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The names we give our children...

(11 Posts)
cheeriosatdawn Mon 06-Nov-17 21:23:52

Not being goady. Truly not.

But the row that kicked off in an earlier post about the names we give our children was...enlightening.

And whilst I’m not interested in replaying the name calling (...) or harshness, I am interested in the perspectives of the people who were posting. And in the intensity of feeling.

Of course the names of children offer onlookers insight into the background and preferences of the parents who give them.

Beyond appreciating the sound or historical/family significance of the names themselves, thinking about how people will internalise our children’s names almost necessarily plays a part in our decision to name them as we do.

Names are signposts — perhaps of taste, in our given spheres — or indications of what we find beautiful, or laudable.

Perhaps of background.

Or of culture.

And it’s a bit naive to think otherwise.

We agonise over naming our children for a reason. Or for many reasons.

But clearly the way we think about names is a function of class as much as it is a function of many other things — and class in this country is a pretty loaded subject.

So I ask: to what extent do you think names still have the power to incline us, at least at the outset, to put children into a particular bracket — and, perhaps more importantly, having been put into a particular bracket, to what extent does that placement impact we treat them?

Because that’s the really important part of the question, at least from my vantage point:

Not: what assumptions one might make about a child (or family) on the basis of a given name, but how those assumptions might impact how that child is treated in real time.

TabbyMumz Mon 06-Nov-17 21:56:12

When I hear what I consider to be a daft name, I think I put the parent into a particular bracket in my mind before the child. It's not the child's fault.

FatPeopleAreHarderToKidnap Mon 06-Nov-17 22:04:35

As a teacher I hear all sorts. Through experience I’ve learned I will stereotype a kid’s name, however I have also learned to reserve judgement on any kid until I get to know them myself. It doesn’t matter what their name is or how they are portrayed by others, what matters is how they respond with me.
I’ve met many children of all different names who are naughty, nice and everywhere in between. Names are meaningless in judging a person. I think most teachers recognise that at least.

WishingOnABar Mon 06-Nov-17 22:13:39

I think as a society certain names do have connotations that will affect how a person is perceived. Surely if you name your son with a “cheeky chappie” kind of name for example, it’s because you think that is an ideal personality type, and will therefore be less likely to discourage cheeky behaviour?
To be fair I can’t comment as I have heard my ds’s name being referred to as chavvy on the names threads despite him having been named after his 90 year old great grandpa confused

DayManChampionOfTheSun Mon 06-Nov-17 22:22:07

Can you link the other thread OP?

I think names carry significance, for example I wouldn’t choose to call a child of mine a name that belonged to an unpleasant person in my past.

Beyond that I don’t really think there is a reason to judge. Nowadays all sorts of people name their children weird and wonderful names, I don’t necessarily think it does reflect social status etc anymore.

missymayhemsmum Mon 06-Nov-17 22:28:48

Also, is it cultural appropriation to choose a name from a different culture/country?

DayManChampionOfTheSun Mon 06-Nov-17 22:30:56

Also, is it cultural appropriation to choose a name from a different culture/country?

Most (not all) Asian people I know have chosen an English name when they came to live in England.

Would that be cultural appropriation as well?

ghostyslovesheets Mon 06-Nov-17 22:33:06

no - that will be because of the big deal people make over not being able to pronounce Sanjay ...

Ttbb Mon 06-Nov-17 22:37:11

I would never treat a child differently because I assumed that they were from an uncultured background in the same way as I wouldn't treat them differently if I knew for certain that they came from that kind ifbackground. It's not the child's fault and not necessarily a reflection on the kind of person they are or will become.

DayManChampionOfTheSun Mon 06-Nov-17 22:38:05

Never really seen it that way to be honest. My friends who didn’t change their names didn’t get any abuse for not doing so.

I just don’t see how liking a name that may be from another cultural background is in any way offensive. Surely you like a name or you don’t? I’ve not met anyone who called their children names to push a rascist agenda.

Sayyouwill Mon 06-Nov-17 22:43:51

@missymayhemsmum have you ever heard of the Barter Theory? It’s basically a term that refers to taking aspects of a culture and leaving some aspects of your own.
I can’t remember to specifics as it was a long time since I e studied this but there was a tribe on a Pacific island who used to do a war dance, when people started to travel, they witnessed the war dance, they helped influence its change over the years, so the war dance changed to a cultural performance and has travelled far and wide. It’s brought new money and influences to the island and it has been used in performances all over the world, again adapted and changed.
I think the same thing applies with names. You choose a name you like, it had special meaning to you, where did it come from originally? let’s face it, it will be almost impossible to find a name that hasn’t been influenced by different languages/cultures over time. My son had a French name, he is not French. It’s not obvious right away that it is a French name as it is widely used in the UK but it is. It is influenced by my time living there. You wouldn’t know that if I didn’t tell you. Why can’t one culture ‘borrow’ a name? Providing it isn’t offensive (such as the n word), why not?

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