Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Whitewashing" your name (and your resume)

Last week, I was helping a friend of mine review some resumes. I came across one where the applicant's first name was Shardoneneah. This perplexed me until I realized that someone was trying to spell Chardonnay.

Now before people start going in about freedom of expression and cultural heritage, there's a vast difference between Akilah and Shaqueenlakiki. Stop it. There's a difference between ethnic and ghetto-fab. Akilah is Arabic in origin and means bright or intelligent. Shaqueenlakiki is just some nonsense slapped together.

I spent years in Human Resources.  I've had to whitewash [pardon the expression] many a resume in my day to get a hiring manager to look at it objectively. Let's face facts, prejudice happens. If your parent(s) gifted you with a name that may reveal your race, you should just understand what that means for you job search wise.

I've had hiring managers say they needed someone "who fit in with the team" - that's code for talks like us, thinks like us, and sometimes looks like us. Unless you are positive your resume will stand on it's own merits, your name should be Shar in that header. 

Unfortunately, people are going to make assumptions about a woman named Shardoneneah or Shaqueenlakiki. Deserved or not. Like I was telling someone one on Twitter, no - it's not fair that Moonbeam and Apple get a break but that's life. One person named Rashed told me that since 9/11, he's had crazy backlash from his name. He's not Muslim but even if he happened to be- that doesn't make him a terrorist. But that hasn't stopped people from acting wonky. He goes by Shed on his professional documents now.

One of our BnB regulars, Diamond Jackson, shared that she has lamented over her name for years. According to her, "Diamond Jackson" sounds like the name of someone who shakes her hindparts on a pole down at the House of Cheeks during Happy Hour. Professionally, she goes by Di or D. C. Jackson.

[In addition to your name, I've also advised folks against claiming their Greek affiliations, charitable causes or political leanings on a resume. You don't want to give a company any reason to rule you out on paper alone. Yes it's against all the rules to discriminate. Guess what? People do it anyway.]

Names are important. They are the often the only thing someone knows about you. Like it or not, they leave an impression. I remember my father telling me about twins one of his patients had. Phonetically, they were named -aur-ang-el-loh and lay-mong-el-loh. Yes, the mother had named them OrangeJello and LemonJello. I'm sorry, mama should've been slapped for that. Then there was the woman who named her child Metamucil because that's what was on TV while she was in labor. The woman who saw the bracelet on her baby's arm and thought she was already named Fah-maul-lay... the tag said "Female". :-/

What do you think of these super creative names? We joke about Peaches versus Priscilla and Preston versus Pookie but don't you believe that some preconceptions come with certain names? Have you taken things off your resume to appear as bland as possible? Thoughts, comments, insights? The floor is yours...

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
Melzie said...

I'll be the first to admit that I've given the side eye to a few names back when I worked in HR. I think it's inherent to expect we are first "judged" by our name when it comes to the hiring process, but does it make it right to weed out candidates based on this....no. To parents I'll just say that imagine you're in a position to hire someone and you run across a resume from "Cafeteria Jones"...would you take it seriously initially?

Eric Peterson, MSOD said...

Research has clearly shown that resumes and CVs with identical content receive very different responses depending on the relative ethnicities of the names at the top. Even when an organization claims to be actively seeking a more diverse workforce, "John" will get an interview while "Tariq" gets placed in the "maybe" pile and is never heard from again.

Because this happens with such frequency, I'm beginning to wonder if organizations shouldn't do their own bias-policing and scrub the names from the resumes they initially encounter, depending solely on experience and education to make these decisions. Admittedly, it will still be tough for Shaqueenlakiki to get a fair hearing at her interview (and "Shar" might still be a good idea), but the Tariqs and Akilahs out there shouldn't be held responsible for society's bigotry (and the biases of a few should not be able to rob their organizations of the most talented candidates, either).

Penny said...

Potential employees have no idea what prospective employers think and say about them. (I do HR work, so I know.) While some people may not be conscious of the implications of their actions, others are. My first and middle names are very WASP sounding-and no my parents were not thinking of me trying to get a job 25 years later-I was named after my grandmothers. However, I went to an HBCU for undergrad, so from my resume, you can probably figure out my race. That being said, that, my educational credentials and my job history are all you can tell about me from reading pieces of paper. (I work in higher ed, so I have a CV and a resume-always at the ready.)

Since a resume is often times the only snapshot that HR (often the first line in getting your application reviewed) or people with hiring authority get to view, it is the job of the person that wants the job to make that snapshot as attractive as possible to the potential employer. If you want to work in a creative field, then if your name is Shaniqua (or Shaneequa, Shaneequah, Sha'Neequa, etc) you may have a better chance of getting hired than if you want to work at an investment bank, in an area other than the mail room. And even then...Sharon may do better than Char'Donney. Is it fair? No. Does it happen? Yes, more than we would like to think. As Eric said below, research has shown this. I remember reading a study where experiments were done, reviewers were asked to submit two resumes, one from someone that had a name like "Tariq" or "DeQuan" and one from someone who name was "Robert" or "John." The difference was that Robert/John had criminal convictions; Tariq/DeQuan did not. Guess who got the interview/job offers? Not Tariq/DeQuan.

taut_7 said...

i've learned from personal experience that people judge you off your name before they get a chance to know or meet you. i have a traditional african name. first, middle and last. most people assume my english is bad and i recently came to this country. both are the furthest from the truth you can get. i was born in dc so of course my english is excellent. better than most actually. while i know i may get discriminated i will do nothing like shortening or changing my name. i take great pride in the fact that both my parents are nigerian.

Foxy Brown said...

my given name is eronica (e-ron-knee-ca) which i think is fairly simple to pronounce. well, apparently, it's not. i have been called all manner of things; rhonda, erica, er-ro-knee-ca. for the most part, i have been adamant about people pronouncing my name correctly and refused to use a nickname or moniker. i must admit i have taken things off the resume to appear more bland. it's kinda hard given that i went to an hbcu. most would assume i'm black. however, as i have gotten older, i don't mind so much being called roni but only if i give permission. don't just up and shorten my name.

Lady4Real said...

1st let me say, YAY FOR FRESH BOUGIE!!! Ok on to the topic at hand, my husband and I just recently watched a documentary on parenting and the influences that parents have on their children starting with the names they give their children and the environment where they chose to raise their children. My husband and I are both partially bougie, we have lived in the ghetto and the 'burbs so we are a nice little blend. Thank goodness that our parents had the class and good sense to name us normal names, (mine is a little different but it doesn't scream 'hood') He is Darnell and I am Velinda, people love our names. We choose to name our son Antwan, it does whisper black but his middle name is universal so if Antwan proves to be a road block he can go by Christopher. I don't think its right to judge a book by its title but a title can tell you a lot about a book. 'Roots' can catch anyone's eyes, 'Stolen Human's' could too, but 'The White Man Done Came & Tore Familys Apart but We Made It Anyway' may make some people uncomfortable to pick up let alone read. As a manager a resume with Susan will catch me eye but Tyequondanisha may not be at the top of my list. Title means a lot, it can make or break what I chose to pick up and read.

