constitutes “culture” (saying that creating new names isn’t culture, but rather being flamboyantly stupid), to comparing to white parents not using “it’s a white cultural thing,” as if white culture and black culture are even remotely treated equally in America, to deciding what part of black history they SHOULD be honoring, lest they keep considering themselves “ex-slaves.” Which, according to you I’m guessing, means that they should just let all the history of bigotry and institutionalized racism and just GET OVER IT already, amirite??
      Pretty much the epitome of white privilege. Don’t worry, it’s not offensive. I have white friends :)

    • Byron

      When you create something you should be accountable and you should have the risk of people thinking your creation is dumb and letting you know. You shouldn’t be impervious to critique. That’s the issue. People should be free to find black american slave themed cultural elements dumb. That they do it from a place of privilige doesn’t mean that had the privilige been not there the elements would suddenly become not-dumb.

      The example with the Skyrim parents is one of people responding to critique for an unusual name with what I believe to be HONESTY. They were honst in that the actual reason they named their kid “Dragonborn” in the language Dragons speak in the fictional world of Skyrim was their love for their game. I wish other people also used the true reasons for their namings. I wish people took responsibility for it rather than shake it off and blame their culture.

      Just because something is your culture it doesn’t instantaneously mean you have to abide by it or follow it or be part of it. You still have a choice on the matter! You can still be an individual and take the merits of the culture and decide.

      If black people actually used reason and logic to defend their naming instead of just blindly following what the culture has set in place without an inkling of thought therein nobody would have an issue. If someone came up and explained a personal reason which is meaningful and significant that lead to the naming it would be alright.

      I think bringing culture obfuscates the real issue. I think it is done as a decoy so that people won’t be made feel dumb for doing something they themselves realize is pretty dumb. It’s plain arrogance.

      I didn’t say they should get over it, i said they should put it in proper perspective and not let it eclipse their being. They’re way more than slaves. Their history consists of multiple times more events of their being free. Let em honor some of that stuff too.

    • msLiz506

      “If black people actually used reason and logic to defend their naming…”
      Ok, I’m out. Have a good one.

    • Byron

      Why is that so abhorrent to you? If someone critiques me, I’ll use logic and reason to defend myself. What belies the critique or weather or not I feel it is justified doesn’t matter. If someone brings up an invalid point and I can show it to be so, I’ll do that and just diffuse the issue right then and there. To not do that but instead attack the basis of the critique, you must understand, leaves people with the impression that you’re indefensible and that your only recource is to say the question is unfair or shouldn’t have been asked in the first place.

      When Hitler held his nazi olympics, black people didn’t shun him cause he was a nazi, they just went there and kicked ass and just proved incontrovertably so that they weren’t inferrior as he claimed them to be. That was a much more effective course of action than merely protesting the olympics or telling him he shouldn’t hold them.

      Just show people whom you think are wrong to be wrong if you can and be done with it. If you can’t then accept them to be right and aknowledge that for what it means. Done!

    • 1froglegs

      Byron, great job.

    • JLH1986

      If black people actually used reason and logic to defend their naming instead of just blindly following what the culture has set in place without an inkling of thought therein nobody would have an issue.
      What do you call white people just blindly naming their kid Michael or Adam or Samantha or Amanda? Same concept. Maybe people who are considered “minority” consider those “generic white people names” that white people use to not have to think about their kids names too much? While I may not like what someone named their kid (I’m not a fan of gender ambiguous names, nor of the Jr. names) I would never expect them to “explain a personal reason which is meaningful and significant that lead to naming” It’s none of my business. It’s none of your business and it’s none of the Reddit trolls business. The parents liked the name, they named the kid and that’s that. It’s racist to suggest only black people name their kids something totally absurd (Pilot Inspektor, anyone?).

    • elle

      I might love you a little bit for this perfect comment.

    • 1froglegs

      Actually, most authentically “African” names are merely Arabic names that invaded Africa with the expansion of the Ottoman Empire.

      If they are truly “honoring” their African heritage by naming their daughter Khadejah(Mohammad’s first wife), they are simply paying homage to the Muslim invaders who enslaved them for 1000 years, not some old ancestral heritage. Given your excuse of their names(of using unusual names to escape the names bestowed upon them by their white masters), that would truly be ironic.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I wanna be a token white friend!

    • Véronique Houde

      aren’t you greek? that’s just white with a tan. JK!

    • Byron

      Haha, I’m actually pretty pale really, I just don’t find many common elements between my culture and what you’d call american white culture so I don’t identify with what an american would describe as “white”.

      So yeah, while outwardly I appear white I don’t really share interest in what you’d stereotypically consider “white things”. Hell, I’m more into culturally Japanese things than either those or straight up Greek things for that matter!

