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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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To: Noumenon

Gee, I miss my old dominatrix, Urethra Monsoon.


51 posted on 12/08/2012 3:02:53 PM PST by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: NYer

The ‘Curse of Individualism.’ Only from the HRC!


52 posted on 12/08/2012 3:03:19 PM PST by Misterioso ( "Those who grant sympathy to guilt, grant none to innocence." - Ayn Rand)
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To: Zeneta; pennyfarmer; trisham
I was at a McDonalds in Baltimore many years ago, and the girl behind the counter had a name tag that read, “Baby Girl”

What a moniker to carry through life, especially in the senior years!

For many catholics, names were chosen from the list of saints. By choosing a saint’s name you acknowledge this fact and ask a particular saint to assist you in bringing up the child; the saint becomes the child’s patron and a role model for the child.

Dear pennyfarmer, I copied you to this response to demonstrate the absurdity and selfishness in naming children according to whim. There is nothing wrong with having a unique name but, at least, make is something meaningful! How meaningful is it for a boy to grow into adulthood with the name ESPN ... especially, if he doesn't like sports! And what about newborn girl named "Hashtag"! What is the meaning of that name? I have even heard of children named "artichoke" and "cappuccino".

Compare these to names like: John - God is gracious, or Daniel - God is my judge. There are thousands of such names that carry strong significance. Why inflict such arbitrary names, based on elements or nothing, on a newborn child. Who are their role models? Parental selfishness ... is the only explanation.

53 posted on 12/08/2012 3:05:44 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: sean327

There was also a minor movie actress by that name, who was the wife of a Mesa, Arizona car dealer.


54 posted on 12/08/2012 3:10:01 PM PST by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: Joe 6-pack; Noumenon

And Chlamydia, and the lovely and popular Candida Albicans.


55 posted on 12/08/2012 3:12:15 PM PST by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: MondoQueen

Well, I can see the name “Madison.”

And for some, I suppose a fitting name would be “Devil’s Lake.”


56 posted on 12/08/2012 3:20:47 PM PST by Erasmus (Zwischen des Teufels und des tiefen, blauen Meers)
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To: Lee N. Field

My co-workers’ baby names this year seem to be unisex: Briley, Brailey, Layton, Braylon. All the moms are in their 20s.


57 posted on 12/08/2012 3:21:39 PM PST by NewCenturions
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To: Noumenon

You left out the infamous “G.G.” of Unintended Consequences.


58 posted on 12/08/2012 3:22:54 PM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Albion Wilde
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.

Isn't that the truth! Imagine the problem it poses for school teachers trying to figure out, not only how to pronounce the name, but be 'sensitive' to the child's gender for fear of being denounced by an offended parent. Ooops ... does that still apply in our unisex world?

God help this society that has run, full speed, into secularism and individualism.

59 posted on 12/08/2012 3:26:39 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: Lee N. Field
Congratulations on giving your daughter a beautiful and saintly name. Who better to be her guide through life than the Mother of God!

You'll know we've met up with Europe when the most popular boy's name becomes Mohammed (or any of its variant spellings).

60 posted on 12/08/2012 3:30:41 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: pennyfarmer

Oh pish-tosh. It bugs me that EVERY young kid and most younger people have these “unique” names, and basically NO traditional names. Society is throwing out its roots. Wouldn’t be so bad if only a few boys were named Aiden and Jayden rather than every one in the neighborhood and on TV.

I can despise trends if I want. Doesn’t mean I’m interested in regulations.

BTW, I’m Kristin, named after a Nobel-winning novel, no family names at all involved.


61 posted on 12/08/2012 3:30:41 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: the OlLine Rebel
I’m Kristin, named after a Nobel-winning novel

Uh, there is no Nobel Prize for novels.

62 posted on 12/08/2012 3:34:46 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Disambiguator

OMG...I LOL’d through those!


63 posted on 12/08/2012 3:39:26 PM PST by left that other site (Worry is the Darkroom that Develops Negatives.)
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To: Lee N. Field

Yeah, all the normal names are oriental.

I’m not crazy about Sinutab, but I’d be OK with Dristan.


64 posted on 12/08/2012 3:40:25 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Erasmus

I’m sick of Madison (who thought it’s best as girl name?), and every other “last name” first as well. That is another trend I am tired of!


65 posted on 12/08/2012 3:46:42 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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To: Revolting cat!

