- Jul 23, 2003
- PD for a Non Profit
Amun-Ra said:Plenty! This one has been bothering me for a long time. Today there are names in the black community that rely heavily on certain sounds like "esha" and "ita." In my day we had "etta" as in Charlesetta or Jamesetta or "lean" as in Pauline or Emmaline. As a kid those names meant nothing unusual to me and still don't as do the names that are popular today.
However, several years ago it occurred to me that black people might be doing themselves a disservice picking these names, not because anything is wrong with them, but becaue it made them readily identifiable. I was watching a segment on 60 Minutes showing how an equally qualified black and woman were turned down for jobs that less qualified white men and women received.
I was not surprised by the interviews, but it made me think. How many blacks never see an interview because they are identifiable because of their name? A resume could quietly be disqualified if the personnel manager was biased against blacks and the only notice the resume owner would get is a rejection letter.
I don't know that this that this happens, but I suspect that it does more than we know. It is one thing not to get the job after an interview, but it is entirely something else when we don't even get the chance for an interview. This strips us of legal means because there is little way to prove it without an interview.
So, what do we do? I often mentor younger brothers and sisters and when they have an unusual name or spelling, I warn them of the potential for discrimination. Sometimes I suggest using initials, but that is little comfort for those who run into the prejudices of others and lose an opportunity without ever getting a chance.
Brotha Ra... I read an article on that as well... on a study done by a prominent university... maybe in the midwest... anyhoo... the names that were discriminated against were fairly simple names... like jerome, keisha.... i can't remember anymore... anyhoo... i named my children SIMPLE names that meant something to me and yet didn't collectively group them into one catergoryor another... my given name in latin/hispanic in origin... so i caught it growing up... and still do... in some instances i use my initials or an androgynous nickname that i'm called from time to time.... THE DRAWBACK... some employers want diversity... for various different reasons... and that's when these four minorities i have come into play...
btw... i picked my children's names b/c i like the name and i wanted them to have a plain name that was not that common amongst black folk... sorry... but i wanted them to be different off top....