(Closed) "Offbeat" baby names – Cultural Appropriation?

posted 5 years ago in Babies
Post # 136
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I laugh at some of the names that are chosen for babies…. like Pirate? I heard the lead singer from Korn named his son that, that is so rediculous. 

But honestly, I don’t really care what people name their children. Society is a giant melting pot, we all have different backgrounds and a name, is just a name. I had no idea “Cohen” was jewish, and I have a few friends that are not jewish, and have named their sons Cohen. It’s popular and I think it’s a great name!

My daugher’s name is Mira (pronounced Meer-ah) I am Caucasian Canadian, with German, Irish and Scottish background, my husband is of African decent, he’s from Eritrea. Mira is not a “typical” name from any of our backgrounds, it’s actually derived from Latin, Slavic and Hindi. I think it’s a beautiful name, and if I “stole” it from another culture I don’t belong to, so be it. 

Post # 137
1213 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Nontra:  Ok sure, but it is still more than appropriation. Just like naming a child “Pope” would be more than appropriation of the Catholic faith.

If she thinks Jews are naming their sons Cohen, she is mistaken. That is what she typed in the OP.

Post # 139
160 posts
Blushing bee

Hmm, intersting thought OP. In today’s world, I think anything goes as far as names (clearly, lol). For example I’m not Italian (although my family is Eastern European from a Latin-based speaking country very similar to Italy) and I LOVE the name Matteo; however, I hate Matthew, the anglicized form of the name. If my husband liked the name as much as me, I would definitely name our son Matteo. No shame there.

Post # 140
310 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Future_Ms.Bostonceltics :  

That’s my grandma’s name (slavic) how dare you steal it! 

But seriously…people are set to get offended about anything nowadays. “Cultural appropriation” is now a witch hunt that I as a full on liberal refuse to partake in. (The reason I mention ‘liberal’ is because it seems to originate from good intentions of the left but is really escalating to fascist and censoring tendencies) If I wanna name my child Cohen (and I do because of my favourite artist) then I will. It’s a name, it doesn’t belong to anyone. Those who wanna be offended, will move onto another great cause to be offended by later…

Post # 142
3903 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

Smh.  🙃

Post # 143
582 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2017

Amerie27 :  Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice, aka the worst Spice) named her daughter Bluebell Madonna if that’s the woman you were quizzing us on!

Post # 144
54 posts
Worker bee

Wait a minute. Can we back up to the shirt story? OP, are you saying that you purchased and wore a shirt that said “everyone loves a Canadian girl” and you are not Canadian? And it didn’t even cross your mind when you purchased it?

Im sorry. That strikes me as suuuper weird!

Post # 145
1460 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I think people just pick names they like, without regard to culture- I don’t think its fair or accurate to assume anything based on a name. Also, I’m Jewish and grew up in a heavily Jewish community and have NEVER met someone with the first name Cohen (because its not a first name!!!). That’s kind of stereotypey and comes off poorly.

Post # 146
728 posts
Busy bee

You don’t know people’s culture just by their skin color. My husbands 4 grandparents are italian, mexican, native, and german. Each are 100% of each ethnicity. So if we named our child a name linked to ANY of those cultures it would be relative to our family but you probably wouldn’t know by just looking. So stop judging. 

ETA: not to say that I even agree that a child’s name has to relate to their culture but unless you know that person well how do you even know what their culture(s) is

Post # 147
6441 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Although I realize this is a necromancer thread, I have to say that IMO, your cultural heritage DOES matter.Other don’t agree with me, and that’s fine. Darling Husband is Dutch and wanted to name our son a certain name with a Dutch spelling. That would normally be fine, except in the US (where we live), that spelling would not be recognized as Dutch and most average people would simply assumed we named our son something we could not spell. I was not willing to go for that, and he didn’t want the name without the spelling he wanted. Likewise, I teach and have children in school with first names that DO NOT MATCH their surnames. Obviously, their parents did not care, and I would never dream of saying anything to anyone (except an online message board!) about it, but it does strike me as cultural appropriation.

For us, I would have felt that naming a child Cohen, Siobhan, Joachim, Akio, Fatma, and many others would have been disingenuous, regardless of how much we liked the sound. We are NOT Jewish or Irish or German or Japanese or Turkish (although our backgrounds may include some of these). IMO, there are thousands of perfectly good names with perfectly good spellings out there for whatever nationality a person is. Just because I like the sound of a particular name that is from an ethnic background that I do not share doesn’t mean I need to name my child that. There are thousands of perfectly good names from my own background, and I am sure one of them will suit me just as well.

Post # 148
2455 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

echomomm :  How do you know the student’s heritage based on their last name? My last name is a word in one language, but it only comes from my dad. My mom has a completely different ancestry.

Post # 149
1729 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

echomomm :  ummm…. I have a different point of view, probably because I live and teach in Hawaii.  Tons of students have first names that don’t “match” their last name. I’d say it’s super common here. In fact,  my own name doesn’t match my ethnicity. Shrugs…

Post # 150
6441 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Apple_Blossom :  You’re absolutely right, and I don’t. That is why I would never say a word to my coworkers, the child or the family. However, when a family is Evangelical Christian and names a child Cohen, I have to suspect there is some cultural approriation going on there that either the family did not realize or did not care about. Again, perhaps that child has some Jewish ancestry (though given the town I live in, its background, and the people who live here, I doubt it). Regardless, it is none of my business, and I would never say a thing to the child, the family or my coworkers.

However, it makes me that much more aware of the names I choose for my own children. The community I live in is VERY small and has a select number of surnames (all of which are Dutch). I would never intentionally stray from the background of our families simply to name my child something unusual, nor would I name a child something from a relatively unkown aspect of our ancestry in order to be unusual (like naming a child with a Dutch spelling that would not be recognized or understood outside of this community). Don’t misunderstand please: naming a child with a Dutch spelling WOULD be consistent with our ancestry, but that does not make the name more acceptable in the US as a whole. That matters to me, but I realize it does not matter to others.

My point is simply that I don’t see the reason people feel the need to be unusual or “unique”. Clearly, others feel differently about this, and as I said before, this may affect how I choose to name my own children, but other families feel differently.

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