April 4, 2012

A new angle on the Trayvon story

My new column in Taki's Magazine begins:
The first time I saw the name “Trayvon Martin” was on March 16, while reading an arguable but intelligent op-ed in the New York Times entitled As Black As We Wish to Be by Thomas Chatterton Williams, a young memoirist who authored Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-hop Culture.  
Out of the corner of my eye while reading Williams’ essay, I saw a link entitled "Charles M. Blow: Trayvon Martin." My instantaneous thought was, "Oh, good, Trayvon sounds like a black name. This must be about another intelligent African-American writing or doing something interesting."  
But, my brain answered back: “Nope, it's about a Trayvon, not a Thomas Chatterton. It's not on the sports page, so it’s going to be messed up and miserable. And because it’s in the Times, not the Post, Trayvon’s going to be the victim, not the victimizer.”  
Was that stereotyping? 

Read the whole thing there.

By the way, another group addicted to, uh, creative first names is the Mormons, who, historically, have had a penchant for strange, even sci-fi sounding names like D'Loaf and ElVoid.

I bet Mitt Romney would be running a couple of points better in the primaries if he were named Mike Romney. His odd first name is a constant subliminal reminder that he comes from a group somewhat separated from the main currents in American life.

93 comments:

Remnant said...

"The tale slowly morphed into a dismal cross between The Bonfire of the Vanities and Paul Blart: Mall Cop."

Laughs have been hard to come by throughout this entire Trayvon-Zimmerman incident, but the quoted line above certainly provided more than a few.

Anonymous said...

The difference is, having a distinctly Mormon name doesn't call up the image of the thug who wants to steal your wallet, bash your head in, and rape your daughter. Although the character wasn't Mormon, the image I have of Mormons is close to that of Ned Flanders from The Simpsons.

Sweet Pea said...

Tom Wolfe cannot outdo reality.

George Zimmerman is probably closer to our friend, Truth:

"In December 2010, the son of a local police officer sucker punched a homeless black man outside a bar. The white attacker strutted away from the downed man, obviously proud of his cowardly achievement. Police arrived at the scene and declined to arrest him, despite the fact the unprovoked attack was captured on video.

Over the course of the next several weeks, the community expressed outrage but few stepped up to do anything to demand justice for the homeless man, Sherman Ware. The black community was indifferent. The NAACP ignored the incident. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were nowhere to be found.

But one man was so determined to obtain justice for Sherman, he did what few others were willing to do. He stepped up and went door-to-door in black communities handing out fliers about the incident. He posted the fliers, put them on cars in parking lots, waited outside churches to give them to parishioners. He worked tirelessly exposing this injustice.

In January, his efforts finally paid off. In part, thanks to public pressure after the video was posted on Youtube, Justin Collison, a man with a violent history, was charged with sucker punching Sherman Ware.

In case you haven’t guessed, the man who worked so hard to bring justice for a homeless black man when the NAACP and other civil rights leaders looked the other way is named below the fold.

The man was George Zimmerman."

Despite all George did, his past efforts to organize and help black people have meant very little.

DCThrowback said...

Here's a piece from Grantland (h/t: Chuck Rudd) from Boston Globe film critic (and Yale grad) Wesley Morris on the symbolism of the hoodie:

As usual, a thought provoking piece. But I am sad to see no recommendation for upper class blacks (the talented tenth?). What is their incentive? They are staked into the system, reap the benefits of affirmative action in BRA while baring seemingly little of the stigma. Further, some feel extremely guilty about their gift (e.g., Dave Chappelle, who felt so guilty he had a nervous breakdown). This is further complicated by the guilt that those who are NOT cognitively gifted throw at those who are, mainly by accusing them of "selling out" & "not keeping it real". I wish could say those insults are not effective, but imagine them being hurled at 16 year olds w/ no father around to assist them in dealing with it.

Some organizations have had some success, think the NBA and it's dress code leading to revival of geek-chic among pro ballers. So there is hope. But I am not optimistic.

