Post # 1
We have decided on the name Langston for our little boy. The obvious first thought for most people will be Langston Hughes which we are fine with, as he was a lovely literary figure and poet. However, due to that prominent African American association, is it strange or inappropriate to name a white baby boy Langston?
Post # 2
As a Brit it sounds American to me and that’s all.
Post # 3
This is a really weird question to me. I think like zero people will associate the name Langston with being an “african american only name”.
Post # 4
I mean when I hear your baby name I will immediately think of Langston Hughes, and his work snuggled right up with the idea of white people appropriating black stuff, so you may get some side-eye from certain corners, but not like naming a white kid Oprah or something. But more generally I will just think “what a cool literary name.” (My kid is named after a poet also.)
Regardless of whether or not the side-eye reaction is valid or makes sense, I think parents have to be realistic and consider the reactions their kids’ names are likely to receive when deciding on those names. If this idea is in your head and it bothers you, that’s not something to ignore.
Now, Rachel Dolezal naming her kid Langston, that is offensive. But that’s because it’s Rachel Dolezal.
Post # 5
Just be prepared to explain it, repeat it and spell it to people constantly. I worked as a nanny before I had my daughter and it made me want to choose a more common name for her. People always want to know your baby’s name everywhere you go and I noticed from being out an about with my various nanny kids, that no one ever questioned the common names. With the less common names, people would misshear me, ask me how to spell them,ask me why their parents named them that, asked me questions about their religions, etc. I found it pretty annoying and I didn’t want my daughter to have to deal with that her whole life.
Post # 6
- Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom
Unusual, yes. Inapropriate, no. If you like the name, go for it 🙂
Post # 7
I have heard Langston used for both Boys and Girls! I would assume that is was a family name because Langston is a last name, not an African or African-American name, even though most associate it with Langston Hughes, the African-American poet. I think it would make a great name for a kid! If you like it, go for it.
Post # 9
Never heard of it before so I don’t associate it with anything!
Post # 10
Some names are so universal that they aren’t associated with anything (like John or Elizabeth) but some names are used much more by certain groups/ethnicities/races than others. Madison is a much more “white girl” name than, say, Tanya. Preston is much “whiter” than say, Isaiah. Naming a white Christian baby Muhammed would be odd to most people. I think the OP’s question is valid. Freakonomics (great book!) has an interesting section on names…..
Post # 11
I love Langston Hughes. Hands down my favorite poet/literary being. His being black just so happens to be icing on the cake. However, in real life I don’t know any black people named Langston and I don’t know any white people named Langston. People may make that connection when they first hear your son’s name – “Langston, oh like Langston Hughes!” – but that’s more of recognition thing than a “wow thats a hella black name” thing. It definitely works the other way around too, though. For instance, when I first started watching the New Girl and was introduced to the (black) character Winston, I didn’t think “wow, what a white name, *insert network* has got some explaining to do.” Rather, I thought “ooooh like Winston Churchill.” I certainly think there are other names of “icons” that people would likely associate as being more “black” – i.e. Kanye.
Despite being a valid question, I don’t think this should really be a concern. My fiancé and I are both black and plan on naming our first kid (boy or girl) after a well known, old, dead, white dude. If anyone asks why, easy answer: we wanted to. If anyone finds it odd that we chose that name, well good for them. And if anyone has the gall to question our kid about it (rudely or in a way that makes him or her feel uncomfortable), well they can go eat cake. 🙂
Post # 12
I didn’t even consider Langston having a racial connotation. It’s a nice name. You must have a good reason for choosing it.