Stacy said...

Thank you mom for naming me STACY!!!
hahahaha

Stacy said...

My mom has a simple to pronounce name Diantha (Di- An-Tha) but b/c it's not common people tear her name up all the time. I just think b/c they don't see the V in the front of your name they just automatically get confused and instead of trying to sound it out try to associate it with things that are common. People call my mom Dian all the time even though there are three other letters at the end of her name.

blackprofessor said...

Good topic! There was an excellent study published years ago that I always have my students read where some business school professors used four names on resumes and sent them to Fortune 500 companies. The resumes were IDENTICAL except the names: Emily/Lakisha or Greg/Jamal. The "black" sounding names were 50% LESS LIKELY to get called back, if at all. Discrimination is real and rampant in the business industry so parents need to recognize the implications when they want to be creative with their children's names.

I have the reverse problem - my first name is so White that people expect a White woman and then I show up, LOL!! My research area sometimes gives it away but I have had many people say "I thought you were.." or "Oh you are (insert first name)????" I think there is a fine line between self expression and preparing your kids for the world as it is, not as you may want it to be.

Angel Blanca said...

My name is straight vanilla, so it's only the most thorough review of my CV, which produces any sense of who I am beyond my work at Christian organizations. I do, however, make assumptions, good and bad, about my students' names. In my current work as online faculty, I never know whether those assumptions are valid with respect to race/ethnicity, but I do tend to look askance at the work turned in for credit.

My name and my daughter's name reveal very little, and I'm glad because it gives us an opportunity to present ourselves before we're judged.

Reads4Pleasure said...

My name is pretty blah and could be attributed to any race. I don't think my parents did it on purpose, they just liked the name. When I named my daughter, I purposely gave her a name that could belong to any race and either gender so that she'd have a better chance of getting her foot in the door later in life. Yes, I really do plan things that far ahead.

Ashcry25 said...

A friend of mine is an OB/GYN. She had a patient name her daughter....VaGina. That kid will always have a hard time with that one.

Miss-Devin Kemp said...

O_O

CaliSlim said...

Fresh bouge...yay!

My parents made a conscious effort to give me a gender and racially neutral name. I'm so grateful for that. The fact is, people should be judged on their merits, the truth is they aren't. I don't fault anyone who takes steps to ensure that they are looked at and treated fairly in the workforce. We've got bills to pay dude.

One of my friends works in Labor and Delivery in the inner city. She says women will hear the names of drugs they are given and say "oooh, Pitocin...I'ma name my baby that!" :?

I think some parents need to be brought up on child abuse charges with these names that goes for the "Pilot Inspector" parents of the world too!

Miss-Devin Kemp said...

I have that same problem! Everyone assumes that I'm a white male and looks six kinds of confused when I stand up....

Foxy Brown said...

true. that damn missing V almost got me put in the slow classes. in kindergarten, my teacher's assistant (who was black) kept calling me veronica and writing veronica on my papers. when i would not respond or pick up papers that were "mine", she said i had to be developmentally challenged because not only did i not know my name, i could not recognize it when written. my grandma had to come to the school...

Jade Star said...

My name is epically white. I love it when I go somewhere and I get the, 'Oh, so you're...!' they're always shocked, amused by my name. Then of course I get interrogated about my name. My mother named me after a character on a soap opera on Ryan's Hope!

I used to ask my mother about my name and if this was her way in making sure I got at least a sure shot, but she picked it because it sounded cute at the time and the anesthesia she was under made her blurt that name out and the nurse wrote it down phonetically. >_<

Think P. Smart said...

What happens when the person's past name is a sign of them being from another country? What happens when you can't change your last name from Hernandez/Muhammad/Bekele etc?

J. Jackson said...

I think if a name has purpose, as your example of Akilah is OK. But when people just start adding words to make a name, then that's not a good look. I used to work for Social Security when I was in CA, and I remember a woman came in to get her child a social security card (and see why she didn't receive her SSI check) and I kid you not, the child's name was: Ai'laksi. I had to ask her to pronounce her child's name. I just shook my head because it was obvious she didn't know or care how people would perceive her child. I can say that I never ran across that problem because my name is so common.

I agree that OrangeJello and LemonJello's momma should be beat down. I don't think these parents think of the backlash that their kids will have to put up with meaning the teasing, and not finding jobs.

I know people who have ethnic names, and they ALWAYS shorten it, or go by a nickname.

aishao1122 said...

I had a patient who named her daughter, and kept saying
"Uretha like Uretha Franklin,"
Im saying "Aretha, Franklin??"
" No heffa I know what i am saying her name is Uretha like the singer"
ok so now your child is named after the tube that connects your bladder to the gential excellent. "Urethra"

then there was my sisters classmate name "show vell" as in Shovel serious as a heart attack

or my sister speaks fluent Japanese and during move in weekend at her colllege, the R.A of her floor introduced himself to us, and she kept snickering, When the 'floor' meeting took place and we were all introduced to the RA's she kept snickering and kept making faces when his name was called so i pulled her to the side and asked her what was up, his parents had named him "coward" in Japanese. Just the slightest change on the accent and his name would have been i think she said "honor" but the extra accent changed it. Which is why you need to know what the hell you are naming your kids before you name them that, just cause it sounds cool doesn't mean it is

Great Post Dead at OrangeJello

aishao1122 said...

OB is the best place to hear the effed names people give their kids,these kids don't make it out either some of these names are guaranteeing butt whopping later on on the playground

keishabrown said...

all you have in this world is your name. i wish some parents considered this when passing on a legacy to their children. unless you are a celebrity, 'creative' names should be thought about long and hard.

someone told me (and might have mentioned it) that france or italy actually vetoes names they consider too extralicious. it's a little big brothers, but levels the playing field... im on the fence about that one..

Lady4Real said...

I nhad customer once with the last name Warm, he had a son and told me that he wanted to name him Luke so that his name would be Luke Warm. His wife was having no parts of that, I was glad. Poor man walking around with a name like Luke Warm is just Cold.

Lady4Real said...

O_O wow

rozb said...

My first name (Rosalyn) is pretty much one of those Wonderbread names - nice and not too revealing ethnically. My last name is an Irish surname, and it has caused some comedy in my adult life. I am all for freedom of expression and all that, but when you set out to throw a name together because you like pronouncing those syllables (Day-quan-tray - no joke!) and "grace" a child with it, then you need to be flogged in the forehead for it. Look - no amount of education and experience can wash away all bigotry, especially when it comes to getting hired, fired, and let in. But you have got to give a child a chance in the world. Pride in your heritage is one thing, but naming your baby an unpronounceable and virtually unspellable name is really setting him or her up for having to try twice as hard to only get half as far as their peers.