Here's a piece from Wesley Morris, a member of the talented tenth (Yale, film critic, lives in Cambridge, MA) on the symbolism of the "hoodie":

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7764334/trayvon-martin-miami-heat-talk-talk-hoodies

Does this count as adult supervision? Like Mulder, Steve, I want to believe. But pieces like this indicate we have far to go to see your hopes fulfilled.

Paul Mendez said...

Years ago, I read an essay by a black writer who claimed that "creative" names for black children grew out of the tribulations of slavery.

You see, when a slave child was born, Master would name it, not the parents, as a way of asserting his dominance. Therefore, as an act of rebellion, the slaves would hold a secret naming ceremony and give the child an African name.

The problem was that the slaves came from all over Africa and spoke all different languages with all different sorts of names. So, after a few generations, the slaves had forgotten all the REAL African names, and just started making up names that SOUNDED like they might be African, or at least weren't white names.

A black person came up with this theory, so it can't be racissssss.

guest007 said...

I always thought that parents that had last names that can be confused with first names such as Martin or Howard always hurt their children by giving them first names that can be confused with last names such as Martin Howard or Howard Barry. Those children will go through life having their names wrongly entered into databases.

Also, I have always been amazed at the number of parents who failed to consider what the initials will be.

Jeffery said...

The whole Travon affair has made obvious the deeply held anti-White feelings of black people in America. Well, that along with videos of black people popping white guys for fun - the ones that YouTube keeps taking down after black guys/girls post them.

bjdubbs said...

The first rule of the Trayvon story: every article will make at least one assertion of fact that goes beyond the available evidence.

Greening said...

Polipundit is saying Mr. Zimmerman is getting exactly what he deserves, "Live by race baiting, die by race baiting."

http://polipundit.com/?p=37101

I didn't see anything overtly racial in his flier, but organizing along racial lines is a problem.

I disagree with Polipundit. Everyone has the right to due process and we don't know enough about the Sherman Ware case to know if George was right about corruption.

NOTA said...

According to Ta-Nahisi Coates' blog, NBC apparently edited the 911 tapes of Zimmerman's call to make it sound like he was racist. The retraction is here.

Hammering recalcitrant facts into a narrative that appeals to the beliefs of the journalists and editors, and that meets the commercial needs of the media owners, is what most media sources do. If I got caught falsifying data in my field, my career would be over. That's because I'm in the finding out about reality business, not the entertainment and ad-selling business.

Fox news discovered this. There have been cases where they've run with the same kind of edited BS (go ask Shirley Sharrod), but this shows the value of opposing ideological media--they at least have an incentive to question the dominant narrative sometimes.

And this tells us nothign about Zimmerman's guilt or innocence. We can hope that the police, prosecutor, grand jury, and criminal court will do a decent job figuring that stuff out, as needed, but this should re-enforce the lesson that an intense media focus on the story doesn't mean we know very much about it.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there some movie with Seth Rogen as an overzealous security guard? I believe it was sort of a dark comedy, and so perhaps a better comparison.

Anonymous said...

Puritians has a similar penchent for weird names -sometimes they would name someone by opening a bible and randomly pointing to a word, hence a 'Notwithstanding Greely' buried in a New England churchyard.

Hindus of course give their daughters names like 'unwanted' 'garbage' etc.

SFG said...

OK, now I get where 'Renesmee' came from. Thank you.

Hail said...

It doesn't matter what his name is, the Media would say, he should not have been killed.

George Zimmerman, though, is clearly a White man -- Just look at his name!

Icepick said...

Trayvon isn't so bad.

Courvoisier Winetavius Richardson - now THAT is a bad name! He went by the street name Crime Tyme, which was actually a distinct improvement over his given name. Check the link to see how I found out about him.

Mr. Anon said...

D'loaf? ElVoid?

Good God.

gumisha said...

But Mike Tyson wasn't named Punkula or some such.
And Cassius Clay was crazy even when he was named Cassius.

gumtusha said...

