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To think people are treated differently because of their names

(91 Posts)
Springhun Sun 22-Apr-18 16:01:16

I’ve always hated my surname. It sounds weird and some people’s even find it funny. Because of this I’ve always felt embarrassed about it.

I have been treated badly by teachers in the past, as well as people at work, despite me being perfectly nice and hardworking. It sounds bizarre, but sometimes I wonder if it’s my name. A name is a part of a person’s identity, and my name doesn’t sound nice at all.

This probably sounds crazy, but years ago I remember hearing about a study, where teachers were asked to mark essays from different pupils. One essay was submitted twice with different names, and one scored higher despite them being the same work. It’s stuck with me and made me think our names do define us and affect how we’re treated.

Puffycat Sun 22-Apr-18 16:09:47

I think it’s part of human nature, although obviously very wrong!
People unfortunately attach significance and prejudice to names, First or surname.
It’s stereotyping and small minded but has been proven in many studies involving job applications, schools, dating etc
It’s not right but it exists

UserThenLotsOfNumbers Sun 22-Apr-18 16:12:01

That's horrible OP, I'm sorry you've experienced that.
Of course your name shouldn't matter but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

delilabell Sun 22-Apr-18 16:15:04

I completely agree. I have a surname that has a part of a swear words in it. I use my maiden name at work because I dont want to be judged and mocked. I feel that people see you as stupid for having an odd surname.
I hate the threads on mumsnet about "hilarious " names of people and how condescending and down right rude they can be.

BirdyWordy Sun 22-Apr-18 16:19:52

It's stereotyping and wrong.

I do think a Chanelle/Chardonnay would be treated differently to a Charlotte/Celestine.

ohamIreally Sun 22-Apr-18 16:20:26

There was a study on this that revealed people would see you as more or less attractive depending on what they thought your name was. I remember Christine was one of the "attractive" names with people judging a photo of a woman with this name much more attractive than when the same photo was given a different name.

BirdyWordy Sun 22-Apr-18 16:21:50

I'm using those names as examples because I have known people with all four names and they have absolutely been treated differently.

HermioneWeasley Sun 22-Apr-18 16:27:00

It’s been proven

Also your name impacts your career - Lauras and Lawrences are over represented in legal work for example.

youngnomore Sun 22-Apr-18 16:28:12

Well I was definitely made fun of and treated differently because of my foreign surname in school (90s).

GirlsBlouse17 Sun 22-Apr-18 16:33:03

I was made fun of because of my first name when I was growing up. My name was very old fashioned for my age. It has come back into fashion now but that didn't help me as a child!

trueblueari Sun 22-Apr-18 18:20:28

I changed my first name by deed poll because of how I was treated for my birth name.

Since changing my name, I have friends (when I didn't before, I was very isolated and ostracised at school), I've had successful college and university applications when I'd previously been unsuccessful, I find people stick around much longer after I introduce myself. This has of course really helped my confidence so things have improved even more. It's the best thing I ever did.

yawning801 Sun 22-Apr-18 18:26:08

If you're Katie Hopkins, then yes. And consequently, whoever does this is an arsehole.

honeylulu Sun 22-Apr-18 18:37:03

I think people do make assumptions about names, yes. I work in a law firm and it's nominated with timeless traditional names. It's a standing joke that female applicants are rejected unless their name is Elizabeth, Helen or Catherine as there are so many of us.

vampirethriller Sun 22-Apr-18 20:08:13

My name is the kind of name people give dogs. In fact I was named after a dog. I've had strangers laugh at it, teachers, lecturers. I shorten it but that makes people think I'm a man if they read it before meeting me.

TammyWhyNot Sun 22-Apr-18 20:11:13

My cousin changed hers by deed poll.

ValleyClouds Sun 22-Apr-18 20:15:47

I'm sure there's an entire chapter in Freakonomics about people being treated differently because of their name and it's economic impact.

SemperIdem Sun 22-Apr-18 20:22:39

Yes, people do judge names. Not only the like of Katie Hopkins either.

whiteroseredrose Sun 22-Apr-18 20:26:59

I think you're right, for a variety of reasons. I had to pull myself up when I was a TA with one or two double-barrelled names. I'd be slightly irritable getting my mouth around all the syllables then reminded myself that it wasn't the poor child's fault!

peacheachpearplum Sun 22-Apr-18 20:33:28

I was watching a programme on Netflix about Hasidic Jews and one young man was called Luzer, pronounced loser. I thought that must be hard to live with.

MrsT4 Sun 22-Apr-18 20:46:12

Yes I'd agree. My surname when I got married last year went from a bog standard 'british' surname, to a hard to pronounce forrin sounding one.

Even though it's come from generations beyond generations back and all living family of in laws and my husband are all british born. I have noticed a difference in people's reactions before they meet me, and I get much shittier customer service on the phone.
It's quite sad when I think about it actually.

Shizzlestix Sun 22-Apr-18 20:50:16

Read a study some years ago where French nationals used their own Muslim origin name (lots of 2nd generation North Africans in France) and some applied for 50 posts, no luck. 2 of them then changed their names, immediate success, at least pulled for interview. Once they turned up and were seen, who knows.

TeaAddict235 Sun 22-Apr-18 20:55:33

This old gem. It happens day in and day out in British society and across the world. For example if a name is Verity, or Liberty or Grace, it's treated with sympathy as the person is viewed as a white (maybe middle class maybe not) girl. If the name is Patience, Blessing or Joy, then it is assumed that the owner is African, and thus as the name board will show you, is not highly desirable.

Names that such as Sherezade, or Zelie etc are very upper middle class and are names very prolific across certain trades such as nannying or in equestrian sports.

My name makes people curious. If they are wise and or kind then I'll share it with them and educate them. If they are ignorant, then I just correct them until the cows come home or ignore them. In my field many people have beautiful and non English sounding names and so my name probably was no disadvantage.

It is wrong, but people do it every.single.day. And it remains wrong. Spare a thought for many working class lads with names like Jayvon, Devoin, etc who apply for internships or professional roles. The HR team system already excludes them based on the presumed prejudices surrounding their names. E.g. they are black, they are from a council block, they won't be as good or as educated, they'll speak ghetto, etc etc trash etc

On a good note, times and world powers change, and as such names equated with Europeans or North American heritage will not always be held in such high esteem. E.g. pippa in the UK is not beloved in some European and Central European countries. It might get a positive response in the UK, but should the person move country then they may have to explain their name or use a middle name.

Awwlookatmybabyspider Sun 22-Apr-18 21:00:49

My name is Clare. I've never forgiven my parents for my name. I've never had any problems as such with it. However, It's the boring mundane name in the world. That can't be shortnend
and I don't even have a middle name i can use.

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 22-Apr-18 21:05:49

There's also the personal prejudices. If the only Annette in your infant school was the girl who bullied you and bent your fingers back, then you'll need to meet quite a few nice Annettes before getting rid of the urge to be suspicious of anyone called Annette.

sunseasandfun Sun 22-Apr-18 21:05:59

i have a name that's not typical of my skin colour or background, it's usually very associated with a culture completely different to mine but my parents simply liked the name.
people from the same cultural background (Mediterranean) usually roll their eyes upon hearing my name.
people from the culture my name is more popular with ask me if I'm mixed race.
people from other backgrounds usually ask why my name is my name.

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