      I believe culture is ultimately a choice you see. Do what you deem significant and own it. Don’t use it as a crutch. Just be yourself and be proud of that. :P

    • Véronique Houde

      Awesome insight… Yet I seem to remember us having a debate a little time ago where you were adamant that boys needed to stick up for themselves to other boys because physical fighting was part of growing up, because that was the way it was in your culture, when you were growing up. You used your cultural background to explain bullying, and didn’t really seem to want to look at the perspective from outside that specific frame of thought.

      Yet, now you are saying that culture is a choice that you see, and that you need to see the world through it but also outside of it. I find the contradiction a little bit interesting!!

    • Byron

      It’s kind of both really. I never said I was powerless in choosing that. From what I remeber I was simply explaining the perspective, I never used culture as an excuse, I fully explained I agreed with it based on rational reasons that I remember I made points for, I never leaned on the culture for support or used it to defend my case or said people are intolerant towards me for disagreeing. These things are the issue. When I just use logic to explain my position, the fact that it happens to coincide with my culture is irrelevant. I didn’t agree with it because it was part of my culture, I agreed with it and it just so happened to also be part of my culture. I would assume people independantly agree with tons of things that happen to be in their culture that even if they weren’t they’d still agree with.

      Also, I don’t think fighting and naming are equal elements of a culture. There wasn’t really a “culture of fighting” as much as fighting just being something kids did. It wasn’t something overtly endorsed by adults or society, it just..kinda took place without much fuss being made over it. That’s like saying someone has a culture of snoring or something. It just happens and you don’t make a fuss about it and you go on with your daily life. If anything, making a fuss over kids fighting seems more like the element of a culture than the opposite.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      WHITE THINGS.. is this like stuff white people like? I wanna know these white things.

    • Byron

      Hmm, well, the stereotype as I have come to understand it is stuff such as liking Classical music, fancy European-named foodstuff, certain sports (hockey comes to mind).

      Not sure if you’ve watched the show “Boondocks”, I think it has a pretty funny and overall complete summary of the “stereotypically white stuff” I am talking about.

    • Andrea

      Not that simple. There was someone on the other side selling them to the colonists. Who do think that was?

    • DCB

      Don’t forget SAMBO!

    • Annie

      They aren’t African, they’re African-American. It’s easy to oversimplify this because there’s no other population like African-Americans; in a country made almost completely up of immigrants, they’re the only people to have come here unwillingly and have their origins become verboten for generations.

      Having a name that is /from/ one of the many countries and cultures in Africa is inherently African, when having a name we think of as “American” tends to be inherently white.

      When you have a culture as relatively new as the African-American community, you make new traditions, new names. That is what we’re seeing.

      This isn’t phonetic curb-stomping; this is a new, still-malleable culture defining itself. It’s still a relatively new practice because the field of African-American studies (as we know them now, rather than a strictly anthropological field of study) is itself relatively new.

      I’m not black, but my scholarly pursuits are almost completely centered around African-American studies because I’m in school for a largely race-based field of mental health. This is a subject I’ve been studying for a few years and have attended conferences, etc. to better understand. Not saying that as a “nyah, nyah, nyah in ur fayse” retort, just giving an answer.

    • Byron

      Hmm, what I don’t understand is, with each other group of immigrants, Chinese or Italian or what have you, either of two things happened. They integrated into ‘white” society or they kept in with their roots and preserved their cultural purity. I’m not aware of any other example where a race decided to instead be a whole other entire culture out of the virtue of being in America now.

      Asian people still name their kids Chinese or Japanese or Korean names. Some may give them a “white” nickname that sounds kinda like their name (a friend of mine goes by Kelly when her name is Zhang Kai Yii for example) but in the end they’re still honoring their individual culture.

      What is it about African American culture that makes it different in this respect? Why is this choice being made, that choice of “no, we’re not just africans anymore”. You can say this is a new culture emerging but it is a phenomenon that is unlike what practically every other traditionally non-white immigrant group did. I’m Greek and even though I wasn’t born in the US I have lots of relatives who’re third or even fourth generation Americans of Greek ancestry. They’re all fluent in Greek and idenitfy as that more so than as Americans. This seems to be the trend with other groups of non-white/non-settlers that I have come to know.

    • Annie

      If you reread my post, you’ll note that I said African-American culture is different because they’re the only significant population to have come to this country against their will. They didn’t want to come here, didn’t want to be here once they arrived, and once the institution keeping them here was dissolved, their empires were so utterly broken that there was nothing to return home to.

      So you have the ghost of their cultures, of which there were many since there’s no specific “African” people, whose history was told orally from generation to generation despite the fact that this usually lead to flagellation. As family groups weren’t at all stable, people of different tribes, who spoke different languages, worshiped different gods, etc. ended up forming new familial groups.

      This is where the new cultural identity comes in, that general “African” one I mentioned earlier. Where Greek or Asian (for example) populations continued their traditions, the slaves could not, because it had been eradicated.

      To add insult to injury, blacks were treated like subhumans in America for hundreds of years. Historically speaking, African-Americans have been given (more or less) the same opportunities as non-blacks just a blink of an eye ago; my parents, for example, went to elementary school when schools were still segregated.

