I recently asked for post topic suggestions, and Diana asked:
Are the twins named Orangejello and Lemonjello urban legends or do they really exist? Legend is their mother loved to eat nothing but jello while pregnant for them.
Urban legend baby names! Terrific idea. Thanks, Diana.
First, to answer the question at hand: No, these twins do not happen to exist. I’ve also never seen proof that the names Chlamydia, Shithead (“sha-THEED”), and Le-a (“Ledasha”) exist.
Some urban legend baby names do happen to exist, though. I’ve spotted legit cases of Eczema, Vagina, Placenta, Female, and Meconium, for example.
I’m saying “happen to” here on purpose, because whether or not these names exist in real life — while it’s an interesting thing to talk about — isn’t really the main issue when it comes to urban legend baby names. The main issue is the overt racism/classism that made these names infamous in the first place.
The fake stories behind these names tend to follow the same formula: a person (typically female) from an underprivileged group (typically African-American) has a baby and ends up giving it a ridiculous name because she isn’t educated/intelligent enough to see that the name is inappropriate.
In short, the stories attached to these names perpetuate dangerous stereotypes.
So, while certain urban legend baby names can indeed be verified, we need to remember that the purported stories behind all urban legend names are false. (Even when the unsavory elements are omitted, as with the the mother who “loved to eat nothing but jello.”)
What are your thoughts on urban legend baby names?
P.S. Here are a few sample baby name urban legends collected over at Snopes.com.