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Tag Archives: culture

What’s In A Name? The Politics Behind Selecting Your Baby’s Name

Every afternoon, I wait in my children's grade school library with the other parents for pick-up. The principal reads off students' names over the loudspeaker, the signal that they are dismissed and can meet us in the library. Every day, without fail, the principal stumbles over Ayanna, my six-year-old daughter's name. She tries "Ah-yanna," "I-yanna," "E-yanna"—every pronunciation except the correct one. (It's "A-yahn-na," in case you're wondering.) As a black mother, I felt pressure—mostly from well-meaning relatives—to give my daughter a racially ambiguous name, one that was simple and easy to pronounce. Too many vowels or even one apostrophe meant trouble. I chose "Ayanna" after reading it in an Eric Jerome Dickey novel and loving that it means "beautiful flower" in Hebrew. My... Read More →
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