      Their identities were destroyed, yet they weren’t allowed to adopt white culture until relatively recently; they were “men without a country” anthropologically speaking. And when you’re starting with very little to nothing, as they are, you have to make your own traditions, names, etc.

    • Byron

      But wasn’t there one or more african countries which was founded by ex american slaves returning to it or which already existed and hosted numerous ex-slaves who decided to return? What did they return to if there was nothing? If anything I remember watching a documentary which mentioned that the ex-slaves established a high class upon their return to africa. One which actually was superior to the people who were already there before they returned.

    • Annie

      There have been a few “back to Africa” movements, but what we’re talking about is African-American culture. By the time slavery was criminalized in America, the practice of bringing in new slaves from Africa had been out of use for a while; the new generation of slaves were born of slaves themselves, and so on. This was where the mingling of cultures came in, and it’s unfair to think that they wouldn’t be thinking of themselves as Americans at this point. Understandably, they didn’t want to and couldn’t, for that matter, integrate into white culture. They made new traditions, and that process is still ongoing.

      Many of these repatriating experiments fell victim to apartheid, which is an interesting subject itself. Sierra Leone and Liberia were products of the “back to Africa” movement and what you’re talking about, how former slaves made a “superior class”, isn’t the best phrasing.

      Basically, these people weren’t returning to their homeland; they were taking an indigenous people’s and then pulling a Manifest Destiny on them. They were superior to these already settled people in the same way that Europeans were superior to the Native Americans, in other words, in that they had more firepower.

      Their political freedom didn’t last too long though, as Sierra Leone and Liberia are some of the most mineral rich places on Earth, and everyone wanted a piece of that. The new upper class was suddenly treated as they themselves treated the natives, and while they both have a rich history as the only two nations of their kind, still have a sad and bloody past and present.

    • Lcferna

      If I may draw everyone’s attention to the work of levitt and dubner , freakanomics, in which they examine the naming conventions of African American parents… These unique name that are distinctive. Their hypothesis and explanations was that there is an undercurrent of implied social pressure for black parents to separate themselves as a black community. Picking ‘black’ names emphasises this belonging. Choosing ‘conservative’ or ‘white’ names broadcasts to the community that you are aspirational, and that there can be social consequences as a result. By choosing a white name, it tells the others that have ‘black’ names that they want to be different, and they then ostracise the family as a result… the whole ‘they think they are better then us’ divide occurs. By choosing a black name instead it signals solidarity with the community, they are ‘acting black’.
      Likewise names have cycles, with those that were originally considered upper class/royal/celebrity, have a trickle down effect as the average people now name their children with aspirational names. Examining the popularity of names over generations show this trend. This is a largey wasp trend where aspirational names become common, and then fall out of use in favour of the new top names
      This information is taken from the freakanomics book, and is intended to help answer the question and settle some of the debate.

  • Annona

    I don’t think it’s limited to race, necessarily. I think lots of people give their kids thoughtless, yooneeque names because they see the kids as extensions of them and their speshul personalities instead of little people who will someday go to school and fill out job applications.

    I do know that i was in a fast food joint the other day at the same time as a child named “Lamborghini Mercy” and that it made me not want to live on this planet anymore. I don’t care about the race of the parents, but in my opinion there is no justification AT ALL for sending a girl child to school named after a Kanye West song about a guy getting a hand job. There is no “culture” attached to that; it’s pure, stupid narcissism and here’s hoping that the endless teasing that the poor child will receive from her peers about it will make her a stronger, more tolerant person.

    • Wendy

      You just reminded me. One of my daughter’s friends has a very unique name (which I secretly think is kind of a dumb name for a human–although it would be great if she were a pet). However, I end up taking her places with us (the fast food play place is where it happened last) and I end up calling out “time to go ___ and ______” and I hear people repeat her name and whisper shit like, “What the hell kind of name is that?” Sigh….because now they think she’s mine. And one thing I pride myself on is that my own children’s names are not the most common name on the playground, but they don’t get them stared at, either. I guess that’s kind of terrible to say. She’s a sweet little girl! But I don’t think names should earn you “what the hell?” looks for the rest of your life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Well, now ya just gotta tell us what the name is!

    • Wendy

      Valeri, I don’t want her mom to somehow read this obscure comment at the bottom of an article (I know, unlikely) and find out that I secretly mock the name! She’d figure out it was me if she tried and we really adore the kid and the family and I don’t wanna cause problems. So….I’m going to make it search proof so she can’t search for her daughter’s name and find it that way. So I’ll give you a hint. P.S….no one below actually come out and say it or I could mess it up for my kid! What does Peter Pan lose?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      His mind? wait…. His boyhood? THEY NAMED A KID BOYHOOD? ;)

    • Wendy

      Yeah, it’s cute. But all I can think of is how it’s the name of the dog on Homeward Bound and I always picture him running up the hill to meet his boy.

