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

posted 5 years ago in Babies
Post # 121
Member
3223 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think names really come with a context to them… And if your name, in your context, is “off”, there is something jarring. I knew a couple of white girls named Akiko, and it always felt like appropriation. On the flip side, when I dated a spanish speaking guy living in Central America, his stepmother named his stepsiblings very deliberately American names that are hard to pronounce as native spanish speakers… When there were spanish versions of them. Think Stephen instead of Esteban. 

Post # 122
Member
5113 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

fiver:  I agree. I do think that as long as you understand the name and you have a reason to pick a cultural name that isn’t just “hey, this is cool” then that’s ok. I also don’t know anyone with a Native American name with white parents. As far as the sports teams go, I think there are ways to do it right and ways to do it wrong. Obviously, “red skins” or even “indians” would be considered derogatory by many people. But I also know that the Florida State Seminoles, for instance, have a great relationship with the Seminole tribe and that they are very involved with the school and the logo designs, marketing, etc. In that case, I think that the name is more one of honor. 

Post # 123
Member
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

fiver:  I don’t think that the OP meant cultural appropriation in the way you describe because she identifies as white/non-POC and came at this in terms of her culture being appropriated.

 

Post # 124
Member
2216 posts
Buzzing bee

Jabberwocky:  I think this depends also. From my personal and observed experience, I don’t think giving a white child a hard to pronounce, ethnic name necessarily goes over as well as you might assume it would. It might be harder to notice because most white people have “normal” names, but even white people who have harder to pronounce names (for ex immigrants) have a hard time with this. Those names get mispronounced and some people don’t want to bother to learn the pronunciation no matter what color skin you are. Some people do take interest in asking how a name is supposed to be pronounced, that I have noticed.

Post # 125
Member
1312 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: A very pretty church.

MissMarple:  Hmm…maybe. Good example from today. My partner and I both have fairly ‘ethnic’ and quite uncommon names. Both have two syllables and are intuitively easy to spell and pronounce. We went out looking at cars. When the guy took our names, he asked my partner to clarify…(he had spelt it incorrectly) then said “close enough”. Watching this happen over and over through the years we have been together, I can say sure, people confuse both our names for similar, more common names, but they only appologise/make an effort for me.

Post # 126
Member
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Taiki:  I have an eastern european friend whose name resembles an english word a little and everyone always says the english word because it’s “close enough.” 

For ex, if his name was the word sciatic (prn. seye-attic if you aren’t familiar) and they prn his name like the word skeptic. I know those aren’t names, but they are good examples of what I mean.

It drives him mad and he’s in the process of changing his name. I’m lucky my name is at least so unpronouncable when they see it that I tell them what I would like it to be pronounced as. 

Post # 127
Member
273 posts
Helper bee

I don’t see how it’s cultural appropriation. A huge majority of British names are biblical in nature, but that doesn’t mean the family have to be religious. As people immigrate to new societies, new blended societies are formed. The non-Irish parents of Siobhan or the non-Italian parents of Marco are just the modern equivalent of the first non-religious parents of a Sarah or a Ruth.

If the name is a very obscure foreign one or doesn’t fit the parents’ mother tongue pronunciation/spelling conventions then it would raise an eyebrow. But in the same way that I’d raise an eyebrow at parents who make up unique spellings for their baby names. A little white boy called Abayomrunkoje or Atahualpa probably has parents very similar to those calling their daughters Mykennzii or Sumannfa.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  AmyJCardiff.
Post # 128
Member
9044 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

There is nothing more hilarious than when someone takes a word from our language and uses it as a name and neglects to do the proper research into what the word actually means. You want to name your child “bum” in our language go right ahead. 

What I do find disrespectful is when people take the names of significant or religous figures from another culture when it is lore for them not to be used. Nothing wrong with sharing culture but have some respect for the culture when you do choose a name.

Post # 129
Member
1952 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I read through the first few pages of this thread, all very interesting. I just wanted to point out that during the late 60s and early 70s it was very popular for African Americans to name their children names with Muslim origin. Many of them identified with Muslim religion but some did not. Did you know Quest Loves real name is Ahmir-Khalib? naming babies outside of your culture is nothing new and has been going on for decades. 

Post # 130
Member
730 posts
Busy bee

Interesting question… my Fiance and I both have names from our ethnic backgrounds, and I like that, because our names are symbols of our history, culture, etc. Names are very tied in with identity, and I like having one that reflects my background. That said, I wouldn’t be offended or feel like it was cultural appropriation if someone from another culture used a name from mine. If it’s a nice name, I’ll understand it, and they might have some emotional connection to it.  Either way, I don’t feel like it fetishizes or ostracizes my culture.  If, say, a non-Jewish couple names their kid Moshe and randomly dresses him up in a kippah or something else religious, it’s really fucking weird. But if they like the name Moshe? That’s cool. I like the name Moshe too. This protectionism over names feels a bit reflective of some insecurity. What’s going to happen, they’ll start making latkes next? And that’s bad for us how?

Post # 131
Member
730 posts
Busy bee

franklymydearidont:  I really didn’t read the 8 pages of comments so sorry if this has already been covered, but I read it as her identifying as Jewish, a culture that comes with its own set of names.

Post # 132
Member
730 posts
Busy bee

I just read through some more comments and realized how subjective this is. I don’t feel very weird about people from other cultures drawing from mine, but I totally see how one could feel weird about it. Fiverr’s teepee concept somehow drove that home for me, I guess because it seems like trivializing a part of Native culture, and not simply exploring it or appreciating another culture and history. But I don’t necessarily think a baby name is the same as a toy teepee… but I also now completely understand how someone could be offended. The “omg wouldn’t it be funny if we named a white kid Shaniqua” is SUPER offensive BS though.

Post # 133
Member
1229 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Nontra:  I significantly doubt she is Jewish because a Jew would know that using Cohen is more than just cultural appropriation. It is sacrelige. I know this and I’m not Jewish.

Because of this, I specifically assume that if a child is named Cohen as a first name, the family is not knowledgeable about Judaism.

Post # 134
Member
1992 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I’m of the camp that a mother can name her child whatever the hell she wants, and who am I to judge.  Now I may poke fun of a name when hearing it for the first time (I’m just a bit silly sometimes), but in all actuality I really don’t care.  I was born in america and identify as black.  I also have a mix of Filipino, Native American and French thrown in there.  If I choose to name my little girl a popular Filipino name like Milaya, I’m surprised that anyone would look at me (I just look like a black girl), and be offended or think its wierd. If I deside to name my son Reza, which is a name that I’ve always adored, that I have no cultural ties to, then I can’t imagine why anyone would care.  Furthermore, If a white girl wants to name her kid Lakeshia, I couldn’t care less.  

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  chaibella.
Post # 135
Member
730 posts
Busy bee

franklymydearidont:  Some Jews would consider it offensive, others might not even care. There’s not an overall policy on this.

 

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