What’s in a name? Parents spend time choosing just the right name for a new baby.
Many times parents select something meaningful like a family name, or something reflective of their culture.
What happens when you find the perfect name for your baby and your friends deem it cultural appropriation? One conflicted new dad recently dealt with this.
The Redditor going by the name THROWAwaybabynam turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subreddit and asked:
“AITA for using an Indigenous name for my White baby?”
The OP, or Original Poster, went into deeper detail about their family roots and baby name:
“I (28m) am White as snow born in Switzerland. My wife(25f) comes from Paraguay where they keep their Indigenous culture present in their everyday life.”
”The Indigenous language is recognised as official, is taught in schools, is used and mixed with Spanish and I saw it even in my wife’s passport. The whole country is considered a mix because of the historic context but if you’re White, brown, Asian or Black you’re still Paraguayan.”
“So my wife moved to Spain when she was 11 and now she has the two nationalities. I have two other nationalities that are not Spanish. We decided that our kids are taking the Spanish and Swiss nationalities.”
”Wife still wanted to honor her culture so we chose the name Arami (Ara for short), which means little heaven and has more special meaning to us but doesn’t sound so weird that it could be awkward when she’s an adult.”
“The Paraguayan family loves the name. The European family also loves the name and they already know about the language.”
”When we posted about Arami’s arrival we used her name and I received some comments from European friends about the name being uncommon.”
“When I mention that it’s my wife’s language some of them told me it’s cultural appropriation because my daughter is not Latina and definitely not Indigenous and we’re contributing to the harasment of Indigenous people.”
”Also apparently my wife doesn’t look Latina enough despite being born there. Yes she is White and people assume she was born here until she tells the details but she is proud of her origins and we fully intend to teach it to our kids and visit enough to be connected to that side of our family.”
“I don’t know if we did the right thing now. I don’t want to hurt the Indigenous community but also the language and traditions of that country are present in our lives so when we chose the name cultural appropriation never crossed our minds.”
“Are we the aholes or are people overreacting?”
Redditors were asked to pass one of four judgements:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors thought OP was NTA for honoring his wife’s roots.
“NTA. Cultural appropriation is a serious issue when symbols or designs are stolen by non-Indigenous designers or companies and they profit from it. When people buy from those companies, it’s cultural appropriation.”
“People who buy from these culture vultures don’t learn the meanings of what the thieves stole and only the thieves are getting rich off the Indigenous culture they’re cheaply knocking off.”
“If an Indigenous person had a problem with the name, I’d hear them out to understand why. But you aren’t profiting from it, you know the meaning and it’s part of your wife’s culture.”