    • Andrea

      I don’t think it’s *that* strange. Kinda hippieish? I sorta like it!

    • Wendy

      It is kind of cute and has grown on me, but it gets strange looks every time you say it to new people. And… I hear the Homeward Bound Voiceover Dog. EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. Just can’t help it :)

    • Annona

      Aw man. I had a dog with that name when I was a kid. So, even though in the grand scheme of names it isn’t *that* bad, it would be hard for me to keep a straight face if I heard someone calling a kid that.

    • Wendy

      EXACTLY the problem I have!!!

    • Emmali Lucia

      That song’s only about a year old… Was it a small child or an infant? If it was a small child then that’s just about the weirdest coincidence you could possibly imagine.

    • Annona

      Barely toddling, so I’m guessing about a year? How old are babies when they can walk but can’t run and still fall down a lot?

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Not quite a year. My son took his first steps at just shy of 10 months old, but didn’t become proficient at it until about 12 months.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Oh Lawd, She really was named after the song, wasn’t she?

    • Annona

      I can’t imagine otherwise. And I’m not saying that they were horrible people…they were teenagers, is what they were. And I can totally see them thinking that it was just the coolest name for a little girl ever. God only knows some of the doozies I would have saddled a child with when I was 17. (I remember going through a phase when I thought “Mistral” was the best girl name evah!)

    • Geogirl

      Haha! I had plans to name a daughter Galadriel Etoile at that age.

    • JLH1986

      I was obsessed with Jane Austen and had decided my daughter would be named Pemberly Jane. So yea…

    • Jen

      Yes, THIS. The reddit user was clearly being racially insulting to suggest only or mostly black people name their kids this way. Really? I know of plenty of white kids named Kayleigh, Kaylee, Cailey, etc. I think that whoever does it, the yoonique name thing is annoying and pretty thoughtless of the parent. Why burden your kid? I know it’s just my opinion. I also know it is none of my business with anyone’s kid but my own. And I definitely know that it is not a “black people” trend, it is a current people trend across America.

    • ChillMama

      Actually, I think that may be a model of Lamborghini. Not saying they didn’t name her after the song, but maybe, just maybe, there is another explanation??

    • Annona

      Even so…I doubt that they were ignorant of the existence of the song, which is what most people I think will associate with the name (I did, and I’m hardly a Kanye fan, but I was working at a college when the song came out and it was EVERYWHERE) and I think it might cause the child problems with her peers when she hits school. Even though it won’t be popular by the time she’s in 3rd grade, it will still be accessible thanks to the internet.

    • ChillMama

      Oh, for sure. I feel so bad for that kid. I was just trying to think of some possible reason why a person would name their child that. Poor thing.

  • CW

    There are names that sound “black” without being “ghetto”. Malia, Jamal, Imani, Zora, etc. Darryl, Isaiah, and Jasmine are mostly used by blacks as well. President and Mrs. Obama didn’t throw together a bunch of random letters and apostrophes to come up with their daughters’ names.

    • Andrea

      They have pretty yuniquee names though. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of names like Sasha and Malia.

      And for the record, I ADORE the Obamas as a family, so don’t go slamming me.

    • CW

      Sasha is a fairly common Russian nickname for Alexander or Alexandra. I went to high school with a guy whom we all called “Alex” but whose immigrant parents called “Sasha”.

    • Andrea

      You know what, I knew that. Sorry, you are right, I had blocked that out.

  • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

    “I just want to know why after you were plucked from your home continent, made to live like animals, whipped and killed in fields, bred to be bigger and stronger but more complacent, not given any access to education and then like, say, 50 years ago, finally allowed to go to school in what I’d call “average neighborhoods” alongside your longtime oppressor-chums….why do you have names so unlike those other people?”

    • Koa_Beck

      You win the Internet today. And most days, good sir.

    • DCB

      Trying to be diff.,I suppose. But don’t forget, they are black.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I’m guessing this is sarcastic which makes all the downvotes baffling to me.

    • DCB

      I talk from exp…. I was with a black woman over 7 and a half years. When she acted like a ni^%&er I told her as much then she would chill/blunt and sex was good! Sheila was her name and I still think of her.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Nevermind y’all, total troll here. Carry on with the wel deserved down votes.

      Did this “woman” you “dated” ever call you out on your asshole behavior? IF so, did you correct said behavior?

    • DCB

      Where should I began with reply with east coast rancid cock…..or should I say frances locke. 1 I supported her 2 she lived with me 3 lets don’t forget her three good children 4 I fought reverse discrimination the whole time from her mom & outer family 5 first thanksgiving nephew almost shot me with a 9mm 6 I was the cracker in that crowd, low dog etc 7 spent a small fortune on flowers movies meals for everyone all the time 8 her family was edu. also 9 mom , her and her sisters were all pretty smart as am I 10 the pers names of the outer family were all diff. 11 did not bother me that there names made no sense 12 what’s in a name anyway. Believe me when I say I gave it a go but I was fighting a losing battle because they all thot somebody owed them something etc. but not her mom. it’s a cultural mind set and this from a 6 foot 6 inch tall whiteboy who’s honest.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      HARDEE HARR HARR, you thought of an “insult” that rhymes with my name! I am trembling in humiliation and fear!

