Concerns About Naming and Cultural Appropriation2 min read
New parents have many decisions to make concerning their newborn. Parents take great joy in deciding on a name for their child. They see it as an opportunity to really give their child a unique and special identity. Sometimes they choose a name that has a special meaning to them. Maybe from a favorite book or movie or a name that represents a favorite destination. At one time most people stuck with very traditional, old names that were familiar to most people. But recently there has been a move towards more unique names for children. For many parents there are no rules when it comes to what name they choose.
Should appropriating characteristics of another culture be seen as offensive?
One trend in recent years is for parents to choose names from other cultures, a culture that the child has no connection to either geographically or ethnically. Sometimes they do so because they like the sound of the name. The problem is often times they have no idea what the name means or how others will perceive their child’s name. Could it be considered offensive to the culture that they borrowed the name from? An example would be choosing a Native American name for a child that is not Native American and even more to the point, is of an ethnicity that at one time had a history of oppressing Native Americans. The question is, does a group of people have the right to be offended because a name associated with their culture has been appropriated or adopted by another culture? This should be a consideration of parents that are considering this naming option.
Do your homework
Naming your baby is supposed to be a fun and exciting thing to do. But it is important to remember that sometimes something that is done as a form of flattery can backfire if the intention is misunderstood. This is why it is important to do your homework before you decide on a name for your child. Check out the wealth of information that is available on the web, when it comes to unique baby names and their meanings, and you are sure to make a well thought out choice.