Why I didn't give my child a "ghetto" name

Why I didn't give my child a "ghetto" name
Go 2 Mommy and the toddler formerly known as Go-2-Baby

The internet has been buzzing all day due to the discriminatory comments Raven-Symone made about people with nontraditional, often referred to as “ghetto’ names. It all started when one of her co-hosts, Whoopi, brought up the topic of people being discriminated upon based on their names. This was a finding from a recent study, that honestly shouldn’t be new news to anyone.

I don’t agree with Raven’s perspective one bit, but that’s a completely different post in itself. The former Cosby kid, proudly shared on-air that she wouldn’t hire someone with a name like Watermelondrea. Of course that name is pretty far fetched, but it was along the lines of some of  the names thrown out in the YouTube clip they aired on the show right before she made her comments. The video itself is supposed to be humorous, but it’s pretty annoying.

I’ve always read about studies that resulted in similar findings, and heard about people who admitted to discriminating on others based on the names they were given at birth. Even though we can’t really control our names, it could be a factor that prevents us from getting employment, and ultimately shapes the way people perceive us. I didn’t want my child to go through any of this. I didn’t want her name to become a hindrance to her, much like mine had become for me.

I thought about how hard it was for people to  pronounce my first name. I’ll never forget how irritated I was when I was called to walk across the stage at my undergraduate commencement ceremony. There I was on a huge day of my life, and I had to walk across the stage after hearing my name butchered yet again. My family and friends still cheered just as loud, because they knew what she meant to say. From that moment on, I vowed to drop my first name and become known by my middle name.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with unique names, or nontraditional spellings for classic names. I just didn’t want to take that chance with my child. I wanted to give her a name that she wouldn’t grow up to resent me for. I’m over it now, but there was a time that I cringed whenever someone spoke my government name. I had become used to coworkers, friends, peers and some family members calling me by my middle name or one of my various nicknames, that hearing my first name became annoying.

My name doesn’t bother me half as much now. Knowing everything I’d experienced with my name, I couldn’t imagine putting my own child through it.  I think many parents try so hard to be different and creative, that they don’t realize that they are naming a child something that may not always fit them. Some names that are cute for a baby or toddler, might not work well for a grown woman or man. I’ll display my creativity elsewhere, not in my child’s name.


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  • This is great, Nicole. I agree, a kid's name isn't a place for cutesy. I always was amazed at the number of "stars" who named their kids stuff like Moon Unit, Apple, Blanket, Rumer, etc. Childhood is difficult enough without being saddled with a bullshit name!

  • I agree with Michelle! I have a nickname that sticks with me today, and I'm 48 years old. The worst part is that my mom says it loudly (to this date) around others who are not familiar with it. When I lived at home, my employers would happen to call and she would shout it out when telling me to come get the phone. I was the talk at work the next day, by the way. Celebs don't care because sometimes giving their children silly names are a publicity stunt. They believe their children won't have a problem with money. That may be true but I'm sure that eventually they may want a career of their own--and develop a inferiority complex about it. This calls for a shrink...

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    In reply to Sabrina Nixon:

    Thanks to you both for reading. Yes, children can definitely be cruel and names are usually one of the main things kids get teased about. I thankfully was never teased for mine, but I still don't like it lol. And yes, a lot of celebrities seem to get a kick out of naming their children whatever they want. I don't mind unique names, but some are just crazy. Sabrina, I'm now curious about that nickname lol.

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