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Thread: Race in Naming: Some Questions
December 20th, 2013 12:45 AM #16Senior Member
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- New Jersey
The reason many people don't like or use Jemima is the same reason many people don't like or use Cohen. There are plenty of people who love the name, the sound, the history, but don't want to offend a group of people. Jemima doesn't hold a negative connotation for many people, neither does Cohen, but depending on where you live, and the culture you were raised it may be recommended to be avoided. Do you find offense to the name? Maybe not, and maybe the fact that others do doesn't bother you, but it is a fact that needs to be acknowledged. I am not offended by Cohen, but knowing the controversy surrounding it, if I liked it I may avoid it. I am a white American woman that only thinks of the woman from the syrup bottle when I hear Jemima, and I am married to a black man who's family is extremely offended by the name. I don't like the name personally, but even if I did I wouldn't use it out of respect. As an aside, my very Irish grandmother was named Sadie, and many "slave" names were really biblical names, it is not that all names that were given to slaves are offensive, it is the few that were commercialized that are not accepted.Our heart: Apollo Allan
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December 20th, 2013 08:10 AM #18
Historically (and unfortunately, even presently), slaves were/are represented by every nationality/ creed/ so-called "race". Indeed, there were even "white" British slaves - even "white" child slaves brought to America. So, I think it's intellectually dishonest how the media continually equates "slavery" with so called "Black" Americans.
Therefore, I say, use any name you love! Preferably one that won't lead to teasing. And breathe new positive life into it....
PS I love the name Jemima!
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December 20th, 2013 11:55 AM #20Senior Member
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- Nov 2013
- Upstate NY
IMO. I think Jemima here in America (at least in the states that I have lived) would cause A LOT of teasing. I have to disagree with a PP who said that most kids in the younger generation wouldn't understand it's references. Again, maybe it's a regional issue... or perhaps I'm just older than I feel (haha)... but the negative connotation that Jemima has is still alive and kicking here. It is definitely used as an insult, especially among younger people!
Many of your other names, however, have already shed that image I believe. I would stay away from Jemima in much the same way I stay away from Cohen.
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December 20th, 2013 12:34 PM #22Member
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December 20th, 2013 12:37 PM #24Senior Member
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- Jun 2010
I assume you're talking about the Irish slave trade? You're right, those slaves suffered just as much as their counterparts of other races; but just because there were (and still are) white people who were enslaved does not mean that the racial connotations of these names or of American slavery will ever go away. The white slave trade was never even remotely close in scale to the black slave trade- there was no slavery-induced "Irish diaspora" on the same scale as the African diaspora. White Americans do not suffer the remnants of their ancestors' slavery today. "The media" is not misrepresenting anything. This would be akin to saying "there were people who weren't Jewish killed in Auschwitz, so WWII had nothing to do with Jews." It's kind of an insane statement.
That said, I think some of these names are fine to use. Dinah and Sadie are particularly mainstream. Jemima is a bit difficult- I would avoid that one as a first name. My general rule is if you have to ask, it's probably a bad idea, so tread lightly with these names. Most would probably be fine, but it would be a good idea to search for alternatives you love equally.