"Beginning in the black-power era of the late 1960s, black parents began bestowing an ever-increasing proportion of oppositional first names on their babies, especially girls."

Not really. Originally, the new names were Muslim--as when Lew Alcindor became Kareem Abdul Jabbar--or African, to reconnect with lost roots. There was something positive about this. Suppose white people had been enslaved in China and given names like Fong Foo and Ding Dong. Suppose after centuries, they wanna reconnect with their roots and take on names like Michael or Siegfried. Nothing wrong with that.

So, THAT was not the problem in the 60s and 70s. I used to live in a housing project for 4 yrs in my childhood and there were some Africa-roots blacks in the building and they actually had some cultural sense(associated with reverence and remembrance). I remember one guy in the elevator holding his baby, and another black guy aksed about the kid's name and the father said 'Kote', pronounced Koh-tay. He seemed like a doting father, and I didn't see anything wrong with the child's name(and still don't). He was being cultural, trying to reconnect with deeper sense of history and where his people came from. Btw, the other black guy--and me too--heard 'Kunta', not least because ROOTS was big at the time.

The real change for the worse took place in the 80s. It went from black history to black histrionics. It was no longer about heritage and cultural identity and more about trashiness, narcissism, flashiness, and etc. There was a Africanish ring to some of the new names, but it was really about 'my name be more flippin than yours'. It was to names what Michael Jackson's dress sense was to fashion. Just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Mitt sounds more mega-WASP than it does Mormon.

Which is actually another black naming trend: pick ultra-establishment names in a bid for respectability, but at the point when those names are on the way out among the establishment.

-osvaldo M.

Larry, San Francisco said...

I had a friend who was an obstetrical intern at Michael Reese hospital in Chicago. She would get depressed when she lost battles with dumb teenagers about what they should name their kids. The two worst were babies given the name Cocaina and LaTreen. What are the life chances of any type of success with names like that?

Marlowe said...

I'd like to see the survey data if only to check whether anyone has a name such as F U Jones.

Anonymous said...

OT. "Europe’s Real Crisis. The Continent’s problems are as much demographic as financial. They won’t go away soon."

But surely immigration from places like Africa makes things even worse. Not having enough workers is bad, but having a lot of lousy thugs is worse.

Kylie said...

From the article: "The win-win solution against stereotyping is for blacks to stop living down to their profiles."

Essentially, then, you're advising blacks to stop acting so...well...black.

"So what can grownups do to discourage black youths from acting like knuckleheads?"

The kind of knuckleheadism you describe in this article (living the "thug life") is again, a black thing. So again, you are asking what people can do to discourage young blacks from acting black.

White grownups have better things to do with their time (such as discouraging young whites from acting black). Black grownups apparently see no need to stop their young from "keepin' it real".

Besides, as more and more measures are introduced to force whites into accepting black pathology, whites are becoming ever more aware of the devious way in which blacks and black pathology are described.* You use the example of blacks naming a daughter "Danielle". I grew up in the 60's when it was still fashionable to give white girls French names (Nicole, Simone) but "Danielle" has long since been coopted by blacks. I would infer that a girl with that name was black.


*E.g., since the criminality of black sports celebrities cannot be attributed to poverty, it's now claimed to be due to lack of "life skills" When news media report gangs, groups or mobs of young blacks arrested for crimes, the latter are usually described merely as "teens" or "youths". In print media, a photo of young whites will often accompany such an article in a deliberate attempt to mislead readers as to the race of the suspects.

CGHill said...

Except that Mitt's actual first name is, um, Willard, which doesn't sound all that Mormon to me.

Anonymous said...

Mitt's middle name is a nickname of Milton (Romney), his father's cousin and a former Chicago Bears quarterback.

It harkens back to an exotic time when people gave their sons and daughters names to honor family members.

Anonymous said...

One thing good about blacks having dumb names is we can spot them easily even if media refuse to show photos or call them 'teens' or 'youths'.

