Thursday, April 13, 2006

What Did You Name That Child?

Wu Tang Clan founder and member RZA knows how to keep it all too real.

"...and the children of RZA and Mills have equally interesting names: Shaquasia, Melchizedek, Understanding and Eternity Diggs."

Recently the RZA filed for divorce from his wife of six years. Turns out my man had two kids outside of his marriage, God knows what those kids names are but Shaquasia? Melchizedek? Come on man.

When I was coming up in the 70's and 80's I remember girls being given extra long names like: Sheila Tawanda Porshe Mercedes Jackson. Uh, yes you read it right, that is all one name. And they would say all of that while chewing gum and twirling their necks.

Then sometime in the 80's that shit got too far off the hook, girls just started making names up that were supposedly a mixture of French and African sounding names. Like Monique. Ok, that's a regular name but they would do things like add all kinds of other shit to it like Moniquay (yes, for real) or Moniqasia (yes, you read it right). After a while it became a game of one upmanship, if this one named her daughter Moniqasia, that one would have to name her daughter something like Nicole Janasia Usha Special ( yes, it is all one name and yes, you read it right).

Boys weren't spared either: Donavian, Xavian and all kinds of other shit started popping up in the late 80's and 90's. Now here is my question: How are these people supposed to find jobs with names like those? A white employer will get those resumes and automatically put them in the 'special pile', you know the pile don't ya? The pile of the folks that will not be working there.

I used to feel really sorry for my brother and sister when we were coming up. My brothers name is Malik. Poor guy, white folks called him everything but his name: Milk, Ma-lick and Mike, were what he was mistakenly called.

My sister Tadao (that is a Japanese name by the way) really caught hell: Ta-Da-O, Toledo, Tornado and all kinds of other mispronounced names were par for the course.

The times I really felt sorry for them were with the grandparents. "Ta-who?" "Ma-what?" They would say. "What happened to names I kind relate to?" They'd complain "Like Horace or or or Ulysses or Homer or what about that boy name, what's his name Andrew. What about names like those?" They'd complain.

"Well, we wanted to give them names that were different, that meant something", my parents would say.

"That mean somethin?" They would say jumping out of their chairs. "Hey, my cousins name is Ulysses. Ever read whaddya call that dere 'Greek Mythology', huh, Homer and Ulysses are in that. What about that?"

Alot of people take pride in their names - and they should. We should strive to give our children names that we and they can be proud of, but also won't handicap them when it's time for them to enter the real world.

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