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On Strange Names and the Curse of Individualism
Archdiocese of Washington ^ | December 7, 2012 | Msgr. Charles Pope

Posted on 12/08/2012 12:50:55 PM PST by NYer

Living and working the African American Catholic Community I have been subject to some time with names that are often unpronounceable. It is a controversial practice even in the Black community for parents to name their children all sorts of crazy, made-up names that are often intentionally misspelled.

DeQuanna, Sharkeisha, LaDarrius, Shamyra, Marketta, Shontella, LaRochelle, Shandrika, Charmonique, Myosha, LaKeisha, DeQuan, Rhondella, Raviona, Rominthia, Tomika, LaVenia, Trishela, LaTasha, ABCDE, Tyeisha, Mootron, Knoshon, Keyshawn, Tarquisha, Q’J'Q’Sha, Laquintas, Jamarcus, JoNathans, et al.

I trip over this especially at Baptisms when I am supposed to solemnly pronounce the name of the child. Even after the irritated mother tells me the third time, I still can’t get it right. But why be angry with me? Why name your child such a strange name? Its all so crazy. They put in apostrophes where none are needed and there seems a minor obsession with the letters ‘Q’ and ‘K’.

Now some may speak of racism, but I have been in the Black community too long to be deaf to the fact that an awful lot of African American folks hate the practice too.

Oddities are spreading to other ethnic groups too. In a recent article in The Atlantic Phillip Cohen writes:

The number of girls given the name Mary at birth has fallen 94 percent since 1961…..The modernization theory of name trends, advanced most famously by the sociologist Stanley Lieberson, sees the rise of individualism in modern naming practices. “As the role of the extended family, religious rules, and other institutional pressures declines,” he wrote, “choices are increasingly free to be matters of taste.” Mary—both a traditional American name and a symbol religious Christianity—embodies this trend.

Second, America’s Christian family standard-bearers are not standing up for Mary anymore. It’s not just that there may be fewer devout Christians, it’s that even they don’t want to sacrifice individuality for a (sorry, it’s not my opinion) boring name like Mary. In 2011 there were more than twice as many Nevaehs (“Heaven” spelled backwards) born as there were Marys. (If there is anything more specific going on within Christianity, please fill me in.)

The Full article can be read here: Why Don’t Parents Name their Daughters Mary Anymore

I have referred in this brief article to the “curse” of individualism, because frankly I think some of these names become a hindrance later in life and mothers trying to be creative and individualistic, often saddle their kids with troubles later. Frankly people don’t like to be embarrassed, and when someone tells you their name and you can’t pronounce it, or have to ask again, and even a third time, social relations, and things like job interviews tend to go badly. I mean how do you even pronounce Q’J'Q’Sha? A lot of things break down when you can’t even pass the “go” of exchanging names.

As you might expect, many of these children given strange names, end up going by other nick names. Like “Q” or Shawn or something easier. But really they should not have to, and their strange names will still have to come up at formal occasions and all the awkwardness. And even some of the names that are more pronounceable convey a kind of strangeness that makes people uncomfortable. While not necessarily fair, strange names convey an impression of the person who carries it. We tend to read a lot more in to names that perhaps we should, but the tendency is pre-conscious and is unlikely to change that much.

Interestingly, in Biblical times people were more creative with names than currently. However, they were careful to name their children with a name that was intelligible, that actually meant something. For example, Jesus means “God saves,” Michael means “Who is like God?” Sarah means “princess” and so forth. Thus, observing the essence of a child, the parents named the child on the eighth day after birth.

Controversial article? Sure. But don’t turn it into a race thing, there’s plenty of divided opinion in the African American community as well. Also if you feel offended, try not to take it personally. It is a cultural trend that is being critiqued, not you. The bottom line, in a culture where strange forms of individualism are increasing and exotica is proudly displayed by more and more, it’s good every now and then to ask about limits and encourage some moderation.

By the way, my name almost backward is Epop Selrach if your looking for a clever new name….for your pet, that is. :-)


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: childnames; children; childrensnames; daughter; daughters; girlsnames; mary; msgrcharlespope; names; namingyourchild; nicknames; saints
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1 posted on 12/08/2012 12:51:02 PM PST by NYer
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To: NYer

Don chu be gibin yo chile no plantation name!


2 posted on 12/08/2012 12:54:32 PM PST by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
Some more examples of how selfish parents inflict their personal interests on children when naming them.

