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Expectant Mother Clashes With Husband By Wanting To Avoid 'Black' Names For Her Child, And The Internet Is Torn

Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm / Getty Images / Reddit

As a currently expectant mother myself, I can assure you that there are countless things you can stress about.

New parents can stress over baby's health, how you're going to raise them, sleeping arrangements, feeding, etc. until you find yourself buried under a mountain of advice and baby books.

One of the things those books typically don't mention as a possible point of stress, though, is a name.


That doesn't mean you're not going to do it.

Unless you have one of those families where every child is named David and you only need to worry about a middle name, there's a pretty good chance you're going to have the "what do we name the baby" argument.

Sometimes that argument is short and sweet. Other times it gets so heated that you end up turning to Reddit for advice.

This is one of those times.

Reddit user Thenameofthebaby posted asking whether she was wrong for "shutting down black-sounding baby names" - and the responses were pretty contentious.

So let's start from the beginning with her post:

"My husband and I are having a baby. I'm mixed race, half black and half white. My husband is black."
"We don't know the gender yet but my husband prefers names that most people would call black names for boys. Names like Trayvon, DeVonte, Marquis, etc."
"I grew up with a name that is tied to black culture and hated it for most of my life. I go by a shortened form of my name professionally (i.e Dee for Denaisha) because I have seen how people react to my government name. I am sure I have been passed up for jobs because of how people perceive my name."
"My husband has a name more commonly used for white boys (i.e Jake). He wants a strong black name for our son because he never had that and believes that giving him a 'white' name to avoid racism isn't helping anyone. I don't disagree, but don't want to use our son as a test dummy to change that."
"This has become a battle. I know that we both need to agree on a baby name but am I the a$$ for writing off all black names?"

While she may have a point about the perception of racial or ethnic-sounding names, there's actually been some interesting research into the origins of names typically associated with black culture. This video goes over a few interesting points about the topic.

The responses the original poster got were pretty split.

One group of people felt like, considering the social climate, she was totally okay to insist that her child's name sound more "white."

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"I am reluctantly calling your husband an ass here. I think he is being willfully ignorant here as hiring discrimination based off black sounding names has been observed in multiple studies. Giving a kid a name like this is putting them at a significant disadvantage." - [deleted]
"Names make a difference. I'm as pasty white as you can get, but my parents gave me a very 'foreign' sounding name. A few years ago, i started putting out 2 copies of my resume, 1 with my legal name, one with my middle name. I never got a call back for my real name, but 'Mitchel' got lots of interviews. Maybe compromise with middle names, or a name like yours that could be shortened?" - Kamenkewl

Others, however, felt that the husband had an incredibly valid point.

Things will never change if everyone keeps admitting there is a problem but doing absolutely nothing to change it.

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"The point the husband is trying to make for naming his son a black name is to help have him have pride in his race, and to kind of give the message that it is okay to be black. Naming him something white to benefit his future is a way to stay complicit with how the present is."
"Instead of naming your kid something white, why don't we all work to change the bias there is towards black names?"
"I'm not trying to say that they should name him one type of name or the other, but I that's a pretty shit reasoning to give a kid a 'white name'. They should pick something that they both like and not focus on what the connotations are."
"The people who don't involve themselves in the change are the reason it doesn't happen." - __kassanova__
"I have both an 'ethnic' name and a 'normal' name and I'd be very offended and disappointed in my parents personally if they avoided giving me a name from our culture out of fear of racism. I'd rather face an uphill battle than lose a part of my culture." - doneanddead
"This is a complicated issue with years of racism and slavery to unpack. Personally, I think it'd be beautiful to have a strong black name and black pride."
"If you're living in a racist community/society, should you have to change yourself and your child to conform to their standards?" - 3300advantage

And then there was the compromise crowd, who had some interesting suggestions.

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"You both have perfectly valid points. Why not give him one as a first and one as a middle name, that way they'll both be his legal names and he can make his own choice when he's old enough to understand." - Acatinmylap
"Both have valid points. Maybe suggest a name that has a strong association with proud, powerful and inspirational black figures but that isn't (for lack of a better term) "definitionally" black? Like maybe Nelson or Martin or Malcolm or Desmond or somesuch?" - womp-womp-rats
"I agree with your husband, that your son should have a strong name to be proud of. But there are a lot of very strong, mainstream names you can use: Frederick, Douglas, Martin, Luther. Putting the "strong black" name in the middle, while using the more common first name is a compromise I see a lot of people do with cultural names."
"For example, a good friend of mine is James Rayansh Surname. His mother and father are full Indian, but plan to stay in the U.S. They made sure he had a name to use on the resume while also just calling him Rayansh. He goes by Ray/Rayansh on everything but his work contact."
"So I think there are plenty of names that fall into the middle [look up French Creole for some absolutely beautiful names] without making both of you feel that your son is going to be lost in his name." - worried_daikon

We may never know how things turn out, but we feel like this is an interesting and important conversation to have.

The book The Baby Name Wizard, 2019 Revised 4th Edition: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby is available here to help find the best name.

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

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Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

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Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

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My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

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I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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