Welcome back Chele!

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I know perceptions come with names, simply because I've had interviews do an almost imperceptible double-take when I walk in. Yup, they are surprised by this brown face attached to the not-brown name. It has definitely helped get my resume on a few hiring managers' desks.

I cannot stand when people give their children ghetto fab names. I know, I know, you want to express yourself. But surely there are a million names in the baby book that speak to you that don't resemble Mowanaheesha Zolandrianika Brown.

keishabrown said...

LOL!
And forget if you 'talk/sound' White on the phone...
The looks are priceless....

JohnKinPDX said...

I thank my parents for the wonderful blandness of John Richard Kendall regularly. As my mother said, "You're the personality, not your name." Thank you.

Penny said...

A friend who is an OB nurse had a patient who named her baby (pronounce it with me) Sha Tade. Only problem, she spelled it "Shi* Head." Can you imagine?

As for the Japanese name, I always wonder about the people that get Asian symbol tattoos. If you don't speak the language, you could be walking around with "Idiot" stamped on your arm, and you have no clue. Who knows if what the tattoo artist told you was correct?

MelaninEnriched said...

Well, my mom named me something both unique and unassuming. I get compliments on my name constantly and no one knows who's going to stand up or appear. My brother has a very basic name that doesn't reveal anyting either. My mother said she purposely did that to make sure we had a fair shot in life and I thank her for her prescience.

Just as a sidenote, this guy I'm semi-dating is not from the US and he changed his first name to make it prononunce-able (for us) and also to have a better shot at jobs. Nothing he can do about the last name though.

How about this name M'KNZ? One of my ex-coworkers ran into someone with that name. SMH

Carlos said...

My parents hooked a brother up. First name Spanish, last name English, skin color Dark! lol You should see some of the faces when they see a dark skinned negro walk through the door..lol

OneChele said...

It is what it is - there's only so much "ethnic cleansing" you can apply to a resume. But I will say, it only takes one time for Crystal Hernandez to walk in the door and be a red haired white girl for me to get folks to look past the name. ;-)

Trey Charles said...

A friend of mine had a son recently, I was at the hospital pleading with them. They wanted to name the boy D'Artagnan. Now we here in BougieLand know that's a knight from the Three Musketeers but others don't. Give the baby a chance! Give the baby a name he can spell before the age of 12. D'Artagnan Marshon Hicks will have to hustle 3x harder than Dean Michael Hicks - which the name they settled on. Talking about I stripped all the flavor from the name. No sir. Your child doesn't need a crazy ass name to be flavorful, just some personality and good sense.

Jubilance said...

I have a "different" first name, though its not crazy & I actually get a lot of compliments on it. AFAIK, it hasn't hurt me in any way. I will say that I work in a very white male-dominated field, and with the need for companies to embrace diversity in their hiring, I have no idea if my name being "different" has helped me get an interview. I will say that I'm very good at what I do & I'll take whatever means I can get to get an interview & show off just how great I am.

In general tho, I hate those tragic names, and the way ppl try to take common names & spell them in a weird way to be "different".

Mykeia said...

Glad you're back and great post.
This one is a sore spot for me and it really hits home.
Mykeia in my opinion is not hard to pronounce or sound out, some people feel differently about this. (It's three syllables, really three.) When looking for employment I send out two resumes to the same place--I use Mykeia and Nicole my first name on one and my middle name on the other. Now, I do this because I like to see which one will get a call back. I have had some people tell me: "I wasn't going to call you because I did not know how to say your name." <= TRUE STORY.
Sadly, Nicole is a very generic name and is easy to say so she typically gets called back, even though she and Mykeia have the same skills, degree and volunteer experience, etc. I am always surprised when the hiring person figures out that Mykeia and Nicole are the same person!
We are judged by so much in this world and your name is going to also be judged...
I just say to people make sure to spell it right...Pet peeve of mine.
Shardoneneah...OneChele, um you're good because I was pronouncing this Shar-done-e-ah...
Naming kids after liquor is doing the most in my opinion...who really wants to be called Merlot?
Sorry so long...

Alvin Milton said...

Its funny I just had an argument with an ex S.O. about kid names. I named my only son Amiri which means prince in various African/Arabic regions and I don't think its weird at all. But for some reason I want to go a whole other direction if I ever have more kids. Something plain like "Carter" might do nicely.

OneChele said...

I literally had to train myself to look beyond certain things on a resume to give people a shot. The problem comes when you have 40 positions to fill and over 1000 applicants for each position, you're looking for reasons to exclude people. My first move is to exclude all resumes with typos but I know for a fact that some people start moving the Shakiki's to the cut pile first.

OneChele said...

Very true. I used to teach an Overcoming Cultural Bias class for recruiters and hiring managers. Sometimes I got through and changed some minds. Other times... let's just say we have a long way to go.

OneChele said...

Great comment.

OneChele said...

Thanks for the great viewpoint!

OneChele said...

Girl, people have messed up Michele. Beyond the one "L" of it all. I've been Michael, Mashell, Meshel, Machelley - people just trifling. Do I really have to say - Two syllables, rhymes with seashell, spelled with one "L" - yes, yes I do.

OneChele said...

I feel ya.

OneChele said...

The double take when you walk in. Then they glance back down to the resume and back up at you. "So you're...."?
Yes I am. Yes, I know - I speak so well.

OneChele said...

Get it!

OneChele said...

On her 18th birthday she needs to head straight to the courthouse and make Gina happen. For real though.

suebhoney said...

Being that my given name is Susan Ford you can imagine the surprises I garnered on interviews when I showed up ( I was definitely not what they were expecting- a sista named Susan-lol) and unbeknownst to my mother who named me after my grandmother, I do believe that my name has gotten me a lot of jobs and interviews that it would never had gotten me if my mother has decided on the other named she liked -"Sunshine"-lol. And I purposely gave my boys names that would sound good as a CEO of a fortune 500 company or the president of the US when they were born because I realized that it could possibly hinder their progress in the world once they became men.

OneChele said...

A friend of mine was dating a guy who had a large Chinese tat down one arm. He said it translated to "He soars with eagles" but later found out it said, "He sucks dogs' balls" - um... might have wanted to check that out, homeboy. Not a good luck.

suebhoney said...

And now we have a President named Barak Obama, so I have to wonder, did I give them simple names for nothing. :0)

diamond life said...

Thanks for shouting me out!
Another thing - do people with face and neck tattoos just automatically know they are not going to be working any higher than the mailroom in most companies?

mojitochica said...

What do you mean about his last name? He could have changed that at the same time he changed his first name...

OneChele said...

I don't want to squelch creativity. I just want folks to draw a line somewhere. Once you've gone past a certain number of syllables, added an apostrophe and a -ia on the end - it's gone too far.

Mykeia said...

"Mowanaheesha Zolandrianika Brown"...dead, I will not be getting any work done today.

OneChele said...

Ha! True. Well, it's like I said - once your resume can stand on it's own merit, you can be free. Barack spent many years as Barry but once that foundation was rock solid, he was Barack again.

Mykeia said...

"Your child doesn't need a crazy ass name to be flavorful, just some personality and good sense." <= CO-SIGN! CON-SIGN!

OneChele said...

I like the African royalty names. In fact I like names with some meaning. For the longest time, I was determined to name any son I had Malachi. Good Biblical man's man name. :)

OneChele said...

Okay, I need more caffeine. For half a second, I thought you were saying your name is AFAIK instead of the acronym for "as far as I know" - LAWD!

OneChele said...

Ni-ice!

OneChele said...

Truth

Lady4Real said...

My dad wanted to name me after him, 'Theodora' I thank goodness that he did not. I may have been able to get an interview but I think my dating life may have suffered with a name like Theodora

mojitochica said...

I feel ya. I was named after a Charlie's Angels actress lol.

Lady4Real said...

Moet, Alize, or Barcardi. I also don't understand naming children after cars, Mercedes or Porsche. O_0

Grace said...

Grace Angel White. Talk about a name to live up to. Clearly my folks weren't planning on me doing any sinning. :-[

Guest said...

My parents were California hippies and named me Moonray Venus. My brother was Sunray Mars. We were white kids (you guessed that already, huh) living in a black neighborhood. I'm pretty sure my first words were "Just call me Ray"

Lady4Real said...

You know what BougieUncle wanted to name me? He just wanted to add an 'a' to his name and that would make everything ok, Theodora, yuck!

OneChele said...

There was a girl the other day at Whole Foods whose name was Sunkist. I blame the mama.

OneChele said...

I don't understand face tats at all. I remember back in the day, I was interviews cable installers, we had a rule that all tats had to be hidden before you went into a customer's home. Yes this meant some guys had to rock a long sleeve turtle on a 90 degree day. Oh well. We couldn't send a guy with "Born to Bone" on his neck into Grandma's house.

Mykeia said...

I have a cousin and Alzhay (?) I don't know how to spell it, really I don't...it is pronounced Al-Zjah...um very close to Alize her mom's favorite drink at the time...

Bethany Showell said...

I like how my parents named myself and my sisters - biblical first name (nothing crazy like Gethsemane or anything...) and ethnic middle name and of course the last name is courtesy of massa'...

OneChele said...

If I recall, your late uncle, AKA BougieDad told him that was a horrible idea. Same reason I'm not Francis or Wilhelmina. Save it for your son or let it skip a generation.

suebhoney said...

My son had a little boy on his basketball team and his name is "LionKIng" I bull-ish you NOT his Momma named him that. he is only a teenager now, but imagine his resume later. smh

OneChele said...

Thank you Roz.

cocoaeyecandy said...

My first name is Cocoa so my parents might as well have screamed, "She brown ya'll!" for me. I put C. C. on the resume, life is too short.

Bunni said...

I actually know more than one D'Artagnan. I think it's an okay name, and most know where it comes from. Now when it's spelled Dartanion? ...O_O

SassyJJ said...

Right before the holidays, one of my meetup groups volunteered for the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. It was a pretty overwhelming site to see a warehouse full of tables with huge boxes filled with toys, clothes, boxes, and whatnots. Each box, about 300, represented around 1K children/families in Baltimore. As my group broke up into teams and began filling the boxes, I would read the names of the children on the boxes. Let me tell you. I bought mourned for some of the children. I mourned and then I got angry. The parents have NO IDEA how naming their children will affect their lives. I can get past putting a 'y' instead of an 'i' in a common name...I get that. But in the vain of being creative and outnaming your homegirl to come up with something outlandish...hells no. I literally cried.

But, my name is pretty safe and my resume probably reflects that...til I walk in the room. Then I kill'em with my knowledge! :) And, I agree about putting social and fraternal affiliations on resumes. I only list professional orgs.

Penny said...

No, they don't. I was at a professional meeting recently. A hiring manager said straight out that she was not hiring anyone with tattoos and visible multiple piercings. I manage HR for a large academic library, so I am always stressing that in order to build the best organization, we must get the best people-and they don't always look like you. (I don't-the library profession is overwhelmingly white and female.) (I don't care if you have a tattoo, or have stuff other than your ears pierced. TMI) My argument was that by ignoring someone's credentials and knowledge, you could be missing out on a wonderful employee. She did not care-she said her clients would be uncomfortable around such individuals and/or not take them seriously, and she would not hire them. She was the hiring manager of a large corporate library, where they pay major $$, so no matter what your credentials were, no matter your level of experience, she would not hire anyone who did not fit her idea of what an employee should look like. (As she stood there is a black suit, conservative pumps, pantyhose and a bow tie blouse.)

Jesse said...

I have a Vietnamese friend and he said all of his family have legally added "Americanized" names. Sung-Le Wen is Steve S. Wen and so on. It's not easy for anybody out there I guess.

Anon said...

This is the most classist elitist bullshit I've ever read. Who are you to tell Shardoneneah her name is holding her back? Jesus what a bunch of snobs.

OneChele said...

Le Sigh - it's always the "Anon" ones. If you really read this, what I said is that others will judge based on name alone. I am someone who speaks with over 15 years of Human Resources experience. I didn't make the rules, I'm just stating facts.

Thanks for visiting Black 'n Bougie

David Chase said...

Someone just had to try you on your first day back, huh? When will they learn?

Mykeia said...

Ummm...who missed the point here? Anon, don't come here often do you?

David Chase said...

Apparently I was >this close< to being Montreux - my parents met there. My grandfather intervened. For the record, it's not necessary to name your child after where they were conceived. Brooklyn, Arizona, Paris - not necessary.

Brneyed1 said...

Yes, I give great phone interviews! Showed up for the in-person interview and when l'il brown me walked in I got the *blinkety blink blink* looks.

Smashed that interview as well, but I declined the offer.

Trudy said...

Let me release my disclaimer first. I find most HR people to be disgusting, barely qualified trolls that have more bias, elitism, arrogance, and cliquish pathetic mentalities that disgust me beyond repair. I have multiple hundred to thousand word posts on this and their methods that are rather aggressive but it is how I feel and a decade of dealing with them. I can barely keep my lunch down when thinking about most (not all) people who work in HR. This is a heavy bias I realize. I don't mean this against you specifically Chele, not at all. You're very nice.

So let me proceed with my comment now.