Anyway, though things like names and dress matter, it's like blacks, with freedom, are reverting to their natural way, which may be worse than even the tribal way.
The traditional primitive way may have been 'savage' but such societies do have taboos, rules, customs, hierarchies, and etc. And such societies are ruled by elders and the like with some experience, and this has a way of controlling young male behavior.
But the current black reversion to nature amounts to young black males and females doing whatever they feel like--which is protected by American law of freedom. Since many young blacks cannot handle freedom, they just turn crazy.

Anonymous said...

Winning more freedom means taking on more responsibility. This is what kids are taught. As they gain more freedom and their own bank accts and driver's licenses, they are told that they must use their new freedom/power responsibly and suffer the consequences when they make poor decisions.

But blacks were never taught this.
With more freedom came LESS RESPONSIBILITY. A horrible mix. More freedom and more excuses. Blacks today are like overgrown babies on steroids.

Anonymous said...

Yobs too of course.

Tom said...

Another perspective: Parents giving black names are either consciously or subconsciously expressing hostility to the white culture. Obviously, we would expect a child raised by parents who respect their country's culture to be more successful than a child raised by a latent Black Panther.

Ed said...

Its worse. Romney's real first name is Willard.

He will never be President.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I always thought the name Mitt was cool-sounding, as if he may have been given that nickname (yes, I assumed it was a nickname)because as a kid he wanted a catcher's mitt or he wanted a glove and his mother, not knowing the difference, gave him a mitt. Guess I was wrong?

Dahinda said...

Colonial America had a lot of unusual names (for today). I have traced my ancestry back to many Jathnials, Mehetabels,Increases, Restores, Preserves, Hateevils and Faintnots.

Pincher Martin said...

"I bet Mitt Romney would be running a couple of points better in the primaries if he were named Mike Romney. His odd first name is a constant subliminal reminder that he comes from a group somewhat separated from the main currents in American life."

That's almost certainly less true now than it was twenty or thirty years ago. Picking a strange first name or choosing a nonstandard spelling for a common first name seems to be the new conformity among young parents nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Leaked police report is corroborative of Zimmerman's account:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/trayvon-martin-police-report-reveals-crime-scene-details-175656087.html

not a hacker said...

My firm once defended a "race discrimination" claim brought by a woman who was fired for charging up a credit card she'd intercepted in the inter-office mail. Her name was Queen Udofia.

Anonymous said...

Actually Zimmerman seems like a stand up guy, not a joke. Steve's elitism is showing. To see what goes on outside the gates of The retreat at Twin Lakes, check out Drudge's link to news about a violent carjacking in Sanford the other day: two young blacks pulled a 50 year old white guy out of his SUV and beat him comatose with a hammer.

If Trayvon's petty criminal career had not been cut short with a hollow point to the chest, no doubt he would have graduated to violent assaults.

jody said...

or you could be named barack HUSSEIN obama and be trying to get elected president of the united states.

i think we can safely put the "His name is weird" hypothesis to rest. like, forever.

mohammedchang said...

Romney's first name is Willard. Mitt is his middle name. Once he went into politics, he should have just called himself Will Romney.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Mitt's real first name Willard? Is that better or worse than Mitt?

Paul said...

The "surname pool" is small relative, so unique first names have some value. Appalachian Scots-Irish and the Amish got around the same problem by mining the Bible, particularly the genealogical begetting in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, for distinctive birth names.

Wonder also if blacks didn't switch to unique first names because, following the great influx of south and eastern Europeans, their surnames are WASPier sounding than those of whites.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if americans realize how 'separated' from normal america mormons are- It's a blatant heresy, up there with Islam, not to mention the polygamny, and wackiness (you're your own god on your own planet, joe smith said there were 9 foot tall people on the moon that dressed like quakers, etc.

Chris Anderson said...

Thinking about black names, I cracked my yearbook and these wer the names of the black students in my senior class at one of Ohio's better high schools. Everyone was thoroughly middle-class.

