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  1. #1

    Can I name this baby Malcolm

    Is the name Malcolm usable for a baby that is going to be white?

    I had picked this name out months ago for my baby boy, who is due in a week, so I realize this is last minute to be asking. I love this name. It sounds gentle and strong. Regal. It sounds great with my last name. I know that the name is popular in the black community (clearly Malcolm X is one of the most famous bearers of the name). This doesn’t bother me, but I’ve had three family members bring up the fact that we are using a black name, the most recent being my father-in-law this afternoon when he found out the name, and it’s making me feel less confident in my choice if that’s a go-to first comment (I’ve probably told 20 people the name so this feels like a high percentage). Am I culturally appropriating? I basically have no backups and am not sure what to think. I guess what I really wish is that people heard the name and loved it, but maybe I’m asking too much. For reference, I am located in a city, but am from a rural area in a not particularly diverse part of the US, and it does seem like that could be impacting the first reactions. What do you think, Berries?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    1,786
    Malcom is lovely and I adore the nickname Mac for it.

    Yes theres Malcom x but I have a huge crush on the name because of Malcom McDowell (clock work orange)

    I would say go for it. Names shouldn't wear colors

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Buckeye Country
    Posts
    21
    I'm white myself, so I don't know how other ethnicities would feel about this, but imo you have nothing to worry about. Malcolm is a well-established name that was used before Malcolm X and doesn't feel distinctly tied to him and him alone. I wouldn't think twice about it if I met a white child named Malcolm, and honestly Malcolm X wouldn't cross my mind at all unless someone else brought up the connection.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    242
    Yes, you can. It's not an "automatically" Black name. In fact, it's a traditional Scottish name borne by a lot of people through history. Then there's Malcolm in the Middle. It's even Shakespearean, via Macbeth.

    However, I would certainly read up on Malcolm X, even if you aren't naming your child directly after him, since the name often recalls this imposing and complex figure in American history. I find him to be a good namesake, if you take the whole story arc of his life. Nation of Islam is a little out there, to me, though I understand some of their criticism of our society. However, Malcolm X had a history before joining this group and was actually eventually assassinated by people connected to it, after he'd embraced a more universal vision. You can then answer honestly, well although we didn't name our son directly after Malcolm X, we admire his place in history. And then be able to speak to that a little if anyone asks. That would show respect and awareness without appropriation. It would be a good piece of education for your child, too. We need these bridges of respect and understanding these days.

  5. #5
    Thank you for the thoughtful responses! I feel reassured already that this is a great name that can work for my baby. Can’t wait for him to make his arrival.

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