Monday, October 3, 2011

A Black Name

I need to clear the air. This is something that in a perfect world would not have to be revealed.
I am black.As in African American.
It is assumed that many name bloggers are white, and most of the ones who have posted pictures I remember are white. There is nothing wrong with that. I really could care less about the race of a blogger as long as they make good posts and do not offend others. I do feel, on the other hand, that there is little representation of a perspective from African Americans in this world of names.

 For example, Raven on a white person sounds mysterious and has a sort of stereotypical wicca-lite association. However, nobody talks of Raven Simone as if she was named by Pagans.Raven , along with the symbolic bird, also brings to mind the color black. Black people have been trying to reclaim the beauty of blackness for years, and names like Raven and Ebony are the few positive names that are associated with the color(or, scientifically, the lack of color)black.

I argue that having a name that makes one think of the color or black doesn't necessarily have to be the only way to honor blackness if one's child is black or dark-skinned.Josephine, for example, can refer to Josephine Baker, the woman called The Black Pearl. She is one of  the few icons we have from history of African American women being glamorous before the 70's.It's also a name not associated with "Black People" as much as La_________ or the crazy urban-legend names such as the orenjello and lemonjello twins.I think it's a shame, but there is a reason.

In American society, we tend to default to white. This happens with names. I mentioned Josephine, which refers to the amazing Black Pearl. Josephine is also the name of Empress Jos├ęphine de Beauharnais, who is known for being Napoleon's wife and being very regal (this is a simplification. Read the wikipedia article to learn more about her. While you're at it, learn more about the equally amazing Josephine Baker). Because of Empress Josephine, the name is not exclusive for one race. The same could be said for Josephine Baker, but the name is seen as less of a Black Name as other names given to African Americans along with "hero" names such as Rihanna.Does the Empress Josephine connection make Josephine less black? Nonetheless, I'd consider it for any child of any race.

1 comment:

  1. Josephine was actually of mixed race, she was a Creole. Although beautiful, she was self-conscious about her skin tone, and preferred to wear black pearls rather than white ones because it made her look lighter.

    People back then preferred very fair skin tones, unlike today when tans and dark skin are favored.

    I think Josephine is a beautiful name, regardless of race.