What’s In a Name?


I read a column on Yahoo Shine of a young adult girl who decided to change her name her mother gave her from Keisha to Kylie after years of bullying, racial profiling and bad stares over two facts: she’s biracial and the meaning of the name based on what society think means.

Her mother Christy Austin named her daughter because she could be more identifiable and empowered by her African-American roots. Her father (as always) was nowhere to be seen as Christy took care of Keisha herself. But for her daughter feeling empowered because of a name many times often gave negative remarks, even if they don’t know her close enough. In a non-diverse community, the fact of discrimination goes beyond looks and judge upon names no matter how beautiful and unique it is. Keisha endured years of racial profiling from ignorant teachers to even her so-called friends and even strangers.

Here’s the meaning of the name Keisha from Think Baby Names.com:

Keisha \ke(i)-sha\ as a girl’s name is pronounced KEE-sha. Modern name: possibly short form of Lakeisha, which is probably from Aisha (Arabic) “alive and well”. Also possibly from Hebrew Kezia, via Keesha, meaning “cassia tree”. The name is popular with African-American families. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam.
Since the meaning is “alive and well” it sort of empowering, right? Now this is what people (including ignorant, racist dumb people including Blacks) what they think about the name Keisha:
Prostitute, Ho, Drug User, Lazy, Marijuana and criminal.
Keisha wasn’t comfortable or proud with the name and it took a last straw where a pop star named Kei$ha emerged into the music scene and it became unbearable for her how people reacted as soon as she tells her name. She decided against her mother and a best friend requests to change her name paying 175 dollars and making it done. Now her name is Kylie.
Most racial profiling in names (a trend that absolutely is as discriminatory as looking at a potential candidate) are related with African-American names that could jeopardize their future just because they don’t have an white name like Tom, Scott, Bob, Rose, Amanda, Linda. And parents have the biggest mistake of naming their kids names that affects their growth in society.
My example, is even thought I have an associates I have been denied a lot just because I used to have both Hispanic names. As soon as I got married, my last name was changed to an American last name and I got job after job ever since. Not the ones that I like based on my “credentials” or experience but what I could come up with. My main name decided to shorten it since it was turned into a tongue twisting game. But never cross in my mind have been thinking of changing my name to a more appealing to whites when I go and find employment or relationship or even getting a house or a car. It is discriminatory when employers, landlords, teachers judge you because of your color, but what they can’t overcome is the meaning of the name. The more “ghetto” it has, the less chance the person gets to get employment and housing. It had to be put on the anti-discriminatory laws so they would stop it or face jail time or high penalties and fines.
This poor girl endured so much and she’s not the only one or the last who faced such a humiliating teasing, bullying tactic not because she’s bi-racial but she have a unique name with negative and racist meaning.

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