AUTHOR.


66 posted on 12/08/2012 3:48:58 PM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue./Technological progress cannot be legislated.)
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There’s always ‘Chlorine’.


67 posted on 12/08/2012 3:49:36 PM PST by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: NYer

All names were strange once.


68 posted on 12/08/2012 3:53:05 PM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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To: NYer

“Laquintas”

Named after where conceived?


69 posted on 12/08/2012 3:54:19 PM PST by dynachrome (Vertrou in God en die Mauser)
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To: Salvation

Louise and Patrick are in the Bible?


70 posted on 12/08/2012 3:55:09 PM PST by Yashcheritsiy (It's time to Repeal and Replace the Republican Party)
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To: perez24

What no ‘Trayler’?


71 posted on 12/08/2012 4:02:04 PM PST by loungitude (The truth hurts.)
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To: sean327

I went to junior high with an Aquanetta.


72 posted on 12/08/2012 4:04:53 PM PST by pbear8 (the Lord is my light and my salvation)
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To: NYer

Some popular redneck names around here . . Dakota, Cheyenne or Shyann, or Shian, Shawn, or Sean, or Shawna, or Seana, Amber, Crystal, or Krystal . . these are okay names, but have been driven into the ground with lots of repeats.


73 posted on 12/08/2012 4:13:08 PM PST by Twinkie (The WICKED walk on every side when EVIL men are exalted. Psalm 12:8)
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To: NYer

So, here’s something on this topic from 2006:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1606343/posts


74 posted on 12/08/2012 4:13:18 PM PST by 2nd Bn, 11th Mar (The "p" in Democrat stands for patriotism.)
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To: Albion Wilde

A few years ago at the Minnesota state girls high school basketball tourney, someone counted 14 variant spellings of ‘Caitlin’.


75 posted on 12/08/2012 4:36:59 PM PST by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: mjp
"maybe there is some hostility toward traditional American values by some groups that feel oppressed by them."

Then those groups should feel free to leave, and go live in other countries, where they would find out what "oppression" is. They have it better here than anywhere else in the world.

76 posted on 12/08/2012 4:50:50 PM PST by CatherineofAragon (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization)
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To: NYer
I know what you mean.

The names thing is really one facet of the huge numbers of soulless, atheist, feral people in the world.

And they come in all races.

The sheer ignorance of all standard concepts of civilization.

The complete lack of curiosity about history.

The complete obtuseness and luxuriating in stupidity and fecklessness.

The moronic tattoos, the speech and thought devoid of any meaning or significance.

Their minds are sewage, pure and simple.

Naming their kids is one way they show their grasp of the meaning and significance of an individual human life vis a vis the Creator, and the eternal and infinite universe.

Nihilism.

77 posted on 12/08/2012 4:51:51 PM PST by caddie
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To: Noumenon

A woman (race will not be mentioned) at the Food Bank I founded had twins. She told me she found the most beeyouteeful names for her new daughters at the hospital where they were born. Then she showed me pictures of her identical girls Gonorrhea and Syphilis. . . I am not kidding.


78 posted on 12/08/2012 4:54:01 PM PST by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: sean327

Fox 25 Boston used to have a news anchor named Anqunette Jamison. They called her Q for short.


79 posted on 12/08/2012 5:12:50 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: pennyfarmer

“I suppose this is one freedom you would all like to see go away?”

Good question to ask little “Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii”? Remember her?

My own legal name is a nickname for a more formal name. My Mom thought the formal name was too long and they would call me the nickname anyway, so why bother naming me the formal name. The nickname would do. Thanks mom, not. I can tell her why she should have named me the formal name and called me by the nickname. The answer is simple R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That’s why.


80 posted on 12/08/2012 5:25:35 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: Zeneta

I remember being waited on by a waitress named Glee. I always thought that was an odd name.


81 posted on 12/08/2012 5:27:11 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: NYer

I’m simultaneously amused and irritated by dippy parents who really think by giving their child a weird name, they will make the kid a unique individual.


82 posted on 12/08/2012 5:29:59 PM PST by driftless2
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To: perez24
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.

Blacks in Maryland, and many other places around the east coast, has some distinct subcultures. Maryland blacks who are middle class and suburban, of whom there are many, have a distinct culture different from inner city blacks, and basically want nothing to do with inner city culture, at least in mixed company. When they go to work, they dress in suits and ties. They speak with no ebonics, and they are very, very serious about education. Many of them will have master's degrees or higher. They would probably have nothing to do with these names.