Tillman, Yvette, Rashawn, Zenia, Rhoda, Earl, Jimmy (not James), Iris, Darren, LaJune, Ronald, Marie, Angela, Michael, and Paul.

We were all born in 1966 or 1967, roughly the year following the Cleveland Hough riots and the beginning of a black-power movement in Cleveland.

Only two of the first-names appear recognizably black, but many were on the unusual side. it makes me think that wanting a unique sounding name was already there in black culture, but parents mostly stuck to recognizable names. Even LaJune is a variation on an old name.

OTOH, Earl & Jimmy-not-James sound like two buddies at a NASCAR race.

Crawfurdmuir said...

@Paul - It is not only the "Appalachian Scots-Irish and the Amish" that mined the Bible for given names. This was also widespread amongst the Puritans of both old and New England, and they not only used the "begats" in the Gospel of Matthew, but also other names from the Old Testament. In fact, British low-church Protestantism had a philo-semitic strain dating back to the Puritans' conviction that the Jews could be converted to Christianity if only it could be stripped of its "Romish" residues.

"Down, down, for ever down with the mitre and the crown,
With the Belial of the court, and the Mammon of the Pope!
There is woe in Oxford halls, there is wail in Durham’s stalls;
The Jesuit smites his bosom, the bishop rends his cope.

"And she of the seven hills shall mourn her children’s ills,
And tremble when she thinks on the edge of England’s sword;
And the kings of earth in fear shall shudder when they hear
What the hand of God hath wrought for the Houses and the Word!"

Another Puritan naming habit, which seems now to have died out, was that of using words denoting moral or theological characteristics as Christian names, e.g., "Preserved Smith" (who was - quite fittingly - an historian of the Protestant Reformation).

Dahinda said...

Wisconsin towns sound like black women's names. Kenosha, Sheboygan, LaCrosse, Ashwobanon, Keshena, Kewaunee. Then again I guess that I am stereotyping!

Anonymous said...

"His odd first name is a constant subliminal reminder that he comes from a group somewhat separated from the main currents in American life."

His odd first name is a constant subliminal reminder that he comes from a high functioning group somewhat separated from the main dysfunctional currents in American life.

Anonymous said...

"It harkens back to an exotic time when people gave their sons and daughters names to honor family members."

My son is just a teen but he has already stated that his first son will be named after his own great great grandfather who is not a famous person, but very is fondly remembered in our family.

My sons are named after their uncles and grandfathers.

NOTA said...

Kylie:

Danielle sounds like a middle class black name to me--something unusual, but not ghetto. And I wouldn't be all that surprised to see an American white girl named Danielle, though it's not currently all that common of a name.

The weird thing is, the names only have an unpleasant association because of the culture they come from--yuppie parents choose oddball names for their kids, too, but without bad associations--you dont wince when you find out the couple moving in next door have kids named Connor and Bailey, even if you privately think people ought not to name their kids after their dogs.

Anonymous said...

I think that these African-American names are ridiculous, but no more ridiculous those SWPL who give their kids brand names like Apple, Seraphina, Brooklyn, Hudson, Andromeda, Mercedes or the dreaded Aiden, Kaiden, Jayden, Ayden, Jaden, Aidan, Hayden.

Anonymous said...

The former Director of the World Health Organization's Dept. of HIV/AIDS from '06-'09 is named Kevin De Cock.

He's currently the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Center for Global Health.

Svigor said...

I had a friend who was an obstetrical intern at Michael Reese hospital in Chicago. She would get depressed when she lost battles with dumb teenagers about what they should name their kids. The two worst were babies given the name Cocaina and LaTreen. What are the life chances of any type of success with names like that?

Funny, there was an article at Amren some years back by a fellow who made an almost identical claim, but IIRC, it was "Latrina," not "Latreen."

Anonymous said...

All I know is i'd rather have a guy called Mitt as my new neighbour then a guy called Trayvon.

