While mainstream media thought it was comical that basketball star Ronald William Artest legally changed his name to Metta World Peace, we had definite second-hand embarrassment. Like many others (um, Chad Ochocinco), World Peace made a choice to take his family-rooted name and exchange it for something unique and flashy. But, in this day in age, his choice is no surprise.
In a piece at Madame Noire, The Manifesto, a teacher with African American students, breaks down five reasons why names like “Chandelier”, “Diamond”, “Ladashia” and “Q’Kavarimantis” are only hurting our children. Among the reasons is the need for them to seek professional employment in the future. “Being creative is cool, but I think we’ve come to a point—Black folks, and all folks really—where the names we’re choosing for our children are going a bit too far,” says The Manifesto, who’s been burdened with a unique name as well.
Yes, athletes, rappers, and basically anyone with money have leeway in what they choose to call themselves. But, the general populace is not as fortunate. This point was proven in a 2004 study by the University of Chicago that found job applicants with race-neutral names were 50 percent more likely to receive a callback for interviews than applicants with similar resumes and “cultural” names. “What’s wrong with ‘Andrew’. Is there a problem with ‘Tracy’? Hell, if you want to go cultural, run with ‘Malik’! But there’s no accounting for ‘Dejalatasia’ or some such name that will take your kids through hell on the playground,” the writer said.
Does the writer have a point, or does the unparalleled success of people named Barack, Oprah, and Condoleezza suggest otherwise?