Parents Name Their Newborn Daughter 'Hashtag'

Parents Name Their Son ESPN

3 posted on 12/08/2012 12:55:26 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer
the “curse” of individualism

maybe there is some hostility toward traditional American values by some groups that feel oppressed by them.

4 posted on 12/08/2012 1:00:06 PM PST by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: NYer

Thanks to ‘exotic’ names a certain race uses, we can identify the perps even though the police report refuses to name them due to PC.


5 posted on 12/08/2012 1:01:12 PM PST by patriot08 (NATIVE TEXAN (girl type))
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To: NYer
I love the traditional and biblical names. A few are:

John

Mary

Michael

Martha

Matthew

Joseph

Sarah

Samuel

6 posted on 12/08/2012 1:07:40 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer
This has gone on throughout history. The insecure and dull-witted all feel the need to stand out and be different; and consequently, end up copying, or even worse, trying to one-up each other.

I first consciously observed this in college back in the days of the proto-goth, when (primarily female) liberal arts majors would don black clothing and paint their fingernails black in order to "be different." Eventually many of them all tried to be different and ended up looking alike. As a corrolary to this, I noted that the most truly unique and interesting people tended to dress and appear rather normal by comparison.

I suspect a similar thing goes on when dullard parents name their children.

7 posted on 12/08/2012 1:08:36 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: NYer

Racist! s/. “Q’J’Q’Sha” will have a few job options: professional athlete, rapper, robber or welfare recipient.


8 posted on 12/08/2012 1:13:46 PM PST by manic4organic (It was nice knowing you, America.)
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To: NYer
The Bible has some real doosies for names so giving the child a Bible name can result in just as much of a oddity as any "trendy" name can.

Try having Kerenhappauch as a name and you can quickly see the problem.

Best to give the child one "exotic" name if that is your bent and one "common" name that they can use if they wish.

9 posted on 12/08/2012 1:16:35 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Fate plays chess and you don't find out until too late that he's been using two queens all along)
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To: NYer

This is nothing but hatred of the children. When a child cannot be legally killed, the parent give him a name ugly enough to kill his spirit.

Why do the priests agree to baptize under such names?


10 posted on 12/08/2012 1:17:53 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: manic4organic

I have a co-worker from American Samoa (husband is also Samoan)—She has a son named Tyrece, and a daughter named—Abc’De. I kid you not. When she had her fourth child, I asked her if she was going to name it Hij’kl. Fortunately, the child was given a regular name.


11 posted on 12/08/2012 1:26:40 PM PST by Mrs.Liberty (Somewhere in Kenya AND Delaware, villages are missing idiots.)
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To: manic4organic

I have a co-worker from American Samoa (husband is also Samoan)—She has a son named Tyrece, and a daughter named—Abc’De. I kid you not. When she had her fourth child, I asked her if she was going to name it Hij’kl. Fortunately, the child was given a regular name.


12 posted on 12/08/2012 1:26:57 PM PST by Mrs.Liberty (Somewhere in Kenya AND Delaware, villages are missing idiots.)
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To: NYer

They left out LoRenta, Urethra, LiNoleum and VaGina.


13 posted on 12/08/2012 1:27:36 PM PST by Noumenon (As long as you have a rifle, you STILL have a vote.)
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To: NYer

My sister used to work at a “downtown” hospital. One mother said her daughter’s name was “Pay-jah-may”.

“How do you spell that?” my sister asked.

“P-A-J-A-M-A”.


14 posted on 12/08/2012 1:29:03 PM PST by BwanaNdege (Man has often lost his way, but modern man has lost his address - Gilbert K. Chesterton)
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To: NYer

If they hate it so much, how come all the names in the NFL and in your own sphere of life have stupid names?


15 posted on 12/08/2012 1:29:42 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: NYer

Actually this isn’t just a black problem. Everyone is being pretentious. Blacks do it by coming up with ridiculous made-up names. Whites do it by re-spelling normal names abnormally and using previously totally obscure Irish names.

They are all obnoxiously pretentious. My boy is just George.


16 posted on 12/08/2012 1:40:18 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: NYer
rule of thumb, the sillier the name,(white OR black) the more they will cost the welfare system...
17 posted on 12/08/2012 1:44:48 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: trisham

One of our Lebanese families began by naming their first son, Michael (after the Archangel). That child passed away 9 months later. He was followed by another son, this time, named Daniel. Then came a daughter, Joelle Marie followed by another boy, this time named for the Archangel Gabriel. The children reflect the strong character and holiness of those for whom they were named.