Svigor said...

Colonial America had a lot of unusual names (for today). I have traced my ancestry back to many Jathnials, Mehetabels,Increases, Restores, Preserves, Hateevils and Faintnots.

I traced my surname back to Colonial times, and the given names sound like the kind of thing fundies would choose. Basically, all right out of the Old Testament, and not the ones that commonly survive today.

Paul Mendez said...

Also, I have always been amazed at the number of parents who failed to consider what the initials will be.

Real people I have known:

Richard "Dick" Head
Peter Janker (J sounds like Y)
Misty Lay

Paul Mendez said...

I also sat in a day-long meeting with a black woman named "LaTrina."

Everyone else called her "Trina" but since it was the first time I had met her, I tried to be polite and always drew it out, LaTREENa.

(My 13 y/o niece asked if she had a brother named John.)

Anonymous said...

I once worked with a black guy from Mississippi. He was pretty normal, as was his wife, but they named their son Wartentius Jabbaran Grey.

I hope the kid goes by Warren.

Carol said...

"Aiden, Kaiden, Jayden, Ayden, Jaden, Aidan, Hayden."

...and Kaylee, Kay-Leigh, Kay-tee-Lee, ad nauseam.

Camlost said...

At NC State they once had a student head of the LBGT on-campus group named Rob Faggart. He was quite the activist.

Kylie said...

"Kylie:

Danielle sounds like a middle class black name to me--something unusual, but not ghetto."


Yes, that's what I meant. Sorry if I wasn't clearer.

"And I wouldn't be all that surprised to see an American white girl named Danielle, though it's not currently all that common of a name."

Nor would I.

"The weird thing is, the names only have an unpleasant association because of the culture they come from--yuppie parents choose oddball names for their kids, too, but without bad associations--you dont wince when you find out the couple moving in next door have kids named Connor and Bailey, even if you privately think people ought not to name their kids after their dogs."

I would.

Yuppie culture is obviously less cringeworthy (and dangerous) than ghetto culture but neither one gives me any joy.

Anonymous said...

"Wisconsin towns sound like black women's names. Kenosha, Sheboygan, LaCrosse, Ashwobanon, Keshena, Kewaunee. Then again I guess that I am stereotyping!"

Wisconsin really means "we's can sing".

Anonymous said...

The English/WASP habit of using last names as first names looks mighty strange to the outsiders. This would not work so well in Finland or Greece or Poland.

Speaking of dog names, in Russia it is considered bad tone to give dogs human names, so they use...English names. Jack and Bob ("Bobik") are extremely popular.

Anonymous said...

“Courvoisier Winetavius Richardson - now THAT is a bad name!”

That’s pretty good. Almost as good as a couple of my personal favorites: Shitavious J. Cook and Quindarious Gooch.

Yes, those are real people.

lazy HBD said...

Making fun of other folks' names is a time-honored sport but even you acknowledge the freakonomists' conclusion that it's tangential in the long run, yet there is a foggy faux-Victorian sense that these lower sorts shouldn't "tempt fate." As a commenter identifying herself as a social worker wrote here a while ago, just because you see them all as failures dragging on society doesn't mean they see it the same way. Admonishing them for not eschewing lousy names like Jermajesty and Jayden James is just sewing-circle clucking, not moral guidance. As a clue to someone's upbringing the genteel-blackish first name has no special value so as to be heartily adopted by parents lacking bourgeois pedigree and cash flow no matter how you fulminate about the need for more cultural suasion.

Iberian said...

Ironically, with names like Mohamed, Kareem, Ali, Abdul,... Blacks disconnect from Caucasians from Europe and connect to Caucasians from middle-east. What happen when they discover that Arabs, actually start Black slavery and the Prophet Mohamed was White?

JSM said...

"wackiness (you're your own god on your own planet"

Why is that wacky?

"In my father's house are many mansions."

Seems like a reasonable interpretation to me.

