Monday, January 21, 2008

The Name Game

Being pregnant, I realize that in 23 or so weeks, my husband and I will be responsible for naming our child. This is big. This is something that will affect their future in infinite ways. It will effect how others view my child as well as how they view themselves. Therefore, I pay super-close attention to people's names; I read baby-name books, visit baby-name websites, read all the credits from movies, etc.

Working in a school, I have access to hundreds and hundreds of names. Great resource, right? Actually, no. 99.8% of our student population is black, so the name pool available to me is not typical of our society. It is typical of the African-American society, of which I am not part.

Don't get me wrong, some names of my students are "typical" American names, such as Leslie, Matthew, Lee, Daniel, and Lauren. These are, in fact, a little too mainstream for me. I'm trying to go for something a little less run-of-the-mill.

There are the names at the other end of the spectrum: names that are typically only African-American, like DeAngelo, Antoine, Terell, Jamel, Aquinetta, Lashawna, etc. I have to rule these out, too. Not that they're terrible names, but I am having a white baby after all.

Then there are names that crack me up. It's not that they are ugly names or anything, but they are NOUNS and sound funny as names to me. These are names that I have heard this year alone. Some are in my class, some are just in my school: Mystery, Destiny, Heaven, Mahogany, and Symphony.

A couple of months ago, this was an announcement on our P.A. system. I swear: "Mystery and Destiny, please report to the main office." I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I just sounded so...existential.

No comments: