Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's in a name?

All my students want to name my baby. I don't even know the sex yet, and they want to name my baby.
Currently ranking at the top of the "stupid question list" is...
"If you had to name your baby after a body part, what would you name it?"

Most students think that they're being clever and inform me that my baby will be named after them. Trayson told me several times that I should do this, apparently hoping that nagging will result in the answer, "FINE! Just leave me alone!"

Kevin wants to name my baby "Optimus Prime". He thinks this will ensure my baby's future popularity. Everyone will love a kid named Optimus Prime. Girl or boy. Considering the current associations that Optimus Prime has, I don't want a kid associated with a poorly written Shia LaBouef movie.

I have recently noticed a trend in names ending with the "uh" sound. My entire 4th period class has names ending with the letter 'a'. When I call roll it sounds like I have the hiccups.

I had a student with a sister named "Abcde" (pronounced "ab-si-dee") and she told me, "Un-uh, Miss, don't you dare take that name. We got it first."

Whenever I have the "you should name your baby this" conversation with my students, they are shocked that I haven't picked one out yet. I'm currently in my 4th month. And don't they know... My husband's favorite past time is coming up with names.

So if our kid is named "Avery Fine Jackson" or "Schwaawawawawa" (pronounced as you would make the sound effect of a spring), you know who to blame.


Metta said...

Ooooooo.... you have to admit though, Abcde is really tempting.

Think of all of the advantages: when your kid learns the alphabet, he or she won't even have to take the time to learn how to spell his or her name. He or she will just have to remember to stop after the fifth letter. SO convenient.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

where has that video been all my life?

heard of someone named Madeinusa (Made in USA) but it must be a lie because what the heck is actually made here and not China?

Pamela Palmer said...

From what I heard, Abcde has not created particularly positive associations for the name.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

oh and my vote is for Avery Fine Jackson even if it's a girl

oh and as of yesterday I have started calling baby Maria Fri'Chikenisha

Smiths said...

The pictures from the zoo are Amazing! You're hired. I usually get faces hidden when I bring out the camera. Seriously- stunning.

Robbie said...

My students used to do that to me too! If I ever have twin boys, I said I would name their middle names Zachary and Alexander. :)
Avery Fine Jackson?! Ha, I just got it now. I'm so slow.
Can't wait to find out what it's going to be (the name and the gender)!

Robbie said...

Oh man, and those guys in the little video are so funny! Nice mix of "heard of" and "not-so-heard-of" names they have going on there!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I guess I'm a little surprised that a person of color who teaches teens of color all day long would find that video appropriate enough to repost on her blog.

It's fairly racist in that 1. it uses the term "ghetto" to classify something as tacky, stupid, ridiculous or worthy of being mocked and 2. it takes what was a movement for black people in the US to reclaim the African roots/culture stolen from them through slavery by naming their children more stereotypical African names (you know not names given to them by slaveowners) and makes fun of that movement.

I know you'll say, "It's just a joke! Those are teens in that video making jokes!" Some things are just not funny.

Mariko said...

I'm sorry to have offended you.
I probably will have a lot to apologize for, if you've ever read my blog. :)
A person of color actually showed me this video. Generally, if someone uses humor in regards to their own race or other human characteristic, I accept it as humor.
But I don't normally subscribe to rights or un-rights in regards to being "of color", because your comment implies that because I am "of color" I should be offended, and those who are not of color should not be entertained by racially charged themes. I accept rights of others to be self-critical. There are differences in contexts in regards to humor, so I recognize that offenses may be different depending on the context. In this case, I was more referring to the idea that kids (i.e. my students or the kids in this video) can come up with some pretty dumb names, and they're pretty unaware of offenses that they might make in making up those names. That element also makes it funny, more about the kids themselves than the actual names. In the video they added some real names to add to what they want us to feel is "authenticity" but it probably adds to the offensiveness.
I want to add a little more to the "context" argument, because I do think Hawaii's in a special category in regards to race. It's hard to explain, but there is a lot at play when you talk about race and birthright here. More than I can explain here. It's a very different game than any other part of the country. Some of it's worse and some of it's better, the way all of that plays into our inattention to PC-ness. It's different.
In the essay "Mommy, What Does Nigger Mean?" by Gloria Naylor, I think its strongest point is that the discussion about racism isn't clear cut except when offensive words are meant offensively. Beyond that specific parameter, there is a lot to be said about what is or is not racist.
That being said, because you are offended, I apologize.

April said...

Good luck with choosing a name!

It's too bad that someone chose to be bold and write something negative, yet they were not bold enough to put their name behind it. I love your response. You rock! If I lived in Hawaii, I would be pleased to have you teach my children.

IZ said...

Hold on a minute. Since when are names like Shanequa, Delitha, Latisha (or any other popular african american name that are being parodied here) part of a movement to take back "traditional African names"? These names are of modern american origin, with no basis in african languages or heritage. Sure they sound foreign, or different from "white, anglo-saxon, racist dog" names, and therefore set african american culture apart from those of the racist whities, but they are by no means african. And some of them are, admittedly, just plain bizzare: L-shia (pronounced Eldashia)?

So anonymous, seeing as how this was one of the major reasons you found offensive this (imature, but mildy humorous) parody by teens "of color", I find your objections somewhat disengenuous. And since when does the fact that Mariko or anyone else is a "person of color" (read "any non-white, even if you are 99% white") mean that they need to take offense at anything mildy critical (even in humor) of the various cultural phenomenons we see around us in modern american society, notwithstanding their ethnicity of origin? If a white person calls his son dilbert, you better believe I am going to snicker a bit. I may even decide to do a you tube parody of "white sounding names". Will you take offense then?

I suppose we really shouldn't ever laugh at Cris Rock's performances either. He makes fun of black people all the time! And white people. And Asian people. And...well you get the idea.

End Rant

P.S., in Mariko's defense (not that she needs any), you won't find a less racist person out there. But what do I know, I'm white. Or "colorless" I guess. And I even included my name, so if I offended you(again), you can look me up and answer me directly.

IZ said...

PSS (or PPS, whatever!), even though this is Mariko's blog, she in no way has endorsed my above comment, so any backlash should be directed at me. Have a nice day!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh Mariko, this made me literally LAUGH OUT LOUD. I LOVED the video.

LIGHTEN UP anonymous DUDE! sheesh. I wish anonymous people had the courage to say what they need to say to your face. (I'm having issues with that too!)

Perhaps Anon doesn't understand what it's like to teach at Kahuku high.

I could make a funny video like this of all the names people name their kids in Utah. Usually all with a cute letter y stuck somewhere in the middle to replace the letter i. This video is just poking fun of how every culture tries to put their own spin on a name.

My favorite was COURTNEY. hahaha

No my favorite was the Sponge Bob one.

No, the Obama one.

No, the united states one, because of the kreative way they spelled it.


When Al was Bishop we had a lot of Koreans in his ward with random names like Stop sign. They said their parents came to America and chose words that they thought were pretty.

I love this post because I think it's an example of how mixed plate we all are.