(BTW, I'm not a Mormon. Not even a Christian.)

JSM said...

"Kaylee, Kay-Leigh, Kay-tee-Lee"

And Kylie, Kaitlin, Katelynn, Caitlin, Katalynne, Jadelynn, Makayla, McKayla, Mackenzie, Makenzy, Makenzie, McKenzie,


Taylor, Nathon, Nathen, Jaython,

Marek (not Mark. Gotta have that "e" for especially wonderful and talented, you know)

Jackson, Jaxon, Braxton ...
and Drexol.

And woe be to the substitute teacher should she misspell or, heaven forfend, MISPRONOUNCE it.

Exactly how is a cre8tive spelling of a name creative and unique...when everybody is doing it?

NOTA said...

lazy:

Fair enough. But the research I've seen summarized suggests that having an obviously black name gets some bad results. It doesn't really matter if that's fair or not, in terms of what choice of name is better for your kid's prospects when applying for work, say.

There is a set of stereotypes that blacks can easily get stuck with, based on some combination of applied statistics, prejudice, and media images. Since those stereotypes are overwhelmingly bad, it's probably a good idea to try to avoid being stuck with them--and it sure seems, given my lack of personal experience with the problem, like naming your kid Lawrence is a lot less likely to engage that stuff than naming him LaShawn.

Anonymous said...

If your name is Quindarius Gooch, why not cut your hair like that?

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0mx3sjJLy1rqcy1eo1_500.jpg

Kylie said...

"And Kylie..."

Hey, now. That is not my fault. That was our bulldog's name when we got her. Since we were her third family in four years, we didn't want to change her name again (original name: Gypsie). We figured she'd already had enough change to deal with.

Besides, people tend to name bulldog bitches really ultra-femme names like "Daphne" and Chloe". So "Kylie" isn't really all that bad.

And besides, it is not my fault.

Truth said...

"Despite all George did, his past efforts to organize and help black people have meant very little."

I agree, that should buy him a "get out of jail free" card on any possible felony against blacks for the rest of his life...oh wait, it has...

Truth said...

"The black community was indifferent. The NAACP ignored the incident. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were nowhere to be found."

So this is a good thing, or a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

"I traced my surname back to Colonial times, and the given names sound like the kind of thing fundies would choose. Basically, all right out of the Old Testament, and not the ones that commonly survive today."

Yeah I had some really obscure Biblical names on the non-Catholic side of the family tree...Vashti, Jedediah, Ezekiel, etc

However I also noticed a lot of weird non-Biblical names especially for the males: Ambrose, Asbury, Erasmus, Columbus, etc

Silver said...

So "Kylie" isn't really all that bad.

I wasn't aware "Kylie" was even questionable. I thought it was entirely mainstream white name.

White American names that are probably unremarkable in America but are funny to me are "Cody," "Logan" and "Tanner." They just scream "All-American white boy." Not only don't I know any Australians by those names, I can't even imagine anyone naming their kid that.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cashill.com/intellect_fraud/trayvon.htm

Hey Steve, you and cashill should team up to form some kind of batman and robin pattern noticing duo.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cashill.com/intellect_fraud/trayvon.htm

Hey Steve, you and cashill should team up to form some kind of batman and robin pattern noticing duo.

Mr. Anon said...

The only people in America who seem to give there children regular old names anymore are the chinese.

JSM said...

"Hey, now. That is not my fault. That was our bulldog's name when we got her"

Sorry, Kylie,
I didn't proofread before I posted.

What I meant to type was the kre8tive spelling of Kylie:

Kialee

Maya said...

"Marek (not Mark. Gotta have that "e" for especially wonderful and talented, you know)"

As someone who grew up in the Chicago area, I must point out that naming a boy "Marek" might not be an act of yuppie masturbation, but a nod to Polish heritage.

K(yle) said...

Cody and Logan seem to be popular names, but I don't know any Cody or Logan's born before the mid-80s.

