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

posted 5 years ago in Babies
Post # 151
Member
2318 posts
Buzzing bee

echomomm :   I agree.  I like how you explained it.  

Apple_Blossom :  Most sur names have meaning. They are passed down through generations and they subtly tell the world where you come from and give clues to your heritage.  Yes, you can tell many people’s heritage from their last name even though it only comes from one parent.  Its not your entire heritage, but part.  You name creates a sense of belonging within your cultural group.  You name also plays a part in forming your identity. 

I think there is a misunderstanding on this board about cultural appropriation applied to names.  Yes, it is a thing and yes it is offensive.  For many minority groups cultural identity is a struggle to hold on to. Is even more difficult to be proud of your heritage.  Naming your child a culturally significant name is not only keeping your culture alive in a world dominated by western culture but it is also giving your child an identity that is more representative of them.  It allows you to belong somewhere in a world where everything you see and encounter says that you do not belong.  

Furthermore, especially in the US there is a lot of name bais.  Historically ethnic sounding names have been discouraged and anglican (anything european) names prefered. Why is this important? Because your cultural identity begins to errode when you loose your language and names are a part of that.  Minorities have named their children culturally significant names for generations eventhough it was not well received.  

Another problem is the change in perception of the name because of the race of the holder. Like I said names that are not European are not seen as favorable, but suddenly using non-european names is “Trendy” and more acceptable because Euro-Americans are the ones doing it.  That is the cultural appropriation aspect of names. Even though there is more acceptance of diversity, why does it come in the form of using a name from a heritage that is not your own?   It is extreemly insensitive without actual interaction with the culture you are borrowing it from or even respect to other aspects of the people and culture that created it.  

In echomomm :  example she used Evangelical Christans using a Jewish name, but you just as easily substitue any culturally mainstreem family using a name from any minority group that they themselves no not even respect or acknowledge the importance of.  Even if they are not aware of their actions, it is still cultural appropriation. 

I do feel children’s names should be unique and also be meaningful, but there are other ways of accomplishing that without using other’s cultures.  

Post # 152
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Lokie85 :  I just think this is weird. Why do you care so much what others do?  If someone named their child my child’s name and they were of a different ethnicity, I wouldn’t care one tiny bit. This whole policing of other people’s lives must be exhausting. 

Post # 153
Member
244 posts
Helper bee

hafh2016 :  I agree no one Jewish would ever name their child Cohen.  I just think it’s stupid for a first name, like Gwyneth’s daughter’s name Apple.  Yes, my tastes are offended, but I don’t think it’s offensive.

Post # 154
Member
244 posts
Helper bee

Lokie85 :  it must be very tiring to be you.

Post # 155
Member
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

fiver :  while it may be a Native American name originally. Anybody can use it. Sorry  but no sorry if it offends you. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

Post # 156
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: February 2018

Lokie85 :  Thank you for summing it up nicely. I think a lot of PPs are missing the point or being deliberately disingenuous on this topic in order to ridicule OP which is completely unfair. Why can’t we have a discussion about this without people immediately getting angry and dismissive?

I don’t care what people name their kids, not my circus, etc. But I think you’d have to be naive not to see the insensitivity, however mild you perceive it to be, of (usually) white people using certain names for their children to be ‘creative’ – and that if used by someone of the original ethnicity would be a source for ridicule or otherness in the western world.

Sure, it’s not the end of the world. I guess I see it more of a distasteful trend.

Post # 157
Member
2318 posts
Buzzing bee

calicotabby : Thank you, after reading  allywed : and  jannigirl : snarky comments it is clear to me that thee are so many people that either deliberately disingenuous or unwilling to examine their own ignorance to something they know nothing about.   The point of OP’s post flew over the heads of 99% of those who made comments.  I am guessing it is becasue they can not relate to OP’s issue on any level.  It is one thing to be naive, but being dismissive and insensitive is quite another.  

Thank You for pointing out that “(usually) white people using certain names for their children to be ‘creative’ – and that if used by someone of the original ethnicity would be a source for ridicule or otherness in the western world.”  This is EXACTLY what I was getting at with out trying to mix up race/ethnicity/culture in the conversation and getting more complex than what is called for on an open forum about weddings and babies. I see it needed to be said.

