Racism and names

A friend linked this New York Times article today. Apparently, having a “too black” name can handicap you when it comes to finding certain jobs. Not surprising, really, but depressing,

Did I handicap my son by naming him something that looks black and often gets pronounced “Mar-kwam” even though it’s actually pronounced the way the bridge in Portland, Oregon is pronounced? If this factor had occurred to us in those first few sleep-deprived nights when we were trying to decide on a name, would we have let it alter our decision? To what extent do you play by the racist rules, and teach your children to? And to what extent do you fight them? My instinct is always to say fight, but I also have to acknowledge that this is easier to do when you’re white. If my son grows up and wants to change the spelling of his name, or go by his middle name, in order to make his life a little easier, who could blame him?

I’ve revived I blog and added a couple new tags, because these tags are the things if been thinking about a lot lately. Share your thoughts with me, please.


~ by realsupergirl on August 15, 2013.

2 Responses to “Racism and names”

  1. I hope that we make progress, and by the time he is applying for jobs Marquam won’t have to worry about his race/name being a liability. But, as this blog points out he will have to live as a black man in a world that is far, far from perfect: http://the-toast.net/2013/08/13/the-long-climb-to-nowhere-on-oprah-and-the-impossibility-of-transcending-race/
    I think the answer is to be out there fighting the fight against racism, pointing it out when it occurs, and advocating for change.

  2. these are tough things to consider. and choosing a name is such a personal journey. my parents still do not like my son’s name — and I am sure it’s because it is inherently too Latino for them but I hope that when my son is old enough to understand he will know I chose the name that meant the most to me and that his cultural heritage was very important to me. I hope with Marquam that he too will see the beauty in his name, and its connection to his birth and to the place where his parents met and fell in love. It’s a wonderful history to carry in just seven letters.

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