According to a study published recently in Evolution and Human Behavior, men with black-sounding names “are thought to be larger and more dangerous” than men with white-sounding names.
The study involved more than 1,500 participants, most of whom were white. After reading three different vignettes (“neutral,” “successful,” “threatening”) that featured characters with either stereotypically white-sounding or stereotypically black-sounding names, the participants were asked to describe the characters.
The study…found that men with black-sounding names, such as Jamal, DeShawn, or Darnell, were assumed to be physically larger, more aggressive, and lower in status, compared to men with white-sounding names such as Connor, Wyatt, or Garnett.
The lead author of the study, Colin Holbrook, said via press release: “I’ve never been so disgusted by my own data.” He also called the results disturbing. I agree…though I don’t find them particularly surprising.
Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.
Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.
Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.
Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!