Whose Name Is It Anyway?!

2014-08-06 06:44

There I was randomly wondering why certain black people only have what I consider "English names". I know in the past people were named after biblical characters, I say characters not because I think the bible is one big classic movie but due to lack of a better word.

Names like Moses, Abel and so forth are common names across all racial borders. I have an English name, and until today I had never bothered to find out what it means nor use it to introduce myself. I think we can all agree that for the most part, a lot of black people have white names and not very many white people have black names. I've never met one.

On television though, there's a male presenter of some sort by the name Pule. He is white. But, it irks me. He speaks vernacular(Sotho, Zulu etc) and dresses like abo Skhothane. Now, before you say this is offensive to the whites, there is a list of ethnic slurs that I looked into and none of what I'm saying came up.

Has anyone experienced the same sentiments as me, being irritated by a white person trying to hard to be black?! Maybe there's nothing wrong with them trying to use black names and speaking like us, it's just unusual to me personally. It certainly takes a lot of getting used to. Surely our own black names can run across racial borders.

I assume that white people don't mind when we have English names, because then they don't have to worry about pronouncing our black names. I always have to spell my name to the white lady at reception holding the line for my details. It's not uncomfortable, but we have white/English names for their convenience. For example, our very own late former president was given the name Nelson by his then white teacher who was unable to pronounce his birth name Rolihlahla.

I read once that some of the things that make white people feel racist is how they immediately get uncomfortable as soon as they associate a certain name to a particular race. But is it racist? I disagree. Like hearing that someone's name is Shaneeqa then you mentally paint a picture of a black girl with purple extentions. I'm black, but I actually would imagine Shanneeqa to look everything as imagined.

Then there's the corporate world, where you grow up with someone known as Kabelo then a few years later would rather be called Stephen so that he can be taken seriously by the white elite and maybe get the director position he has been gunning for. Now, are black people uncomfortable with their african identity? Is there a fear of using "black names"?!

What incites a white person to 'adopt' a black name, because with us there's certainly a history there dating back to the times of slavery if not prior.

There are certain names that I find funny, most of the time I come across those on the name tags of waiters in a restaurant. My most recent encounter was with a waitress called "NoMatter". No lies. So these English names are certainly not all that and a bag of chips. Dorcas they said, is as white as snow and kind of awful too.

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