I’m over the stigma of black people’s names being ghetto….and I admit that I used to be guilty of that mindset. If I came across a Marquise or a Jamesha, I would think “Why would their parents do that?” – This mindset of course powered by the thought that names that clearly reveal that you’re black are taboo and unprofessional. Which of course is birthed from the thought that blacks are unprofessional. We take lightly and laugh at the notion that some people don’t get hired for jobs or called back for interviews because they “sound” like they reside in the housing projects…THIS IS NOT OKAY. I have indeed had a great change of heart. This change is a result of me maturing and embracing who I am, and black american culture as a whole.
At work I had three young women that I had to work with from time-to-time. They’re names were Shanique, Tranesha, and Jameque. Two out of the three resented their names. They felt that their names were ghetto and that they wouldn’t be taken seriously. They’re feelings were valid – unfortunately the majority of you reading this post, if you saw their name on something, would write them off as “ghetto” – and assumptions regarding their personality, work ethic, and professionalism would come into play. ABC News actually did a piece on “Black and White Sounding Names” and research found that by names alone, white sounding names on resumes/applications were downloaded 17% than black sounding names….tsk, tsk, tsk. I had to encourage these young queens to embrace who they were fully, and if they’re names revealed that they were black – AWESOME! It’s better than being named Kenneth Bradley (me) and showing up somewhere and someone serving you a look of disappointment because you’re not who they expected. Believe it or not, that happens more than you think, and when it happens it makes me want to exude blackness and be Bryant Gumbel at the same damn time.
This piece goes out to all of the Dameions, Trayvons, Shawandas, Darrells, Keyshawns, Jamelles, DeAndres, Keyonas, …wait there’s a site dedicated to this that also makes fun by adding extremely stereotypical sounding names as well ( click here ). I mean, it makes me wonder if the “Pipers, Hunters and Apples” are being unfairly treated – or accepted as just hippie-sounding white people names that are ok.