 It is not that I care what you name your child but being a cultural and ethnic minority you see the world differently.  The names OP was questioning the use of is a Native American name.  If you can’t understand how this is insensitive you are blind.  Native Americans are ridiculed, subjugated, lied to, stolen from, stigmatized, euthanized, mocked and a host of other atrocities since before this country was founded.  Their culture including language and dress has been mocked and continues to be the butt of jokes.  A white person using a Native American name to be cool, when other aspects of the culture are mocked is cultural appropriation.  

Like wise in the Cohen name example presented earlier.  Cohen is a version of a Jewish surname, Kohen.  In the US Jewsih culture is often mocked and vilified. Many Jewish families have even changed their last name to sound (and read on paper) less Jewish. So now white people want to use it as a trendy baby name while other aspects of jewish culture are still mocked.  That is also cultural appropriation.  

“It doesnt matter in the grand scheme of things.” This attitude in general is offensive.  Maybe it is hard to understand when your culture and ethnicity is everywhere and is also accepted, but do not be dismissive to the issue.  It may not matter to you, but obciously OP is experiencing some sort of negative feelings and the reasons are very deep rooted.  She probably isnt the only one.   

I would love for a discussion on the bee to be more than “your policing of other people’s lives must be exhausting.”  when that is said it tells me that no one cares.  We cant even have a conversation about these distasteful trends in any meaningful way by those that are affected and unaffected by it.  I guess anything beyond “should I buy a white or ivory wedding dress?” should be avoided.   

Post # 158
Member
244 posts
Helper bee

Lokie85 :  I am just addressing the Jewish thing because I can see that you’ll continue to be offended if I touch upon anything else. I am a Kohanim, so please don’t tell me how to feel.  I don’t give a rat’s ass if people decide to name their sons Cohen.  I have more important things to worry about than to be offended by names.  

Edit: also, I have no idea what you are talking about in terms of Jewish culture being vilified in America.  I have repeatedly felt that in Europe and in Latin America, but never in the US. 

Post # 159
Member
9806 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

So does this mean we can’t name our future son that Hawaiian name cause Darling Husband is Chicano and I’m Slovak?

Well, shit.

Post # 160
Member
2394 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Yeah. People get their feelings hurt far far too easily. Seriously. Enough. Now you want to dictate what people should name their babies so they don’t offend some stranger somewhere? Enough. I feel like telling people that they need to focus on improving themselves rather than working so hard at being offended by others’ lives.

Post # 161
Member
244 posts
Helper bee

jannigirl :  Amen!  (I guess even the word amen is cultural appropriation if you think about it, lol.) 

Post # 162
Member
1273 posts
Bumble bee

A lot of “traditional European names” have their basis in other cultures. Example: Mary, Benjamin, Paul, Ann, Elizabeth, etc. are all Jewish names. People assume they are European though, so I guess after being “appropriated” for so long they actually become a part of that culture. I have a friend whose family is Filipino, but he has a common American name. Appropriation? I doubt anybody would cry foul over it, they would just say his family was trying to make it easier for him to fit in with his new culture. So really, it is “assimilating”, not appropriating.

Furthermore, you can have a relative just a couple generations back who appears to have a completely different ethnicity from you, but are still part of your recent genetic makeup. For example, Miss Japan was 1/2 African American. Also, my old neighbor is 1/4 Japanese and she is white with blond hair, blue eyes. Would their parents be wrong to give them a Japanese name? Nope, though admittedly it would seem out of place. It is actually a part of their heritage.

Post # 163
Member
2318 posts
Buzzing bee

allywed :  Just because you personally do not feel Jewish culture being villified  in the US doesnt mean that it doesnt happen.  There are many examples in pop culture that I could point out, but, I can agree that the US is more tollerant of Jewish culture and people than many other cultures.  But that tollerance has limits and Jews are still too often pictured with negative connotations.  

slomotion :  No body is saying you Can’t name you kid a Hawaiian name.  All I am saying is that what you see as benign may not be from someone elses point of view.  Understanding, that fact is at the root to understanding what cultural appropriation is.   

nowyouareaghost :  You are seriously missing the point.  

Post # 164
Member
1273 posts
Bumble bee

Lokie85 :  That’s funny, because I seriously don’t care about your opinion. I wasn’t replying to your rambling post, I was just making a comment on the thread.

Post # 165
Member
244 posts
Helper bee

Lokie85 :  If Jewish people start flipping out over ridiculous slights and “offenses,” such as what others want to name their children, I suspect many Americans will become a lot less tolerant towards them.  Please worry about yourself and let me worry about me and mine.  Thanks.

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