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Biracial Mom Refuses To Give Son A ‘Black Name’ Because She Thinks It’ll Make His Life Harder


What’s in a name?

Some people will say… everything.

It’s a first impression.

It’s a calling card.

It’s identity.

Others will say… it’s just a name. Who cares?

A lot of people, that’s who.

Case in point…

Redditor djdkgjeis wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for shutting down all black names because I think it’ll make my son’s life harder?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My husband and I are having a baby.”

“I’m mixed race, half black and half white.”

“My husband is black.”

“We don’t know the gender yet but my husband prefers names that most people would call black names for boys.”

“Names like Trayvon, DeVonte, Marquis, etc.”

“I grew up with a name that is tied to black culture and hated it for most of my life.”

“I go by a shortened form of my name professionally (i.e Dee for Denaisha) because I have seen how people react to my government name.”

“I am sure I have been passed up for jobs because of how people perceive my name.”

“My husband has a name more commonly used for white boys (i.e Jake).”

“He wants a strong black name for our son because he never had that and believes that giving him a ‘white’ name to avoid racism isn’t helping anyone.”

“I don’t disagree but don’t want to use our son as a test dummy to change that.”

“This has become a battle.”

“I know that we both need to agree on a baby name but…”

“AITA for writing off all black names?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NAH. You both have perfectly valid points.”

“Why not give him one as a first and one as a middle name?”

“That way they’ll both be his legal names and he can make his own choice when he’s old enough to understand.” ~ Acatinmylap

“The point the husband is trying to make for naming his son a black name is to help have him have pride in his race, and to kind of give the message that it is okay to be black.”

“Naming him something white to benefit his future is a way to stay complicit with how the present is.”

“Instead of naming your kid something white, why don’t we all work to change the bias there is towards black names?”

“I’m not trying to say that they should name him one type of name or the other, but that’s a pretty crap reasoning to give a kid a ‘white name.'”

“They should pick something that they both like and not focus on what the connotations are.”

“The people who don’t involve themselves in the change are the reason it doesn’t happen.” ~ __Kassanova__

“I’m all for working to change the bias that exists in our society.”

“But the needle is still moving pretty slowly and in the meantime.”

“We still have to live in the world as it is.”

“I don’t blame OP for wanting to be pragmatic and think about what her kids’ lives will be like if change doesn’t come as quickly as we want it to.” ~ REDDIT

“I don’t have kids yet, but I’m looking for gender neutral names (like Alex), because when you work in S[cience], T[echnology], E[ngineering], and M[athematicsto] have a name that is obviously female can put your resume in the trash.”

“I will not fight for females rights using my children as ammunition.”

“I think the same applies in this case. Definitely NTA.” ~ Pame_in_reddit

“I do have kids and this conversation comes up frequently with my husband.”

“We want change in the world but we’re not willing to risk our kids or their futures by experimenting with things like this (one of us is a P[erspn] O[f] C[olor], one of us isn’t).”

“Like a commenter said up this thread a bit, why put your kid’s life on hard mode?”

“I totally agree with you (though I don’t think OPs husband is TA so my vote is actually NAH).”

“And to those who would say I’m part of the problem, that’s okay if you think that.”

“I don’t answer to anyone about my choices for my family except to my family – they live with these choices, not you.”  ~feistyfoodie

“I think I would put the white name first, black name second, but then call the kid by the black name from the start.”

“That way they’ll be more likely to identify with the black name, which seems to be what the dad is most concerned with.”

“But can use their ‘official’ first name for resumes (which addresses more of the mom’s concerns).”

“I feel like it would be weirder to drop your first name for a middle name on a resume if you still go by your first name.”

“But putting your ‘official’ first name and then saying ‘that’s my legal name, but everyone calls me by my middle name’ would seem pretty normal.”

“Although you’ve got a point about the spelling and pronunciation, so maybe ditch everything I just said.” ~ CanIBeWillyWonka

“NAH… but that doesn’t solve the hiring issue.”

“Resumes have full names and she pointed out her main issue is the jobs child could lose.”

“Like Jacob Stephen Smith will get job before Jacob Devonte Smith.”

“Sad but true OP should explain how she disliked growing up with her name.”

“I also have a made up name (my mom added extra letters to a traditional name) and it has definitely effected job opportunities.”

“With my child I chose a very classic sounding name and although she is still in school I feel like her name is received positively.”

“Also as someone who had her name mispronounced at every award and graduation ceremony, don’t do that to this innocent baby!”  ~ asystmd

OP returned with an update…

“I posted a month ago about a dilemma my husband and I were having with our baby’s name.”

“We had already decided on a girl’s name because it honors his mother but we’re stuck on a boy’s name.”

“My husband thought it was important for our son to have a name strongly tied to black American culture.”

“I wanted a more neutral name since I am biracial and grew up with a stereotypical black name.”

“We found out we are having a boy and decided on his name.”

“His name will be… Miles Trayvon.”

“We thought it was a perfect compromise.”

“My husband’s family tends to use middle names a lot so he’ll probably be ‘Tray’ to most of them.”

“When he’s in school his name will just be listed as Miles (last name).”

“He can officially be Miles T.”

“(Last name) if he doesn’t want to use Trayvon but he can also easily go by Trayvon if he feels more connected to that name.”

“This option gives him the choice, which my husband and I agreed was important.”

“My husband hated growing up with a stereotypical white boy name and said it caused some ribbing from people in his community who saw him as being less black.”

‘He talked about how in 8 Mile Eminem’s character says something like, ‘This guy’s a gangsta? His real name is Clarence.'”

“That’s not to say my husband ever wanted to be a gangsta.”

“He’s an actuary, lol but he said he felt like his name played a role in further isolating him from his black peers growing up.”

“I had the opposite experience.”

“My mom is white and my dad is black.”

“They decided on a stereotypical black name and I think it made my life harder.”

“Professionally I go by a nickname and I do personally as well.”

“When talking about it with my husband I realized it started early.”

“I remember being about 4 and being out with my white grandma.”

“A woman came up to me, touched my hair, told my grandma I was beautiful, and then asked what my name was.”

“Instead of saying my real name my grandma said, ‘Her name is Daisy.'”

“I attended an H[istorically] B[lack] C[olleges] and U[niversities] and finally felt comfortable with my given name.”

“But noticed a lot of seniors with black names used shortened versions of their names for job applications.”

“For example, Raquan Smith would put ‘Ray Smith.'”

“Demarcus Jones would put ‘Marcus Jones.'”

“Keshawnda Nelson would put ‘Shawna Nelson,’ etc.”

“They said you had to play within the system and I did that.”

“Anyway, sorry for the long update.”

“I just wanted to explain why this was such a big deal to both of us.”

“We didn’t really get deep into it until after I posted here so thanks for encouraging that dialogue.”

“Before anyone says it, I do realize some people will connect Trayvon to Trayvon Martin.”

“That’s not why we are using it.”

“I posted about this in namenerds and a lot of people were upset by it but I don’t mean to offend anyone.”

“It’s a family name on my husband’s side.”

“Thanks for all the Direct Messages but please stop sending me articles about the woman named Marijuana Pepsi and the black Spider-Man named Miles.”

“Thanks y’all.”

Well OP, it sounds like you and the husband are going to be just fine.

It’s great that y’all could figure this out peacefully.

This is a great start to your son’s future already.

Congrats and Good luck.