      I hope this woman went on to find a man who wouldn’t call any of her behavior “nigger” like. I think what you are crosses all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, orientations, etc etc…you’re trash. AKA garbage aka a douche.

    • DCB

      Let’s see; young, female, east coast, voted for obama, full of hate,mmmmmm must be libtart or prog., how am I doing?Here’s a recipe for you; you take some common sense and a dash of wisdom, blend real well then let sit. Wait 15 minutes then eat and enjoy, goodnight.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I love our trolls here at Mommyish. You’re close but no cigar, I would categorize myself as “young” and I’ve been an independent since I first registered to vote, because both US parties are ridiculous, but yeah, I’m very liberal on social issues (not so much on financial) and I am proud to be called progressive.

      I won’t make a bunch of hyperbolic generalizations about you, except to say one word: trash.

    • DCB

      We agree on more than you think. But……I have lived it. Have you crossed the race barrier yourself or are you just talking the talk without walking the walk like most lib prog’s?

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I live in the Far Rockaway section of Queens. A quick Google search of my area would tell you a lot. My neighborhood is unique in the way people interact, I believe, partially because we’re a peninsula with a huge amount of public housing and hub options, and partially because our area has always been used as a “ghetto” in NYC, first for the poor Irish then for blacks and hispanics and more recently for working poor of all ethnicities.

      I’ve also volunteered as a peer counselor for a few domestic violence shelters in my city (inspired by my own experiences) so I’ve forged close relationships with people from all races, orientations and financial backgrounds.

      I was raised in a pretty conservative area by people who weren’t conservative when it came to social issues, and I am far from the typical “lib” you’re describing. I think people should research the issues and form their own opinions, instead of deciding things based on party lines.

    • DCB

      After reading your last… I’ve gained some respect for you, and what you have to say about the current political climate and yourself. I’m a older Ron Paul kind of guy who’s not to efficient at the computer.Seattle man that now lives in SoCal hi`desert and right now my eyes are starting to blur. I do have more to say and appreciate your candor.No more slinging slang, OK?You sound interesting so let’s talk some more ie, politics,social,history,science or other tomorrow if we could at this site. SoCal honest troll.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I take back the “troll” comment, because you seem pretty honest and reasonable.

    • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

      Also, a much better insulting and rhyming name for Frances Locke is “Ban-this Squawk”. See, it’s good because it insinuates that she’s just a clucking chicken and it demands that she’s banned from the conversation. Pow pow, two-pieced.

    • DCB

      Clucking chicken? Looked at FB site, you seem pretty together by what I looked at! Wish you good luck on your upcoming marr…. Hey I have a pet theory, here it is; think of a giant redwood,[tree]. As long as you stay in or on the trunk of the tree you will always grow. Going out on a limb ie, thought’s, idea’s are always or could be good as long as you come back to the trunk and ad it to your own personal mantra or brain stem if you will and move up to the next limb and do same. The trunk then always grows etc. I know it sounds simple but it has worked for me.So back to the topic at hand ie, parents of young black children naming their children with names that have nothing to do with there african roots. I would say a culture fad if I had to guess. I’m sure that if you looked at the statistics lets say, 1980 to 2010 you would likely see some kind of curve in relationship to what names were being picked etc. I bet that people mag.,has those stats on hand,HaHa. I personally don’t read such mag’s myself tho. Signing out now.

    • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

      Well, here’s the thing: I was kidding.

    • DCB

      Stirring that big pot of mental mush,uh. You must be the verbal ‘ringer’ that every site; needs, wants, or already has. Just joking around don’t ya know.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I’m totally changing your author name to this, and buy you a satin jacket with it embroidered on it.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This comment just further solidifies my stance that Zach is my fave commenter and reader. Carry on m’lord internet king.

    • matt30fl

      Nicely done Mr. Rosenberg, nicely done.

    • David Busi

      Zach, – oh and I wear a Yarmulke but I am not as nearly visible a minority as a Laquisha might be. Before we can determine the content of her character so that it can be judged we face her appearance and her name. Jews changed their names to fit in to society and to be accepted. Dovid became David, Shlomo was used in Synagogue but on the street it was Stephen. If you want to be accepted in society and to compete and succeed in society you would be best advised to make it easier to cut to the chase and get down to the character and capabilities of the individual and not put them at any handicap before they get there.

    • http://www.8bitdad.com Zach Rosenberg

      I forget what my Irish some-sort-of-great-grandfather changed from, but it was something like Ghantley to Ganley. Or something. Friggin’ Irish.

    • David Busi

      LOL….a true story, I listened to a Rabbi give a sermon which contained the lines: I look forward to in the very near future attending a baby naming where a little girl will be given the name Yehudith in loving memory of her great grandmother Judy.