18 posted on 12/08/2012 1:52:58 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear
The Bible has some real doosies for names so giving the child a Bible name can result in just as much of a oddity as any "trendy" name can.

Not too many Hezekiah Uriah's anymore, but it was my great-great grandfather's first and middle name. :)

19 posted on 12/08/2012 1:52:58 PM PST by Gunslingr3
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To: NYer
I think creative naming is a part of southern culture to a degree, adopted and imported by the AA community. The problem with it as I see it is that there is no one to identify with, no sense of belonging, no continuity. When you are named after a father or uncle, mother or auntie whom you know, love and and respect, it matters.

To illustrate, adolescent psychiatrist offices are filled with rootless white Jasons and Jareds and Justins, none of whom have any known relative with those names.

20 posted on 12/08/2012 1:54:58 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: NYer

My all time favorite has to be Aquanetta. I have seen this name twice. Once as a Marine when my SgtMaj sent out an e-mail to all the unit’s SNCOs congratulating SSgt Jones for the birth of his daughter Aquanetta. The second time I saw it was on one of those house flipping shows. One of the prospective buyers was named Aquanetta.


21 posted on 12/08/2012 1:56:27 PM PST by sean327 (God created all men equal, then some become Marines!)
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To: NYer

Wonderful and inspiring names!


22 posted on 12/08/2012 1:56:57 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel
My children were all meaning based traditional names.

Samantha - She who listens
Arlen - Pledged one
Dorthea - Gift of God
Beatrice - Happy blessing

Of course, they now stand out in their millennial generation because their names aren't made up or uniquely spelled.

I sometimes wonder if the parents making up names and spellings are just simply illiterate and proud of it.

23 posted on 12/08/2012 1:58:53 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: Noumenon

You forgot Gynalotrimin and Gonorrhea.


24 posted on 12/08/2012 2:01:49 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Noumenon

“They left out LoRenta, Urethra, LiNoleum and VaGina.”

You left out FE-MA-LE!


25 posted on 12/08/2012 2:03:56 PM PST by dljordan (Voltaire: "To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.")
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To: NYer

Everyone here who hates anything other than standard names realizes that there are many countries that have actual laws about baby naming? I know people who were given a list of names at the birth of their child and required to pick one.

I suppose this is one freedom you would all like to see go away? Quite frankly for a bunch of freedom lovers some of you don’t seem to embrace it like you claim.


26 posted on 12/08/2012 2:07:27 PM PST by pennyfarmer (Your socialist beat our liberal AGAIN.)
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To: BwanaNdege

I was at a McDonalds in Baltimore many years ago, and the girl behind the counter had a name tag that read,

“Baby Girl”


27 posted on 12/08/2012 2:09:55 PM PST by Zeneta (Why are so many people searching for something that has already found us ?)
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To: NYer

I remember hearing from a black comic, can’t remember his name, he commented that he doesn’t understand why black mothers gives their kids such awful names, he cited, “Advil”, Excedrin and some other nonsensical names. He got a good laugh at the expense of his fellow blacks but I guess he was truly puzzled by their choices.


28 posted on 12/08/2012 2:09:55 PM PST by Rockiette (Democrats are not intelligent)
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To: sean327

29 posted on 12/08/2012 2:12:07 PM PST by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: manic4organic
Racist! s/. “Q’J’Q’Sha” will have a few job options:

For the past decade, there have been a number of articles suggesting that curriculum vitaes bearing such names are all but destined for the circular file/bit bucket.

30 posted on 12/08/2012 2:14:06 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: pennyfarmer
Everyone here who hates anything other than standard names realizes that there are many countries that have actual laws about baby naming? I know people who were given a list of names at the birth of their child and required to pick one.

I suppose this is one freedom you would all like to see go away? Quite frankly for a bunch of freedom lovers some of you don’t seem to embrace it like you claim.

*********************************

Feel free to show us the post where someone on this thread proposed making these unusual names illegal.

31 posted on 12/08/2012 2:15:04 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel
My boy is just George.

Boy George?

Been done...


32 posted on 12/08/2012 2:18:58 PM PST by null and void (Going Galt: The won't of the people)
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To: NYer

Ginantonica.


33 posted on 12/08/2012 2:21:20 PM PST by martiangohome
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To: Noumenon

What about Ammonia and Chlorine?