I think it is purposeless to "whitewash" a resume. It might have mattered 5-7 years ago, but since many companies are interested in personality-based hiring, not skill-based hiring, it is pointless. Companies use social media and personal preferences to make many hiring decisions, not resumes. While names and zip codes used to give people away as far as race goes, a simple Google profile or social media search reveals what they want to know anyway, even if it leads to discriminatory labor law violating hiring practices.

I do not believe in changing names. At the same time, my name is one that doesn't reveal any specific race so I have not had employment discrimination based on that, so if someone changes their name then I don't fault them. All of the discrimination I've faced in the past lies on the other end of the spectrum (not being "too ghetto" but the dreaded and spit-worthy "articulate" or "overqualified." Both sets of labels are used to keep minorities out of positions). At the end of the day, it comes down to jobs and careers. If someone simply needs a quick check during the recession, then playing the racial hiding game may work and I say go for it. Bills do not pay themselves so I hear ya. But if building a career as a part of a life, why work anywhere where who you are has to be disguised and you have to engage in this employment theatre with HR as puppet masters anyway? Life has to be better than this. You think a company that you have to play games with will be one where you can build a career that won't lead to a heart attack, stress beyond measure, a discrimination suit etc? It won't be. How the hiring process is reveals MUCH about a company culture. HR is the cornerstone of such a culture since much of HR and middle management is ignored by upper management as long as a company is in the black and not the red. A positive culture that accepts who people are and want their best assets to contribute to a company that 1)makes something remarkable 2)changes lives for the better. Forgive me if there is too much Seth Godin in my thinking process but I have little tolerance for the employment theatre that so many companies engage in. Then they seem surprised when chapter 11 sneaks up on them. I don't get it.

One point you made that is valid is discrimination WILL occur. There is nothing people can do to change the hearts of others. What people can do is think of the job/career juxtaposition I mentioned above because anywhere you have to play demographic games with is not going to be a career. Too many labor lawsuits, resignations, heart attacks, and deaths are on the side of what I am saying. In a country where 85% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs, a bigger picture has to be looked at.

Great post.

Pretty Primadonna said...

My bestie, a high school teacher, had a student named LaFellatio. I'm serious. WHY?!

Jubilance said...

LMAO...that would be the worst name ever! Sorry for the confusion.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

This. I'm trying to get the current beau to understand that if we get married and procreate, that our children's given names have to be vanilla, especially since their last names will be Latino. He is slowly coming around, but for a while I thought I would have to drop him because he was not on the same page of bouge.

CaliSlim said...

Displaying my "bougie and proud" baby tee. *shrugs*

You think Shardoneneah's a hot name huh? Make sure you tip her. j/k

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I went to school with a young lady named Turquoise Blue Green. I kid you not.

thinklikeRiley said...

Certain ish has to happen if ya wanna work in certain places at a certain level. Pull ya pants up. Put on a button down. It ain't like they trying to get Kunta to say Toby. Kunta/Toby wasn't gettin a check no matter what dey called his black ass. Do whatcha gotta do to get yo paper. Then ya can change yo ish to Kunta Swagnificent Blackman and tell em to kiss ya African hind parts.

Pretty Primadonna said...

M'Knz = MacKenzie? Lawd.

CaliSlim said...

My nephew was almost Jahid, nothing wrong with that I guess, but got the strong *side eye* from my family. The seed of doubt was planted. Then one of the nurses in delivery exclaimed "isn't Jahid a holy war" (she was thinking Jihad) and from there my nephew got a nice biblical name. LOL

MariSol said...

OMG!! That tattoo artist was probably laughing his ass off.

Brneyed1 said...

Me and mom would be having a chat....

GrownAzzMan said...

I have a very normal sounding name and I am to a normal sounding speech pattern. This has led to a phenomenon I call, "They knew I was coming but didn't expect me." I have enough stories that this could be it's own blog post..LOL. It was my own experience and having a sister who is an HR exec that lead me to give my daughter that is not only ethnicity neutral but gender neutral as well.

citybythebay said...

I kid you not two brothers whose names are......Lemonjello and Orangejello. The mother pronounces the names with her fake ghetto french accent. That's how they do it here in the "dirty" south!

GrownAzzMan said...

Story of my life. Plan a business meeting out of state over the phone and email and then the person meeting you at the airport practically wants to ask for ID...

Lisette said...

Trudy, I think some of what you said is naive but I see where your passion is coming from. I have a cousing Bayouetta. Yes - Bayouetta. She's beautiful, articulate, educated and got zero interviews upon graduation until she shortened her name to Bay on her resume. Unfortunately, many of us don't have the luxury of choosing where we work or working only at the politically correct socially responsible companies. We have to get in by any means necessary.

GrownAzzMan said...

Good to have you back Chele. No I can return to reading with my office door closed and try to laugh with mouth closed...LOL I swea fo God some of these commenters are making up names...

GrownAzzMan said...

Riley summed the whole thing up in a nutshell...

Brneyed1 said...

My cousin's middle name is pronounced Tah-kwil-ah, spelled Tequila.

CaliGirlED said...

I'm mad at that!

Qalil said...

ROTFLMAOooooooo!

*wipes eyes*

My friends and I experimented with our names. I applied to a tech job by shortening my very african sounding name to WAND. Boy-oh-boy did I get call backs. My african sounding name didn't get such rave reviews. Just goes to show you the kind of madness surrounding names and stuff.

There are some hilarious videos online about our ghetto fab names. This is my favorite one - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCdmiZyyGjQ

Qalil said...

LOL! This IS a joke, right?

I think the snobs you're talking about are sitting in managerial positions in corporate America. I'm jus' sayin'

Qalil said...

I know! In college I had tons of friends who changed their names, asking to be called Helen or whatever because they didn't want to be held back by people not being able to say their names properly. There are groups of Asians (middle eastern and far eastern) who hold firmly to the belief that if you immigrate to North America you MUST get an English name so you and your children can survive.

It's tragic really.

Jamie Wesley said...

My old boss called me a name hater once. I said, "Yep, I sure am." I can't deal with Lataquesha or Apple or the unique spellings of names.

Back in the 70s, there was a football player named Daryle Lamonica. My mother convinced my aunt that LaMonica would make an excellent name for her soon to be born daughter. So LaMonica LaShon it was. My cousin says the white folks always know she's coming.

Thank God, my mother had acquired some sense by the time I was born. I love the name Jamie, but sometimes I think it's too neutral, especially when I want to work in an industry that claims to want to be diverse. I've heard more than once that people were unsure if I was male or female. My resume has no clues about my race or gender. (Slight tangent: obviously, I'm biased, but I think Jamie is a girl's name and should be used only for girls. Boys should be named James).

Also, a few years ago, on Christmas, I was talking to my cousin (LaMonica's daughter), who was in high school at the time. I asked her if she and her friends had exchanged gifts. She said yes, she'd gotten her friend Tyranny something blah blah blah. I don't know what she said because I heard nothing else after she said, "Tyranny." I waited for her to finish and asked if her friend was really named Tyranny (or however she spells it). She said yes. I said she does know what that means, right? Yes. Guess I wasn't the first person to point it out. Poor girl.