  • Muggle

    When I saw this headline I was expecting the old “My friend who’s a nurse/teacher/in a mommy group/etc. knows a woman who…” anecdotes that are a) totally false and easily disproven, and b) often racist. Like the old stories of uneducated black women giving birth in hospitals, and getting naming ideas from labels and such around them… like “Chlamydia” or “Ovary.” Which do sound like they’d be lovely names for girls, but instead are names for a sexually-transmitted infection and a female reproductive organ, respectively.

    • msLiz506

      I hate that trope!

    • Emmali Lucia

      There’s always that one commenter who INSISTS that they know someone named LemonJello or LimeJello

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      Or someone who swears they knew a girl named La-a (pronounced Ladasha.)

      Why do people tell such lies?!

    • Emmali Lucia
    • shel

      There are now kids named Le-a because of all of those stories…

    • Tea

      My mom had friends in the air force who almost did name their kid that, but they were white, and the wife shot it down as soon as she saw her husband’s spelling of what she thought sounded like a nice name phonetically.

    • Muggle

      The version I heard was Oranjello and Lemonjello.

      Still bullshit. According to the Social Security Administration, nobody has these stupid names.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Thank you, I forgot the exact one and I was too lazy to go to snopes.

      One of us should name our child Lemonjello just to mess with that lady

    • Justme

      I DO know a Dimple Chacha.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Well my cousins are named Suedewolf, Silverlyn, Zaven and Ziva. But I pretty much try to insist I don’t know them.

    • Haradanohime

      I actually like Zaven and Ziva. They aren’t bad at all.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Suedewolf?

      Did that mother get slipped a little something extra at the hospital?

    • Andrea

      Apparently it is now documented. SO no, it is not a lie:

      http://anaidtomemory.ancient-future.net/2007/05/the-real-lemonjello-and-orangejello/

    • Ptownsteveschick

      I wouldn’t necessarily call that documented. I have looked myself up online and it claims I am 50, still living with my mom who is 40 and my husband doesn’t even exist on an internet search. Not exactly accurate.

  • Annie

    Wondering what minority this person is. If he’s one of those white people who are all up on whites becoming a minority, that would be the cherry on top of this shit sundae.

    • msLiz506

      I’m definitely wondering if this is photoshopped. If not, priceless.

    • NicknamesAreDull

      Cracked.com is a humor site, and this was in a photoplasty. So, yes. It’s photoshopped.

    • Annie

      Yes, it’s photoshopped ;)

  • Kara

    My friend (white in case anyone is wondering) named her third girl Nauviarrah. I still have no clue how to say it. I’m glad we haven’t visited them in years because I have no clue how to pronounce it.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I’m going to take a stab and guess it’s pronounced No-veera. Maybe? Or Naa-vie-ra? Now-via-rah?
      Damn.

    • Evelyn

      Hmm … tricky and Google has let me down on anyone else having the name and posting a handy guide to pronouncing it. Nau could be somewhere between rhyming with nor and awe like the au in nautical, Australia and because. It could also be more oh like au pair although that sound often has an e in front. It could even be like ow. The iarrah could be like ee-arrah or like igh-arrah.

      If I met the child I would obviously avoid saying her name until a family member did but if I was forced to say her name (or was her first teacher reading the register) I would say Nawvigharrah.

      From experience I have found that parents of kids with unusual or foreign names don’t object to people asking how to pronounce it rather than mangling it with bad guess work.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    it’s everyone… spelling can mess up a name. my name is PRONOUNCED Peggy. it is spelled Peigí. now most Irish people would get it, due to that glorious little stroke that is the FADA on a vowel.
    To this day I have customers who call me Heidi, Penny, Polly, Paige, PEH-EYE-GEE (one memorable woman choked trying to pronounce it and just hung her head in shame) I just tell people to call me that mad twat. works out for everyone. =P

    • Peggy

      I completely adore the gaelic spelling!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      AHHH ANOTHER PEGGY!! I like it too but sometimes it can be frustrating- like on a bank statement where the í becomes a capital A with a Spanish squiggle lol

    • Peggy

      I can imagine! We wanted to name one of our boys Eoin, but were worried about the hassle he might have getting people to pronounce it right. I still kinda wish we had though :) We went with the English spelling of Owen instead.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      Gorgeous sounding name!
      have pity for my friend Aonghus Gabriel…he was called anus for years…..

    • Jessica

      We named our daughter Brighid Catriona using the traditional spelling and no one on either side of our family (both with Irish roots) can ever remember how to spell it. I am expecting our son in January. Originally we were going to name him Finnegan MIchael (husband’s middle name), but since we went with the Gaelic spelling for our daughter my husband wanted to do the same for our son. So now we are naming him Sean (husband’s first name) Fionnagain and calling him Finn. But I know lots of people will think that’s “weird” too!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      beautiful names!
      and I think your little one will be fine, shows like Adventure Time have had an increase in the number of boys named Jake and Finn! one of the most popular kids shows, and I have two friends who named their kids Finn. One even had twins and named them both Jake and Finn!