According to a quick google ngram check the name Cody first appears in the late 19th century, but doesn't gain real popularity until the early 60s; so its' 'All American' in the sense that it is from the confluence of Irish immigrants and hippies. It just didn't get much traction in my part of the country until a generation or so had passed.

Logan and Tanner are last names, so an ngram search doesn't show much. Logan is also the 'real' name of one of the most popular comic book character of the past 3 decades or so; so I suspect that as a first name took off until the 80s either, and that is the actual original reason for the popularity of that name.

I've never met a "Tanner" in my life, and I wouldn't describe that as "All American" since it is probably a fad-name, and most 'Tanner's' in the US are more likely to be tweens than even young adults.

Anonymous said...

What about Lateisha?

Not-Kailee said...

"Sorry, Kylie,
I didn't proofread before I posted.

What I meant to type was the kre8tive spelling of Kylie:

Kialee"


That's awful. I wouldn't give that name to a dog.

Anonymous said...

He could always go by Willard

CJ said...

I've never met a "Tanner" in my life, and I wouldn't describe that as "All American" since it is probably a fad-name, and most 'Tanner's' in the US are more likely to be tweens than even young adults.

Tanner Glass

Cody Hodgson

Logan Couture

Londoner said...

Willard Milton Romney? now that is a 100% Anglo-Saxon - as in genuine Old English - name. Sadly a rarity these days, in any part of the Anglosphere.

The Bushes, Clinton (Blyth), Carter, Ford (King), Nixon... all quite Anglo-Saxon, but each carrying taints, variously, of Norman French, Scottish etc in their given names. By my (admittedly very strict) criteria, only two presidents have had full-on AS names - Fillmore and LBJ - and the B of the latter is questionable.

Most ghetto-fabulous presidential name may be the "G" in Warren G. Harding.

Svigor said...

Richard "Dick" Head

I knew a Harry Trap.

David said...

>even you [Steve] acknowledge the freakonomists' conclusion that [ghetto names are] tangential [to success] in the long run<

That conclusion would be freaky indeed. When did Steve ever "acknowledge" (or agree with) it?

Anonymous said...

off topic...
Even when everything’s going right, Marion Barry just can’t help but do wrong. On the night he scored a resounding victory in the ward 8 D.C. Council primary, he said the following, as captured by WRC-TV’s cameras: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.” His Twitter account later re-tweeted a racial slur — albeit one, the Post’s Chris Jenkins explains, that “[a]mong some black people ... [is] a high compliment meant to show respect.”

Hail said...

"Willard Milton Romney? now that is a 100% Anglo-Saxon - as in genuine Old English - name"

Mitt Romney Ethnic Ancestry Summary
40.6% England — Mostly NW, partly W-Midlands.
18.8% Scotland
28.1% Colonial-Yankee
12.5% North-German
(~2% French-Huguenot; see entries #5 and #7 at link)

Londoner said...

Hail - no doubt. I was referring to the origins of the name itself, not of its bearer.

Londoner said...

Anyway, separating "Colonial Yankee" from English, Scottish etc seems a dubious practice.

Camlost said...

Most ghetto-fabulous presidential name may be the "G" in Warren G. Harding.

Harding and Redd Foxx had quite a bit in common, too.

Truth said...

Uh oh, Part six!

D J said...

"Wisconsin towns sound like black women's names. Kenosha, Sheboygan...."

I am not making this up, folks. When I was a youngster, I really thought the town was called Shebergen, but that someone from Noo Joyzee, or Queens, was pronouncing it.

Who knew?

D J said...

"I think that these African-American names are ridiculous, but no more ridiculous those SWPL who give their kids brand names like... Mercedes"

Mercedes IS a proper name. Gotlieb Daimler and Karl Benz founded a company to make motor vehicles. One of them was named after the daughter of Herr Daimler.

Mercedes is not a common name, especially here in the US. But it is a legitimate name, and if Mercedes McCambridge were still with us, she would confirm what I have said. (look her up if you don't know)