My boyfriend (the same one who consistently checks this site for updates) handed me a borrowed copy of Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen Dubner. He specifically pointed to the chapter titled “Perfect Parenting, Part II; or: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?” The authors explore the obvious: Does an individual’s name have any effect on their destiny or professional future? Now, I will admit that my name is not, in my opinion “the blackest,” but it is definitely different–and not ignorantly different either. I like to say my name is unique, but not ghetto (if we were to apply such terms). My boyfriend went silent on this comment, probably to spare my feelings. Whatever.
The [Ten] “Blackest” Girl Names
The [Ten] Blackest Boy Names
What kind of parent is most likely to give a child such a distinctively black name? The data offers a clear answer: an unmarried, low-income, undereducated teenage mother from a black neighborhood who has a distinctively black name herself. In Fryer’s view, giving a child a superblack name is a black parent’s signal of solidarity with the community. “If I start naming my kind Madison,” he says, “you might think, ‘Oh, you want to go live across the railroad tracks, don’t you?'” If black kids who study calculus and ballet are thought to be “acting white,” Fryer says, then mothers who call their babies Shanice are simply “acting black” (168).
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that bonding with the community is what my mother had in mind when she named me. But then again, none of my four names would be considered white-sounding either.
The point of this post is that there is a Freakonomics blog and interestingly enough, it features a few interesting things I thought were worth reading:
Check it out for yourself.