      I always wanted Callie and Sephy for girls. (I’m a Greek nerd, so Callie for Calliope and Sephy short for Persephone) I dream of having twin girls! I always liked Tobey and Tallon for boys, I was told by a Welsh friend of mine that Tallon has old Welsh roots.

    • DMH

      I love Irish and Gaelic names :) I can imagine the misspellings and mispronounciations get annoying after a while.

      Reading through this thread reminded me of a scene from PS I Love You, when Hillary Swank first met Girard Butler when she was traveling in Ireland. She completely butchered Dún Laoghaire.

    • Justme

      Ugh. PS I Love You. That made me cry the ugly cry.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      LOL
      Ah most of the Irish pronunciations and meanings get lost after a while. I had a very posh English l;ady try and insist my name was in face, Margaret, and that I was splitting hairs.
      When I informed her that yes, PEGGY is short for Margaret a lot of the time, my spelling and meaning were quite different.
      She responded with “O how typical of the Irish to ruin such a lovely English name”

      I just called her an Amadán and walked away, left her wondering what the hell I had just called her!

  • mel

    I think the author is reading too much into this. I think he meant “common” when he mentioned the “normal” names, not “white”. I also sense a tone of outrage in the article when the question seems to be one of genuine curiousity. Is it a little racist? Yeah maybe, but all he wants is an answer–so maybe someone ought to politely give him one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Weber/1149485644 Jessica Weber

      Yeah that’s what I was thinking. Obviously the guy doesn’t realize how offensive he is, but maybe instead of yelling RACIST whenever anybody asks a question, lets answer them, no matter how naive they are. How much of racism is just straight up fear and lack of information?

    • StealthGent

      Often people don’t know they’re being offensive, they’re just being curious and don’t always know what’s acceptable. It’s part of why I will usually happily answer some pretty intrusive questions bout being gay or gender transitioning, so long as they aren’t blatantly fishing for shock value.

    • Tinyfaeri

      You’re being very kind, perhaps too kind. “Curious” and “it’s how we learn!” don’t work as an excuses for being offensive or rude after about age 10 or there is some kind of disability involved. A good general rule is that if you feel the need to clarify that what you’re asking isn’t rude/racist/inappropriate/sexist, you’re just curious… then you shouldn’t ask the question to start with. Not all curiosity can be sated, and we are not entitled to know everything about everyone just because we want to.

    • StealthGent

      I half-agree, but my approach is still to just answer honestly and usually also clarify that these aren’t really questions that are appropriate, because some people genuinely don’t know better. I don’t like stifling dialogue, and I’ve made a few allies and changed quite a few opinions in the outreach and education I have done.

      I’m very patient, and very hard to ruffle, and sometimes I’m dealing with people who are way off the ignorance scale, but I’ve never had someone walk away with a worse opinion than when they started to talk to me. I also pretty much always add that these aren’t okay questions to ask 99% of the time, after I explain.

      However, I’m not saying that these questions are generally acceptable, or that everyone should be an activist and humor them, it’s just my personal approach for what I do, and most responses tend to be favorable.

    • Tinyfaeri

      And if you’re in the outreach and education business, that’s one thing, and your patience level is naturally going to be higher. It’s a different ballpark when it comes to random people at a party, in the grocery store, or even friends, depending on the topic. Don’t get me wrong, I try hard not to be rude to someone in retaliation for rudeness, but that still doesn’t make “But I’m curious!” any better of an excuse for an adult asking prying or inappropriate questions, or not thinking before they speak. Google is there for that kind of thing, not every single person someone meets.

      Maybe it’s the amount of overshare people do on social media, but all sense of personal boundary seems to be erroding the last few years. Personally, I find that disturbing.

    • Psych Student

      I try to do the same thing. Sometimes people have to ask the offensive questions otherwise they won’t get the answers they need. I don’t necessarily want them to resort to the internet because they may get really crap/offensive/incorrect answers. And I recognize that not everyone can answer the questions without being offended, but since I can, I like to help clear up misconceptions.

    • Izzy

      We may not be entitled to the answer, but we are to ask the question.

    • Tinyfaeri

      No, we really aren’t. We aren’t entitled to anything when it comes to another person, especially a stranger or casual acquaintance. We are physically able to ask the question, though, that I will give you. It’s still rude if it’s a personal or prying question.

    • jack_sprat2

      I sha’nt then inquire as to precisely the reasons for your “stealth”, sir. Should there be great need, though, I hope that you know enough to use an anonymizer and intervening proxy servers.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Do I think this guy is being racist? Yes. Oh so much yes. Would I answer genuinely anyway? Also yes, because regardless of how racist the asker is being, they still might learn something for my legitimate answer. And the beauty of the internet is, even if the asker doesn’t learn anything, chances are another reader will.