83 posted on 12/08/2012 5:33:22 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: hinckley buzzard

Don’t forget the Jaydens, Haydens, Kaydens, Baylees, Haylees, and all the girls given last names for first names.


84 posted on 12/08/2012 5:33:51 PM PST by driftless2
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To: Tupelo

My husband used to worked with a man named Void.


85 posted on 12/08/2012 5:35:37 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: the OlLine Rebel
"trend....tired of"

Thank you sir. Me too.

86 posted on 12/08/2012 5:40:34 PM PST by driftless2
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To: Verginius Rufus

Centuries back and even now, the mother’s maiden surname was used as a child’s first name. Though sometimes they used a grandmother or great grandmother’s surname if it had special meaning or was well know. That’s how there came to be several generations of men named Dummer Sewall. Yes, Dummer, I think it was a maternal great great grandmother’s maiden name, if I remember correctly.


87 posted on 12/08/2012 5:43:57 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: This I Wonder32460

My husband used to worked with a man named Void
= = = = == = = = = = =

Guess his wife is named Null?


88 posted on 12/08/2012 5:48:33 PM PST by xrmusn (6/98 "It is virtually impossible to clean the pond as long as the pigs are still crapping in it")
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To: Lee N. Field

Madison is the made up name of a slutty character from a movie. The made up black names have more dignity.


89 posted on 12/08/2012 5:51:16 PM PST by Varda
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To: loungitude

Trayler as in Trayler Howard, the name of the actress who played Mr. Monk’s assistant. The mother of the character, Julie. What was the character’s name? Oh yeah, yeah his 2nd assistant was Natalie. Love that show.


90 posted on 12/08/2012 5:53:10 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: Vince Ferrer

Maybe they do...but as a group they vote for nobama and other LIB losers.


91 posted on 12/08/2012 5:57:13 PM PST by ogen hal (First amendment or reeducation camp?)
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To: xrmusn

Possibly. Though Possiblee could have been their daughter.


92 posted on 12/08/2012 5:57:47 PM PST by This I Wonder32460
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To: Erasmus

Oh, you rascal. You made me laugh three times!


93 posted on 12/08/2012 6:00:53 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (asdfg)
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To: NYer

I know a

Holly Holly and Jody Jupiter


94 posted on 12/08/2012 6:04:38 PM PST by Blackirish (Forward Comrades!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Revolting cat!
OK, Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, by Sigrid Undset, Nobel for Literature 1928.
95 posted on 12/08/2012 6:05:31 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o (asdfg)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Google found it for me from “Kristin Nobel Prize”. Another forgotten Nobel Prize author.


96 posted on 12/08/2012 6:12:04 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: NYer

Oh, well. We named our only daughter Mary. She’s been extremely successful and never had to justify her name.

There was a time, as I recall, that you could not baptize a child in the Catholic Church unless s/he had a saint’s name. It could have been a middle name, but somewhere in there s/he had to have a saint’s name.

Like Msgr. Pope, over the years and decades I’ve worked extensively with DC’s African American community. One older (60ish) black woman was horrified by her grand-children’s names. Only one had a ‘normal’ (and, to her, acceptable) name.


97 posted on 12/08/2012 6:21:05 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: This I Wonder32460
Woodrow Wilson ended up with his mother's maiden name as his first name (although it was really his middle name--his first name was Thomas).

There are some well-known cases of first names that started as surnames: Jefferson Davis, Franklin Pierce, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On FNC this morning one of the programs had a Tobin Smith (a regular on that show). I wonder if Tobin is a family name. If your last name is Smith there may be an incentive to find an uncommon first name for your kid.

98 posted on 12/08/2012 6:35:18 PM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Varda

“Madison is the made up name of a slutty character from a movie.”

Perhaps in most cases that is true, but the only Madison I know personally is the daughter/granddaughter of very active DARs who have a familial connection with the Madison family of VA.


99 posted on 12/08/2012 6:43:34 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: pennyfarmer

“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.”

I am all for you having the freedom to name your kid anything you wish. You can name your kid “Qwerty-uiop” for all I care.

I also support having the freedom to make fun of you for it.


100 posted on 12/08/2012 6:43:49 PM PST by Nik Naym (It's not my fault... I have compulsive smartass disorder.)
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