34 posted on 12/08/2012 2:21:27 PM PST by Fresh Wind
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To: rockrr

One I heard of a little while back. Actually 2. woman with two sons, L’monjalo and O’ronjalo. Twins I think.
Spelling on each: Lemonjello and Orangejello.


35 posted on 12/08/2012 2:22:41 PM PST by Tupelo (Hunkered down & loading up)
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To: NYer

Funny, when you go to the article at the link, the first name on the right-hand column of other writers is “TA-NEHISI COATES.” It’s a male. Or, someone who looks masculine. You never can tell these days.


36 posted on 12/08/2012 2:23:29 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Government can’t redistribute talent, willpower, or intelligence, except through dictatorship.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel
Actually this isn’t just a black problem....Whites do it by re-spelling normal names abnormally and using previously totally obscure Irish names.

Well said. There is a radio announcer around here who pronounces her name "Cottie" and spells it "Kati." How much do you want to bet her name is really "Katherine"?

37 posted on 12/08/2012 2:31:56 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Government can’t redistribute talent, willpower, or intelligence, except through dictatorship.)
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To: null and void

Actually he’s named after the best George - Washington.


38 posted on 12/08/2012 2:39:07 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: NYer

We live in a rural/small town part of Maryland and I bet my high school aged son knows 5 boys named Tyler and 5 or more others named Logan as first names. Probably half a dozen Cody’s too.

The black kids mostly have fairly common names.


39 posted on 12/08/2012 2:40:13 PM PST by perez24 (Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.)
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To: NYer

LaTrina is not a Biblical name? Who knew?!


40 posted on 12/08/2012 2:42:36 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Calvin Locke; manic4organic
“Q’J’Q’Sha” will have a few job options:

Relative of "Mama'shay'mama'shay Ma'ma'moo'sha?"

41 posted on 12/08/2012 2:45:02 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Government can’t redistribute talent, willpower, or intelligence, except through dictatorship.)
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To: pennyfarmer
I think France had a law that names had to be either Biblical or classical--but I don't know if that is still the case.

Hercule Poirot, of course, was Belgian, not French.

In colonial times and in the 19th century names from the Old Testament were very common. Isaac, Abraham, Ezekiel, Reuben, Hannah, Tamar, Rebecca, and many others. Around 1900 or earlier they went out of fashion. Supposedly the term "rube" comes from the idea of "Reuben" being a typical name a farmer might have.

I had a distant cousin in the 19th century who was called Parshandatha--it's a name from the book of Esther. In the Bible it's a man's name but it was bestowed on a girl. I figure they just opened the Bible at random and took the first name they saw, without reading the context to see that it was a male name.

42 posted on 12/08/2012 2:45:32 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: NYer
he number of girls given the name Mary at birth has fallen 94 percent since 1961

(Not a papist, but) our youngest, born 1990, is a Mary.

We gave all our kids pretty ordinary names, of biblical origin. We didn't try to be trendy (but it turned out there was a spate of Hannahs born in the early 80s).

And I got pointed to this a couple weeks ago:


43 posted on 12/08/2012 2:46:05 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: NYer
And, of course, there Little Bobby Tables:


44 posted on 12/08/2012 2:48:30 PM PST by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: Joe 6-pack
I would be surprised if they wasn't a Vagina and a Clamadia out there some place.
45 posted on 12/08/2012 2:51:34 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Zeneta

Actually we have a younger friend named BG, for Baby Girl—the youngest of a family with five sisters, now married with two children. It’s not her real name, but she’s been called that ever since she was a toddler, and it stuck. I don’t actually know what her real name is.

Having used it for years, it now sounds natural to me.


46 posted on 12/08/2012 2:53:06 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Ditter

typo (again) they=there.


47 posted on 12/08/2012 2:54:07 PM PST by Ditter
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To: NYer

My children all have a biblical name in their names:
Anne
Marie
Louise
John David
Patrick


48 posted on 12/08/2012 2:54:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer

Once several years ago, a talk show host used a map of Wisconsin and pointed out some names that would appeal to certain people, like Kenosha and
Waukeshaw. Nice names, don’t you think?


49 posted on 12/08/2012 2:59:04 PM PST by MondoQueen
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To: NYer

At least some black comics are getting mileage from the naming thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd7FixvoKBw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gODZzSOelss


50 posted on 12/08/2012 3:02:03 PM PST by Disambiguator (America chose...poorly.)
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