      That being said, I can understand Koa’s annoyance at this guy and the way he went about asking the question.

    • DCB

      Easy does it Irish….HaHaHa

    • DCB

      Let’s all remember that it’s not so much how it was phrased but the content of said question period. Question is;use of names that are a little inventive and that might lead to somekind of future stigma. It remind’s me of the tattoo fad that is finally starting to slow down a little bit, [I think].

    • Sara Jackson

      Agreed. I didn’t think it was racist. It wasn’t really even impolite. Some people are just so damn sensitive! If a black person asked me why I’ve named my kids their names, I wouldn’t scream RACIST!

    • Kat

      That’s what I was thinking. Again, I think sometimes people act offended because they feel pressured to. This reddit author didn’t intend to be racist, and although it might be inappropriately worded in some cases, it’s just not all that.

      Drawing all these lines is what keeps racism so much alive.

    • JLH1986

      There is no such thing is “a little racist”. It’s either racist or its not. Thus his question was racist. As MANY commenters have pointed out as well the original poster themselves about weird names “Apple” etc. for white people. This poster specifically singled out people who identify as ‘black’ and that cultures “weird” names. So..yea it’s racist.

  • Nichole

    If it’s interesting names you are after y’all should just come down to Texas, my son started kindergarten this year so far I have met: Cashly and Canyon (girl and boy fraternal twins) Quill, and Brightlyn. Volunteering at the nursery for church I was introduced to: Jayton, Drayton and Payton (triplets) Kaydense, (not kidding about the spelling either) We also have Casee, and Shyla. Sometimes you just wonder what the parents were thinking, or going for. My mom graduated highschool with a Candy Barr.

    • Jessica

      As a teacher I had identical twins in my class one year, Maurice and Tyrese. They both had the same middle name: Teddybear! At least their first names wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows haha. (Plus they were as cute as could be, that never hurts…..)

  • Ginny

    All kinds of peoples give their kids some seriously screwy names. I mean, have you seen Toddlers and Tiaras?

  • Cals

    I wouldn’t call them out as “weird” but yes SOMETIMES they do choose names that you can tell the person is most likely black; because you are already familiar with that naming style from previous encounters with those of that culture. But it’s not just blacks – all cultures and subcultures have names or naming styles they are more likely to use. It’s not just a “black thing.” And weird is subjective… do I think some are personally weird…yup. And not just “black” names, there’s plenty of names I think are weird lol. But people can name their kids what they want.

  • Guest

    It’s no weirder than Frank Zappa naming his son, Dweezil, and his daughter, Moon Unit, but with the author it’s easier to just lay down the race card instead of looking at others who have chosen unique names for their offspring. She should just be glad neither of her parents was looking in the commode when they chose her name, else we could be reading an article authored by, ‘Oh Crap’ or ‘Wholly Shit.’

    Lastly, when I was on active duty in the USAF (now retired) I had a supervisor whose legal name was two consonants and his surname…, C.J. Shaver. So I ask the author is that weird? And yes, he was a white guy.

  • Maddi Holmes

    My old teacher called her son “rainbow dancer” so yep.

  • LET

    Whenever I see what I would consider an extreme name, regardless of race, I do admit I roll my eyes a bit. Just the culture of “I’m going to extremes to be different and make it obvious because that means I’m unique”, or whatever the attitude is, is strange to me (like “Apple” as a name- WTH?). I guess I do associate some of that with AA culture, but I also associate it with hipster culture & a few other groups, so I don’t know if it really struck me as a race issue.
    It’s interesting to hear people’s explanations of it being used by African Americans as a way to break away from Anglo Saxon culture…I’d be interested to hear if this is how the people naming their children these names attribute the decision (just out of curiosity, obviously no one owes me an explanation for the naming of their children).
    As my son just started group activities, I’ve seen a lot of OTT (IMO) names, and it’s not from a specific group. From a child whose name means milk protein (I think his parents must not know this- but it’s the only thing I can think of when I hear it!) to a kid whose nickname literally means “God” in a well known dead language, I wonder how they settled upon those names, but I forget it pretty quickly & honestly it’s not my business!

  • Haradanohime

    You know I’ve noticed as of late more celebrities going with off the wall names. It doesn’t matter the race of the celeb. This site has a nice compilation. http://nameberry.com/celebrity-baby-names/2013 The link is to the ones from this year but you can look at priors years as well.

  • upstater

    There is a lot dedicated to this subject in “Freakonomics” (by Steven Levitt). According to him (and the whole book is a very good read), much of it boils down to the parents’ education (some pick names randomly or don’t understand different pronunciations/interpretations. I.e. Shithead, pronounced “She-THEED). It also explains how upper class parents lead trends in names, but by the time the popular name trickles down to lower classes, it has been misspelt and frankly, butchered, for the sake of being “unique.” That’s how Aiden becomes Aydyn, Michaela becomes MyKayla, etc.