Brneyed1 said...

Hello Anon, Snobella here.

You damn skippy Shardoneneah is gonna get a side-eye on a resume. Believe what you want and you definitely don't have to like it, but truth is TRUTH.

I worked in HR for four years. I watched interviewers place applications/resumes at the bottom of the "maybe" pile because they couldn't decipher the applucant's name.

Discrimination is real.

CaliGirlED said...

That's the thing about "the truth", it may not always be fair, but it is what it is!

NevCali said...

I had to delurk for this one - My parents "gifted" me Nevada. Nevada Cali. Apparently some freaky-deaky was going down on the state line 26 years ago...

CaliGirlED said...

Welcome back Chele!!! You were missed!

"...the applicant's first name was Shardoneneah. This perplexed me until I realized that someone was trying to spell Chardonnay." Thank you for the clarification! I can't tell you how many times I tried to pronounce this damned name! I think the "done" threw me for a loop because I made it two syllables. (Are you sure that's not shar-do-neh-ney-ah?) LMAO!!!

Am I the only one who thinks the program, "Hooked on Phonics" was a mistake?!! It came out about the same time all these crazy-phonetically spelled names started poppin up. IJS

Lady4Real said...

My nail tech goes by Tonya but her license is far from Tonya. She's teaching me how to pronounce her name.

Lady4Real said...

I am Baltimore born and raised. There are some names after the 90's that I just don't get. Thank God my parents and the parents of my generation (the 80's) had some good sense.

Lady4Real said...

My sister-in-law's name is Candie. (it was the name of her father's mistress) She is self-employed, Candie is a hard name to live with.

CaliSlim said...

Mama nooooo!!!! LOL

William Martin said...

A woman entered this residency program with me, from day one she said to call her Bonnie and we did. But when it comes to filling out paperwork and getting matched, they make you use your legal name. So when the list came out and she was on there as Bonquishia - you'd think she grown Poetic Justice braids, slipped into Daisy Dukes and started sucking on a green apple lollipop in an instant . Some people's perception of her changed when she went from Bonnie to Bonquishia. It ain't right but it's real.

Lady4Real said...

Those two, oh boy. Thank God late BougieUncle, my grandma and whoever else was in the delivery room that day, dating may have been a bit hard with a name like Theodora

OneChele said...

No ma'am.

Trudy said...

It's truly sad that expecting better of a place where you spend more time than anywhere else while on this Earth is "naive." Truly sad.

Trudy said...

Oh yes! The "damn, I cannot believe she is Black, her resume tricked me" phenomenon. Love the microexpressions and even blatant ones they have when this happens.

Bunni said...

*dead* @ "Kunta Swagnificent Blackman". As is my keyboard since I spit water all over it after reading that.

Mony_Mony said...

My cousin, who only has girls, also loves that name. Her daughter is Malakai. I also have (female) cousins named Jordyn and Esaiah. Obviously not enough males in my family...

Mony_Mony said...

I would have to change that, especially considering the source!

Brneyed1 said...

I went to school with a Bonquesha. Never in my life thought I'd hear that name on more than one person!

Brneyed1 said...

I love this post!!

Mony_Mony said...

I went to a college with a LeKimberly, This was my first introduction to the La/Le in front of a "regular" name phenomenon. It was also my first time attending school in the US. Not sure if they're related...

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

People need to put more thought and consideration into naming their child. Full stop. It's not about YOU; it's about that child, and that child is going to become an adult one day in need of work. Don't let the whacky celebrities giving their children WTF?! names fool you - there's a 99.9% certainty that their children won't be applying for work in corporate or government bodies. They have Mama and Daddy's name and fame to ride on, no matter how much of a hot mess their names may be. The grand majority of us aren't that fortunate.

CaliSlim said...

Feel you on the Jamie paragraph, as that's my given name too. I think it's a blessing, but I do remember wanting to be considered for a program that recruited minority women. Being both I surely applied. I also got a rejection letter addressed to Mr. Jamie... Yuck.

Mony_Mony said...

My first name (Monique) is neutral and pretty uncommon in my (predominantly black) home country, but obviously it's a different story here. I always considered my name to be French until I came to the US for college and there were at least 3 other (black) Monique's in my class alone. I definitely think some names can be a hindrance when it comes to finding jobs, but don't think mine is egregious enough to make a difference, especially paired with my British last name. If I have kids they're definitely going to have ethnically neutral names. If you want to be creative that's what the middle name is for. Though that can also go too far, as my cousin with 3 middle names can attest.

MelaninEnriched said...

Well, I think he wants to retain some of his "heritage by name", so he left his last name. It's rather common for his nationality.

Brneyed1 said...

I tell folks to use the "written test" for names: Write down the name you want to give your child. Hand that paper to three different, unrelated people. If they all see it and say it the way you meant it, you're probably okay. But if they slaughter it and you get mad because of that, please reconsider, and imagine what your child will have to endure.

rozb said...

Well Anon - I can only speak for myself when I tell you the name Shardoneneah will get your resume thrown in the "round file pile" from the jump. Not fair, not nice, but real. Now, let Shar come in and make a great impact and do the damn thing on the job, well - she can call herself anything she wants. And the reality is, Anon, first impressions are darn near everything until you build your reputation and show what you got. The name, like a pedigree, can make or break you.

rozb said...

It's not Black 'n Bougie because we sip red-flavored kool-aid! We speak from experience and how we got here!

GrownAzzMan said...

Unfortunately, nothing knew there. Jewish and Italian immigrants found this out decades ago.

Bella said...

This saddens me because I'm Nigerian with a typical Yoruba first, middle and last name. It sucks that in order for my credentials to be even given a second thought I basically have to deny my culture and all that comes along with it because it's too difficult for you to say.

FreeBlackMan said...

America sometimes really sucks.

Jazzy Jazz said...

Its a difference in your name which has a meaning and a name in which letters were just thrown together

Jazzy Jazz said...

GIRL some of the folks in my generation( late 80s/ early 90s ) I just dont get. Starisha , Courmarion ( cant make this up - Courtney + Omarion put together). Im glad mommy had some kind of sense with my name

Jazzy Jazz said...

Lets stop naming kids after brands too. I have a cousin named Armani. yeah... no.

FreeBlackMan said...

Uh - you kinda prove the point by choosing to call yourself "Anon" - what's in a name?

FreeBlackMan said...

How's that working out? That no sinning thing?

FreeBlackMan said...

I want to laugh at "Born to Bone" but I just saw a guy with "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" tatted on his forearm. #Classy

Jazzy Jazz said...

I dont mind creative. My real name - Jasslyn - is "unique". But please dont add extra letters , make the spelling fancy- make it as easy as possible. Oh and no unique , uniaya , lasomething.

