Have you seen any of the message boards on parent/baby sites about names? The boards are chock full of people giving their opinions about what to name one’s baby, and these people are are, each and every one of them, foaming at the mouth in their passion about their choice. And most of them are terrible names. Like glue your eyeballs shut names.
A friend of a friend just named her second baby. Ye gods! I am sure she’s a fairly intelligent, educated, and lovely lady, but the name she came up with is horrifically and inextricably bound to a particular culture. Of which they do not comprise a part. Imagine a Southern Baptist preacher named Ashraf Muhammad Al-Kabir. Or a redneck named Edward Harrington Campbell III.
It’s not that I object to her using the name- as incongruous as it will always seem to me and to many others (including my friend and the cultural group to which the name pertains). It’s the question that pops up whenever I think of this situation- did the mother and father just not know the connotations of the name? OR, did they simply ignore the connection to the cultural group, choosing something that “sounded nice”? Either way displays a disturbing trend to choose names based on an ignorance of their historical, cultural, or religious significance. Which means, and I think I’m not making a HUGE leap here, people are being dumb.
Now, the PC argument here is to say that a name means very little, that people should be judged by who they are and not the label they have, that we should all be more tolerant and accepting of what amounts to an aesthetic choice…blah blah blah. Sure. In an ideal world. But call me crazy, the implications of a name are vast. People have done studies on employers’ reactions to resumes with various types of names, and, more often than not, the first impression a potential employer has is determined by the name on the page. True, we can’t control those reactions which are based on personal experience (like if the employer’s cheating ex-wife’s name is the same as the applicant’s), but we can try to give our kids a fighting chance! My dad’s gastroenterologist’s nurse’s name is “Charmin”. Try not to have any associations to that one.
All of the names we have on our “name list” were chosen after research, discussion, and debate. Do I owe this decision anything less? It’s the primary way that the child will define itself, and, by extension, how the world will define the child. How do people justify things like Tyffanye and Caeden? Or, like the reality “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, where all five (six?) girls are named with K-names (not that…I actually watch that, or anything…) Is there any sensibility left in naming our kids, or has it degenerated into “whatever sounds pretty”?