What’s In A Name?


Last month I read a story about a young woman living in the Kansas City area who was determined to change her name because of the flack she was catching from her peers.


Keisha Austin is a biracial 19 year old, whose mother is white, and lives in a part of town that is not very racially diverse. She said she was tired of being teased by white classmates who associated her name with negativity, and she had had enough!

Her mother said that she gave her the name Keisha because she thought it as a way to pay homage to her African American heritage, and felt it represented the “strong, feminine, beautiful black woman” she had hoped her daughter would grow up to be.

Apparently Keisha didn’t agree!

It would seem that there is an element in this society that associates certain names with unfavorable stereotypical behavior. Admittedly, the name Keisha is a very popular name in the African American community, and some would straight up call it a black girl name. But what about names like Ananya or Yui – these are popular names in both the Indian and Chinese cultures. Are they also subject to the same ridicule? Or is it just those with black girl names that are type casted and labeled with unfair generalizations?

If the world only knew the richness of black history and the far-reaching influence of it’s culture, and creativity, I don’t think we would believe that our community would be something to scoff at!

So now Keisha Austin calls herself Kylie, and we certainly wish her well and encourage her to live long and prosper.

Its unfortunate however, that the level of our self-esteem should be so strongly influenced by our name, or that the content of our character should ever be judged by it!

What do you think, Cool or Uncool? Feel free to comment!


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