Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Twenty-Eight: What’s REALLY in a Name?

Creativity is one thing, but some people have just gotten out of hand.

Now, this episode will discuss a common thing amongst today’s generation: their names. As you know, your name is THE most precious thing you’ll ever have. It’s every part of you; who you are, where you came from, everything. That being said, it’s a shame that people are setting their kids up for what seems like a lifetime of ridicule with some of their creative choices when they choose to bestow their names on them.

I know I’m not alone in this: kids you see today that have the most ghetto-oriented, illiterate, possibly drug influenced names ever thought up.  You’ve seen them yourselves: LaZaire, Damianna, Moesha (typical that this show started on UPN, right?), etc…

OK, OK, I get it. In today’s day and age, name like Chris, Rebecca, Barbara, David are plain and ordinary. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with straying away from that. However, I believe most of the young parents aren’t thinking about their kids’ future when they are naming. As bad as people want to admit, places like corporate America CAN make or break you based on your name. When execs are looking to hire young Jr. execs, do you think that a name like “Deaquanita“ is going to command their attention to a ‘regular’ name, or even something different, but not totally out there, like a “Jasmine”, “Keenan” or “Donte”.

I wouldn’t mind if there was some form of rules for naming kids that all hospitals enforced to keep the crazy stuff in check. We’ll call it “The Etiquette of Names” which every parent should adhere to (or at least, keep in mind). Here would be some of the rules:

1) Double names – Kids shouldn’t have to walk around as constant reminders of who their mom’s boyfriend was at the time of their birth, which a lot of times aren’t even their dad. Besides, a name like “DeeChristopher” sounds awfully hard to make out if they are a boy or girl. If they’re going to be named after someone, let’s keep it to ONE person per name.

2) Prefixes – You know, not all names get cooler if you slap a “La”, “Le”, “De”, or “Ma” in front of them. LeDarrius or MaShonda just sounds like overkill.

3) Those dreaded grave accents (`) – I know, they make a name sound exotic and give the last vowel a little grace to it. This sometimes gets to be like people using cologne to cover up funk. Trash with a grave accented e on the end does not look cute. Trashè (which would be pronounced Tra-shay) is NO name for a kid. And finally…

4) Material names – You know, when the parents simply HAD to name their kids after some product – mostly, liquor – that was immensely popular at the time. This needs to be outlawed. Tell me, how many kids really need to walk around named Hennessey, Alize, Chardonnay, or Milli’onz?

Look, I’m not one to judge folk on naming kids. My name is…irregular….as well. You don’t meet much people named ‘Eumir’ on a daily basis, so I get it. However, I’m glad for my unique name (it means “ruler” in Arabic, in case you were wondering) and thank dad he did it. I’m just saying, if creativity will play a factor in name the next generation of kids – especially amongst my African-American people – than let’s not abuse it by furthering along the negative stereotypes that get associated with these names.

Because, in the end, EVERYTHING is in a name.



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