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Should Black People Be Allowed to Give Weird Names to Their Children?

"If you don’t want to give your child an Anglo name, then don’t. There are literally thousands of cultures to look at for inspiration. There is NO excuse for branding your child with illiterate gibberish. It’s not cute, it’s not creative, it’s a disgrace. No other people in the entire WORLD do this like black people do. Just because the names sound foreign to our ears doesn’t mean they’re on the same level with Da’quavious, so don’t even try it. You sound ignorant as hell."  - truth hurts in the comment section of this article.


And the really weird thing is, it's a "black" publication saying people have gone too far, that getting too weird means your kid has a "ghetto" name.  One of the commenters even said that parents should NOT be allowed to name their children anything so outrageous as the names featured. 

What I hear from people overseas (and especially under governments run under Islamic principles) is that you can NOT just name your kid any old thing you feel like there.  You have to have it approved or it has to be a usual sort of name everyone uses like Bronwyn or Jane (Ok, not in the Islamic countries.  They have a different name list there.)  

I'll be honest here:  I've judged people based on their names.  I mean, some names just make you go "oh my gosh, no way."  Be real with me and you know you've done this, too.  I would like to think most people are going to try to be fair when they get around to actually meeting the person.  I guess I don't see why there is so much emotion about what someone wants to call their child.

Can you just imagine anyone telling parents what they can name their children? 


  1. I read the article and I'm surprised that anyone, of any colour, would name their child with such an odd sounding collection of letters? They're fancy, but how easy are they for a stranger (potential employer) to pronounce? Whatever happened to plain old Susan, Barbara, Pamela, Brian, Barry and Bill that I grew up with? Even more modern names that have been seen for about 10-15 years now, are still easier to spell and pronounce.

    1. My children all have very old, very "white" sounding names (two are biblical, but still). So that's my preference: usual, but not "Jacob" and "Aiden." Every family has about ten of those right now.

      The whole comment section is full of self-hate. Telling ya, look at the names of the kids Emperor plays chess with. LONG, hard-to-pronounce Indian and Iranian and Chinese names. I don't see any articles about how they need "Anglo" names and how employers won't hire them...

  2. Where I live, in Thailand, a child's name has to be approved by a government official. Most officials require a name of no more than three syllables, and you have to provide the meaning. But my husband and sister-in-law 'got away' with four syllable names, so it isn't that strict.

  3. Getting government approval for your child's name? That is insane.

    I can't even.

    On the other hand, our government tells us what kind of lightbulbs to buy and how much salt to use and whether or not we can have a 17 ounce soda, so who knows?

    People should name their kids as they see fit, even if they are strange.

    1. Yes! We need our government to help us out here. I need to be told what kind of shopping bag to use, too.

  4. All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

    I wonder how much of this is related to the breakdown of the family in the black community. My SIL, who is white, is currently pregnant. She and I both grew up with names that were VERY popular in our era. She had it worse because her last name was also common. Because of that, we both choose to select names that are less common. Anyway, her husband is spoiling all our fun! He is saying no again and again.

    1. My husband wrecked my fun, too! I wanted names like "Jehu." :)

  5. How can I not comment?

    First of all, It's a good thing that people are allowed to name their kids whatever they want (for the most part) because it is a free country). Black people purposely try not to choose Anglo names because we were forced to pick low-sounding Anglo names when they were dragged to this country. Now that we can pick our own names, we do as we please even if the child ends up being names, LaQaundrialetishima. Their business.

    That being said, my son has a race neutral name and my daughter has a gender neutral name because I didn't want anyone to look at a piece of paper and make a judgement on whether or not they would even interview them. I wanted them to at least get into the door.

    So, we can all choose our names as we please, and I am proud of that fact. At the same time, we have to deal with it if those names we give are creating invisible barriers for our children.

    ps. To my surprise, names aren't having the same stigma that I thought they had when I was younger. Beyonce and Barrack are doing just fine.

    1. See, that's just it. I wouldn't give my child an Anglo name either if I had a bit more melanin. I wouldn't prolly make UP an African name, but there are lots of pretty and "real" African names out there. :)

    2. We have to be understanding that Black Americans make up names because we were torn from our culture and without careful study are not connected with the names of our forefathers. But just because it is a true reason does not mean it is a good reason. I think this is why many of "us" get upset when we see/hear made up African names... we are like, "are you too lazy to do the homework and find a name that means something and is not just a parent-combo name? I also have to say that I don't think that presence of absence of melanin should be a precursor to choosing a name. I am not offended if a Chinese person has a Swahili name or a black person has an Anglo name. I think we should choose names for our children that have a meaning that we can communicate in some way.

    3. True! But I rarely see Americans without African or Chinese or Swahili ancestry choosing those names? Maybe because names like Bhattacharyya are hard to spell (bet you it is, like, two characters in Hindi...).

  6. I have a dear friend with three daughters: Hawk, Ya'el, and Logan. I love these girls' names. I'm grateful for the freedom we have to name our own children whatever we see fit. I chose biblical names for the boys because I liked the names, found them to be reflective of my values, and I love how the meaning of each one just happens to reflect where we were in life when they were born. But we also took the fact that they'd have to live with those names for the rest of their lives into account when we wrote them on the birth certificates. I hope all parents do this.

    Still . . . Remember when we all learned how Frank Zappa had named his daughter "Moon Unit" and we all thought that was so ridiculous? You know what? Moon Zappa is doing just fine and doesn't seem any worse for the wear. :)

    1. Yep. I remember that. Logan is an interesting name though, and is usually a boy name right now. Then again, ASHLEY is a boy name that was sorta converted. And Stacy. And Leslie. Oh well.

  7. I think the government should be more concerned with things like jobs and the economy instead of who is naming their kid whatever whackadoodle name they choose. And as far as 'Anglo' names or African American people making up names....well there are plenty od caucasian people who do a bang up job when it comes to naming kids. Look at the celebrities naming their kids Zuma, Apple, Inspektor Pilot, Rooster....I'd rather have to try to pronounce La'Quischta than try to not snicker calling some kid Rooster or Inspektor.

    1. Well, okayyy, but I think "Apple" is a really cool name. And "Chanticleer" (rooster) just miiiight work sometimes. But Inspektor Pilot... the poor kid... no excuse for that one.

  8. I could be wrong, but I think these days people under 50 aren't too concerned about if someone is BLACK. I think they are more concerned about WHAT KIND OF VALUES AND ATTITUDES ARE THEY GOING TO DISPLAY IN THE WORKPLACE? I think most people would assume a black person with a normal, middle-class (white-sounding) name would have been raised in a family that espoused normal middle-class behavior and values. Someone given a far-out name was probably raised in a family which did NOT espouse middle-class values and behavior, and businesses are leery of presenting anything but a calm, conservative, friendly persona to customers. Someone sent me this video on YouTube last week, and it is an example of the kind of behavior I am talking about (angry black college-girl talks back, shouts, and throws a bottle in class, and then wonders why the teacher calls campus police to come and get her). Many people would assume that someone with a strange-sounding name might act like this, or have this sort of values and attitudes.

    As an American living in the Middle East who was incensed to discover I could not name my child whatever I wanted, twenty years later, I think I have to come down on supporting this policy (from the children's point-of-view).

    --Lynne Diligent, Intercultural Meanderings

    1. Whoa, this young lady did not know how to behave in class at all. How did she get into Harvard? Or anywhere else for that matter?


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