Pregnant woman asks internet if she's wrong for dodging 'black' baby names to make son's life easier

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Friday 02 August 2019 15:00
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Picture:(iStock)

A mother-to-be went on Reddit to ask users what they thought about her decision to avoid “black names” when naming her child as she doesn’t want to “make life harder” for them in an environment of racism and discrimination.

In a recent post on the subreddit Am I The ***hole, a black expecting mother shared that she doesn’t want to give her son a “black name” because she’s scared it will make his life harder – whereas her husband was less worried.

Their difference of opinion vis-à-vis the name of their child has prompted arguments, and she admits that it has turned into a “battle”.

The user, who called herself ‘Thenameofthebaby, said:

My husband and I are having a baby. I'm mixed race, half black and half white. My husband is black.

We don't know the gender yet but my husband prefers names that most people would call black names for boys. Names like Trayvon, DeVonte, Marquis, etc.

I grew up with a name that is tied to black culture and hated it for most of my life. I go by a shortened form of my name professionally (i.e Dee for Denaisha) because I have seen how people react to my government name. I am sure I have been passed up for jobs because of how people perceive my name.

My husband has a name more commonly used for white boys (i.e Jake). He wants a strong black name for our son because he never had that and believes that giving him a “white” name to avoid racism isn't helping anyone. I don't disagree but don't want to use our son as a test dummy to change that.

This has become a battle. I know that we both need to agree on a baby name but AITA for writing off all black names?

Reddit users were torn.

Some people agreed that both parties had “valid points”.

You both have perfectly valid points. Why not give him one as a first and one as a middle name, that way they'll both be his legal names and he can make his own choice when he's old enough to understand.

-Acatinmylap

Another added that giving a first name that is “common” and a second name that isn’t, is something her parents did for her.

That's what my parents did. My sister and I ate both mixed, and our first names are more common (I wouldn't say more white because I've seen these names be used for more than just white girls) than our more black middle names, which our mom would have had as our first names had our dad not pushed away from that decision. I love my middle name and usually go by it online, but after seeing how often people mispronounce it even after I correct them I'm kinda glad my first name is easier.

-Social_Cocoon

Another Reddit user said that maybe her husband ought to name his son after strong black historical figures.

If your husband wants a “strong black name”, name him after a strong black man. How many great Treyvons do you know? You could name him after:

W.E.B. Du Bois (William)

Marcus Garvey

Frederick Douglas

Martin Luther King Jr.

Booker T. Washington

George Washington Carver

-McBrick97

There are those who thought the Redditer's question is small-minded.

Lol. This is such simplistic thinking.

When we show up an interviews, they see that we’re black. The names aren’t as important as you’d imagine.

I have a white name, it just means I show up at interviews where the interviewer spends the whole time asking questions about my hair.

If they’re not willing to hire a black woman, I’d rather they toss my resume before I get there.

-ItsJustAText

According to a 2017 study by Northwestern University, Harvard and the Institute for Social Research in Norway, Americans are just as racist as they were back in the 1980s in the area of work.

Researchers looked at 24 studies with 30 estimates of discrimination for black and Latino Americans representing some 54,000 applications submitted for more than 25,00 positions.

What did they find?

They concluded that, on average, “white applicants receive 36 per cent more call-backs than equally qualified African Americans” while “[w]hite applicants receive on average 24 per cent more call-backs than Latinos.”

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