Oh and Lady4Real - I could have been russella. Yeah um no

FreeBlackMan said...

I don't know what the icon for supreme frowny face is, just assume I inserted it here.

Jazzy Jazz said...

Mom actually had a client named that . She said it was pronounced Vag-enn-ay- ah. Um no your name is Vagina.

FreeBlackMan said...

On the flip we had a Collen O'Shea who was black as the ace of spades. You never know.

FreeBlackMan said...

That's cuz you've got some good damn sense.

GrownAzzMan said...

Even though Monique is a French name every woman I have ever known with that name was African-American. Things that make you go hmmmm....

maureen palmer said...

Forget Shardoneneah, some of us (Africans) have experienced no call back b/c of our names.

maureen palmer said...

Oh I came up with Palmer by playing with my family name and middle name just for the innanet

BrendaKay said...

How do you even pronounce that name?

maureen palmer said...

They "Americanized" his first name a little bit:-) In Kenya it is Baraka. His last name translates to slanted.

SA said...

I have very Ghanaian first, middle and last names. Plus since I was born and raised in Ghana, anyone who talks with me instantly detects that I have an "accent". I dont think this has negatively impacted my education/career progression, although it has led to stupid questions like how come I speak such good English (which is an entirely different conversation from this one) and many annoying conversations along the lines of this:
them: "Oh, that's a very unusual name. Am I saying it right?"
me: "Don't worry about it, lets move on"
them: "No, I really want to say it right"
me: "Really, you're close enough. I'm good"
them: "No, I really really want to get it right"
me (in my head): "Sigh. You're wasting my time and yours. We could stand here all day and you still wont get it right. Now, can we please move on....

So, I'm proud of my heritage and I'm proud of my names, esp my middle name. Sometimes though, I just get tired of that initial 10 min conversation about the origin, spelling and pronunciation of my name.

maureen palmer said...

My last name (African) sounds very Asian (please see explanation 4 Palmer above lol), I once showed up for an interview and the HR lady was convinced I was the wrong person.

Penny said...

Did you go to school in the south? When I went to college, that was first experience hearing names that began with La (LaDonna, LaDawn, LaShawn, etc.) I also met several women whose names ended in 'Cita, 'Lita, Rita, (LaRita), Tita, etc. I thought it was a southern custom.

SingLikeSassy said...

I haven't whitewashed my resume but my government name is not particularly ethnic. Also, in my industry diversity is an issue (I know this because I am constantly asked to recruit and recommend qualified people of color) so taking away the "of color" elements from your resume might actually hinder rather than help in some circles.

Mr. SLS has three Muslim names and a simple ass last name that all together should scream SAY IT LOUD, I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD, but without his glasses he can look a little Middle Eastern so he has gotten some extra scrutiny when we've traveled.

I've never liked made up names and wish people would stop doing that. We had decided to name our child after jazz vocalists and musicians.

Carl said...

A friend once told me "your name and resume scream white nerd in a grey suit...and then you walk in". So I gotta thank my mother for not handicapping me from the start. Because as much as people want to buck the system, racism is real. So at least they have to actually talk to me before they can reject me.

Mykeia said...

Russella...who? I am speechless. Uh, who said no? I hope that you thanked them... dead from laughter on this one!

Mykeia said...

Ummmm...what? Her father's mistress? Her mother allowed that name AFTER another woman? Wooooowwwwwww...

kidSistah said...

I thought the same thing!! Had you not commented, I would have assumed Jubi's real name was AFAIK and the "different" designation was well-deserved.

SingLikeSassy said...

And oh yeah! I went to college with two sisters named Perhaps and Reminisce. And met a kid named Cinnamon Brown once.

OneChele said...

Boo.

ConvertingMe said...

I think all the comments summed it up pretty well. Hate to say it but I am completely guilty of whitewashing my name. My name is two names smashed together because I had the unfortunate timing to be born in the 1970's. I'm sure there was something put in the water.

I have heard of all these name and more. I even know a set of Jello twins born to my the 14 year old classmate. I can only shake my head at the parents of La - a (LaDasha), Shashawanda, ReRonica, ShiThead, Courvoisier, Porshe, Benz, Beemer LaNissana and of course my own self.

I made sure that my children had names were simple easy and meaningful. There was no need for them to go through what I did.

There should be free name changes for people who can't. I think blind resumes are the way to go.

Jazzy Jazz said...

Mommy and her parents said no. I am so thankful that I didnt wind up with that name.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

Ok, that's what it's supposed to be? O_O People, PLEASE leave those crazy spellings to rappers for their stage names!

tiffanyinhouston said...

Disqus is the bane of my existence yet again, but I'll just say welcome back Chele and I am glad my parents had the good sense to name me Tiffany Andrea. *sigh of relief*

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

Luke Warm? Man, that's as bad as Rip Torn (yep, a real person's name; feel free to Google it). Thank goodness one parents had enough sense to know that naming the child is not supposed to be a joke!

Yofabulous said...

Having spent 10 years in HR and now in healthcare finance, I have seen more than my fair share of names that left me shaking my head. Unfortunately for me, the times that I decided to schedule an interview Dyneesha or Da'Real (both real names) they lived up to the stereotype. My ex-husband had a ShiThead in his community outreach group. It though he was b.s.'ing me, but I was wrong.

My family is West Indian so I have one of those proper British/French names. It's all about representing the family - properly.

I now have a running list of the names I come across in my current position. My all-time favorite so far - Bootie. The middle name is equally jacked, but in the interest of privacy...

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

Cinnamon Brown? I think there's a killer with that name.

OneChele said...

Licious?

tiffanyinhouston said...

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

rikyrah said...

I was going through resumes and found one with the first name of Sweetmeat.

I kid you not.

A grown woman who had actually kept that name past the age of 18.

OneChele said...

The whole family needs an azz kickin' for that.

GammasWorld said...

My gubment name is very non-ethnic. My daughter swears I gave her a "white girl" name but the truth is I just liked it. When daughter was pregnant with Maya (the grand), her co-workers called me one night and said they had decided on the baby's name .... came up with Naveah (Heaven) LaQa, something or other and I hit the roof. They had me on speaker (I knew it) so I was trying to tactfully steer them in another direction. The more insistent they got, the angrier I got and finally blew it. They all started laughing but I was hot!

BrendaKay said...

Babies named after alcoholic beverages, cars, places of conception and just plain out foolishness is not just a Black thing.

Back in 2008, there was a big uproar in New Zealand about a young girl being made the ward of the state, so that her name could be legally changed from ~ Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii. :-l Here are some of the other names rejected by the New Zealand birth registry: Yeah Detroit, Cinderella Beauty Blossom, Sex Fruit, Benson and Hedges & Fish and Chips (for a set of twins) and my person favorite, Number 16 Bus Shelter.

