Freakonomics Blog

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

  1. Imani
  2. Ebony
  3. Shanice
  4. Aaliyah
  5. Precious
  6. Nia
  7. Deja
  8. Diamond
  9. Asia
  10. Aliyah
  11. The [Ten] Blackest Boy Names

  12. DeShawn
  13. DeAndre
  14. Marquis
  15. Darnell
  16. Terrell
  17. Malik
  18. Trevon
  19. Tyrone
  20. Willie
  21. Dominique

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:

If Public Libraries Didn’t Exist, Could You Start One Today?
How Much Do Book Blurbs Matter?
What Do Real Thugs Think of The Wire?

Check it out for yourself.

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2 thoughts on “Freakonomics Blog

  1. With the exception of Ebony, I don’t see and of the names on the list as being “ghetto” which is different from being sounding “black.” Aaliya(h) is actually an Arab name – the feminized version of Ali.

    The name game is really simple. People make names, names don’t make people.

    Like

  2. Unfortunately, sometimes people associate “black” with “ghetto.” But I do agree with you Rashid, I wouldn’t consider any of the listed names as ghetto either.

    The Freakanomics book would argue that names do have an effect on who a person becomes.

    Like

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