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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    really, really offended by Tuesday's blog post.

    Since my life (happily!) got a little busier over the last few months, I haven't been involved in much discussion here. But today's thoughtless blog post upset me enough that I will delete my account and not add to Nameberry's traffic again, after I explain my reasoning for doing so.

    The blog post about names which are 'Too Much' included Bliss, Destiny, Harmony, Heaven, Infinity, Journey, Justice, Karma, King, Legend, Merry, Messiah, Miracle, Obedience, Patience, Precious, Prince, Princeton, Romeo, Serenity, Sincere, Star, Treasure, Trust, Truth, Venus. I edited out a half dozen there, but essentially, that's the list of names singled out for criticism in Tuesday's post.

    Objectively, I don't think those concepts are any more grandiose, or any more difficult to live up to (and many in fact seem more reasonable) than, for example, Grace, Verity, Joy, Felicity, Honor, Constance, Mercy, Blythe, Clemency, Faith, Haven, Chastity, Amity, Aria, Gaia, Haven, Bella, Charity, Poet, Story, Blaze, Maximus, Odin, Nehemiah, Beckham, Solomon, Atticus, or Orion.

    There's one big difference between those two lists of names. Try google image searching the first set of names with the surname Williams, Thomas, or Jackson. Now try the same with the second list.

    Serenity's 'too much', and on this list. Grace, apparently, is an acceptable name, despite also being quite a lot to live up to and certainly something that can be unintentionally and painfully ironic for the bearer. Both are in the top 100 names. Serenity also happens to be in the Top 10 for Black girls born in NYC in 2011. And therein is the reason for my anger. "Too Much" is definitely a judgement call, and probably a fair one in the case of a number of surprisingly popular names. The problem with the list presented in this blog post is that it skews more towards being a really uncomfortable insight into this site's priorities and prejudices than it does towards a valuable insight into those names which are 'Too Much' for the people who bear them.

    There is too much ignorance, prejudice, and lack of curiosity about the fascinating naming patterns which occur in our society. I looked to this site for information, insight, and enlightenment about these patterns, and today was presented by a pile of poorly-researched, poorly-argued offensive bunkum.

    There is a plethora of good, well-researched articles about Black names (and the appalling prejudice against those who bear them) available on reputable sites; they make for fascinating reading. The crux of my upset is NB adding to the quiet and pernicious prejudice against Black (or 'trashy', or in Canada, names used heavily in the First Nations community) by having America's "top baby-name experts" declare these names a poor choice. Serenity, Journey, and Harmony are not more intrinsically burdensome than Grace or Honor or Verity; Legend, Justice, and King no more grandiose than Solomon or Maximus or Rex. I want my name commentary to have better insights, better research, and a modicum of cultural sensitivity and curiosity. I have no interest in sites which further the prejudice which already exists in our culture.

    I had reservations about the authors' snarky judgement calls on certain names to begin with, though many of them have since been revised. However, after today's performance, I will not be coming back.

    Which is too bad, because I love names and so many of the discussions here are thoughtful and informative, and a lot of fun!
    Last edited by maple_blythe; February 6th, 2013 at 12:15 AM.

  2. #3
    missusaytch Guest
    Wow. Just... wow. Everything about what you just said makes me wonder if you're one of those people who makes a career out of being offended.

    I began reading this with interest, wondering what in the world could have been offensive about today's post. I shared it with my friend, since her name is Destiny Promise and she hates it. Her mom says her name was inspired by God. Oh, and she's white. I guess I'm supposed to mention that now. Sigh.

    Every time somebody says "I'm offended," I feel like I'm supposed to reach for my wallet.

    I hope Nameberry continues to speak the truth as they see it about names and naming, without being softly bullied by the "offended."

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    I thought Tuesday's blog post was no big deal. There were a few names that didn't necessarily need to be on the list, but, for the most part, I wouldn't give those names to a child because I agree they're a lot to live up to.

    I didn't see the article as racist at all.

    It just listed a bunch of not very good name choices.
    ~ Violet Elizabeth Rose ~


  4. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    United States
    I am glad you said something maple. The article didn't sit quite right with me but I couldn't quite say why. I would say a lot of the discussion of names here is toeing the line of classism and culture-bias but rarely do we confront it full on. I'll admit I'm part of the problem. I prefer names that signal high class, European ancestry, and money. Made up names are treated with the worst kind of disdain. There is a line between preference and judgment and I have yet to figure out where it is.

    I definitely agreed that some names were hard: Romeo and Princeton, but others like Bliss seemed like no big deal I couldn't figure out why they were on there. Why wasn't Atticus on there? It's pretty tough to be an uncompromising believer in equality, a lawyer, and a father all at once, and to lose the respect of your entire community.
    Last edited by sparrowfinch; February 6th, 2013 at 12:20 AM.
    Names I enjoy:

    Girls: Lucy, Elena, Lake, Sylvie

    Boys: Jack, Eamon, Sylvan, Theo

    Photo by Corey Arnold

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I am rarely offended, and have never rescinded my membership in anything on those grounds. Usually, dialogue makes things better in the long run. And now I'm logging out.

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