MsParker said...

I worked in a college admissions office and the most memorable names were la-sha (which was pronounced la-dash-a... scouts honor) and turquoise brown (she just so happened to live on front street). I promised myself that I wouldn't ever give my child a race related name...

Jamie Wesley said...

Yes, I've gotten the Mr. Jamie letter more than once. Sigh.

Nicole said...

Maybe the government should step in like the French government does and change those names that are wrong!! (True thang!) My name is a generic name but still my location is on the edge of the hood, so I do worry about if I will get rejected because of that....which is why until I really get my foot in the door post-graduation

J. Jackson said...

I forgot to mention this in my post, but you are correct! When I worked for Social Security a lot of people who came in to change their names were of Asian descent. I guess the last step of becoming "americanized" was to change their name...

Reads4Pleasure said...

And just like that I've decided that your new nickname is Monty

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C Nelson said...

You're not kidding. I don't actually like the name my parents gave me -- Cindy is too cutesy for a grown woman, aside from it being the name of a doll -- but I have to say, when I put "Cindy Nelson" at the top of my resume, I know that A) they won't rule me out before they see me on the basis of my name; B) if they Google me, I will not appear in the results for the first twenty pages or so (getting the real me requires knowing my online handle or my middle name); and C) when they do call me back, I will not have to begin our interaction by correcting their pronunciation. And because my job as a parent is not to put unnecessary roadblocks in my children's lives, they are Logan, Arianne, and Connor. We may have to put up with having people call our names and look past us for the white people they expect to see, but getting past that demands only some gracious smiles and that we hide our amusement.

C Nelson said...

Porsche especially makes me hate the world, because if you really wanted to go that route, why did you not use the PERFECTLY GOOD Shakespearean name Portia? Same sound, but so much more dignity for the child!

C Nelson said...

Hey, now. Frances is a lovely, simple, well-established girls' name, and is actually the root from which we get all those fussier variants like Francesca and Fran and Fanny. :) I hear y'all on Wilhelmina and -- reluctantly -- Theodora, though. (Theodora sounds stately and graceful to me, like a well-established arbor full of heirloom roses. It'd wind up being Thea or Teddie or maybe Dora to close friends in short order, though, I'm sure.)

C Nelson said...

And this is why we don't get tattoos in languages we can't read. ;)

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Lady4Real said...

"Theodora sounds stately and graceful to me, like a well-established arbor full of heirloom roses." You make it sound alluring, I still say yuck. I would have been Lil' Teddie, because my dad is Teddie in his childhood neighborhood, glad I'm not Dora, thanks to Dora the Explorer, at the end of the day I'm thankful for my granny, cousins, and uncle that I was named after my mom and not a derivation of my dad's name.

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

I swear, some of these parents must want their children beaten up and teased.

Jeannette said...

I love my racially ambiguous name... i'm positive it open a lot of doors for me, especially when i lived in NYC, because my name is very Jewish. So knowing that my name opened doors for me, i'm sure having an ethnic name can close doors.

Mykeia said...

Perhaps and Reminisce...did you make this up? I am speechless.

AndreaPlaid said...

"Mowanaheesha Zolandrianika Brown." Just_A_Thought1218, you have truly given me life, though you've slayed my keyboard because I did a spittake.

My "name" story: when I was going to college, I met a sistah named Marijuana. (Don't look at me like that, BougieLand. I swear on Jesus' cross, tomb, wounds, and shroud this woman exists.) When the white instructor (older white woman) attempted to call her by a more "comfortable" name--the teacher went for Mary Jane (yes, I know, but bear with me)--Marijuana insisted that the teacher address her by her given name. I haven't kept up with Marijuana--I moved away--but I always wondered if she was able to go into her chosen field (she was studying to be a dental assistant).

And I remember I hated my first name, Andrea, when I was a growing up. I told my mom I wanted to chage it to Carla. One day, when I was going through my usual whine about my name, Moms said, "You have one of the few names that can be pronounced different ways." Ever since, I've appreciated it and how people verbally interpret it. So, I thank Moms for that foresight and insight...and that she was as straightlaced as she was.

AndreaPlaid said...

Speechless.

Guest said...

I often wonder if I should use my name.. if it's too black. It's black to me, but a lot of Other Folks have never heard it before:

Tameka.

Thoughts? I can't imagine going to work everyday and going by initials.. and my middle name won't work well because it's not pronounced the way it looks (yes, my parents were trying to be fancy I suppose).

Natasha Smith said...

My theory on names is this: it should work on the basketball court, courtroom, boardroom, operating room, and classroom.

Also, I'm opposed to deviating from the 'normal' spelling (Allyson for Allison, Krystina for Christina, etc). Why sentence your child to a lifetime of misspelled name tags?

JazzaBelle said...

I went to a 4 year olds birthday party and I thought I was helping out by writing down all the kids name for the name tags. Sadly I ended up just giving them a number. Spelling names like "Jackson" as "Jaxson" and "Dylan" as "D-len" are just too much for me. And it's not even creative!

OneChele said...

If you're worried about it, go by Tammy on the resume and once you're in there, they can call you Tameka.

JojoRaze said...

I feel sorry for this sista since its obvious ahe worked hard to get where she is, but I am dead at your visual!

c solomon said...

I did a similar post about this after hearing about a woman with a Latin sounding name being asked to identify her race when she was filling out paperwork for college. She didn't b/c she thought it was irrelavant. When she got to college they decided to identify her as Hispanic (she's African American). Our society has a need to identify us and our names take a part in that. I have a Jewish last name (although I'm not Jewish) and used to always get mailings from Jewish social groups. Go figure!

Hidi said...

I have no problem with creative names; it’s the artist in me. Anyway, people who bestow their children with silly names are being lazy. Do you really have to name your child “Imodium”? A baby’s birth is special so should the naming of that baby. Like you said, a name is all we have and it should mean something or be unique (not in a foolish way).

Personally, I would not name a child for workforce reason because life is hard for people period. At the same time I understand manipulating your name on a resume. Um…. It’s a resume. What? The company you are applying for is going to sue because you wrote Shannon instead of Shan- nay. Oh come on people, it’s just a resume. Also, I like to see common names spelled slightly different from the “norm”; it stands out. For example, my name is ‘Heidi’ but spelled differently. For some of us (or all) people are going to mispronounce and misspell our name whether it irks us or not; it happens even if your name is Shannon. By the way, our names are not the problem it’s the narrow microscopic minds that live in this world. ;)

As for my resume, it is bland not by choice. LOL I never attended a historically black college, and I did not pledge to anything. *shrug*

Natasha Hunter said...

M'KNZ- Ain't that the new Acura? LOL

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

No they're not. You missed Tanqueray's baptism at church!

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

Kunta Swagnificent Blackman -------> There is no comeback or following Riley!!

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