What’s in a name?

evie ezra zoe in black and white

After learning the kids names in my daughters classrooms the other day I didn’t think much of it except that I was going to have to work hard to remember them much less know how to spell them….except for her one white classmate named Dennis.

Then after I shared the post about jimmy kimmel poking fun at a more ethnic name I started to wonder. Why DID the black kids have such unique (to me) names?

Soooo…I got to reading!! I discovered how many of the names we just lump into the hard to remember/pronounce/spell black ethnic category are usually derived from a combination of French, African, Muslim and Biblical names! And also can be words of hope from the desires of their hearts for their children’s lives. 

I read about how in the time of slavery blacks weren’t allowed to have/pick their own names. And that before the 1960’s a lot of black people actually had more Anglo-American names but around the time of the civil rights movement they started celebrating their history and origins in the way they named their children. Taking back what was once stolen from their people!

For example: The name LaKeisha is typically considered American in origin, but has elements drawn from both French and African roots. Other names—for example LaTanisha, DeShawn, JaMarcus, DeAndre, and Shaniqua—were created in the same way.

And yes, we know that all ethnicities have some who go for the rare and unique and even bizarre…  #helloReincePriebus! but we know that those generally aren’t the norm. And those names no matter how strange to us, should never be used to classify a certain group because we have little knowledge about what is their norm and why.

I found when I looked at them through eyes of understanding I see so much beauty in the names of my kids classmates and the families they represent! I know I chose my kids names due to their special meanings in my heart. So why didn’t I assume that black parents had the same desires in their hearts? I can now recognize it was my ignorance that led to wrong thinking as well as missing out on the depth and beauty right there around me!

( I read a few articles but I found this one to be very interesting regarding the matter )

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