It’s the first batch of name quotes for 2019!
Your middle name, Eliot, is because of T.S. and because of George and because it’s a writer’s name, soft and scholarly. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you the other secret function of it: it’s an escape hatch, too, from Amna. Maybe “Amna” could be a burden, we thought. Maybe one day you’d tire of answering, “Amna’s a different name–where is it from?” And if that day comes, we wanted you to have options.
You may have noticed, though, that you don’t have a safety parachute from your last name. It’s long, and it’s bulky, and it can’t be ignored. That’s also by design–my clunky gift to you.
I wanted you to have my last name. And I wanted it to be a burden.
The best approach? Blind hiring. Masking names in the first instance “would remove [bias] at least at the early stages,” [Rupa] Banerjee says, noting that many British firms have tried blind hiring with great success in recent years. In Canada, blind hiring is rare, but it has been proposed by a member of Parliament for use at the federal level.
So should applicants change their names to boost their chances? Absolutely not, researchers say. “That’s not the message that we’re trying put out there,” Banerjee stresses. The onus, she says, needs to be on employers to understand that such bias exists and to address it internally.
Hailing from Maharashtra, Irawati Karve (née Karmarkar) was born into a cultural context that prized education above all else, and had the means to acquire it. Her father was working as an engineer in Burma, when she was born. She was named after the Irrawaddy river of Burma. Her unique name was perhaps a premonition of the continued global heritage of her life and the diversity of her work has entailed.
Actress Amandla Stenberg was named after a 1989 Miles Davis album — a lush, African-tinged funk fusion that takes its name from the Zulu and Xhosa word for “power.”
In South Africa under apartheid, “amandla” was — and still is — a rallying cry against oppression. It’s a lot for Stenberg to live up to.
“You think?” she asks, laughing and thanking her mother for the heavy responsibility. Then she turns more serious. “It’s something I keep very close to my heart.”
One of Lewis and Clark’s primary methods for creating new terms was naming animals or plants according to some salient feature, whether physical, behavioral, or otherwise. The explorers noticed “a curious kind of deer,” in Clark’s words, “its ears large and long,” that was obviously different from eastern deer. Lewis explains in his journal how they chose a name for it: “The ear and tail of this animal … so well comported with those of the mule … that we have … adapted the appellation of the mule deer.” Lewis called a small swan that he spotted along the Pacific coast the whistling swan because it made “a kind of whistling sound.”
How columnist Richard Ord chose a middle name for his son:
His great grandad on his mother’s side was called Aston, so my wife told me, and so that became his middle name.
It wasn’t until a few months after his birth that my wife’s dad asked me about where the name came from.
Surprised, I told him that he took the family name of Aston. “You know, after his great grandad?!”
“Oh,” he replied. “But that wasn’t his name. That was his nickname. His mates called him Aston because he was the only Aston Villa supporter in the West End of Newcastle!”
In my book that makes his middle name even better.
About masculinity and baby names:
What a shame boys aren’t named after admirable qualities, like Grace, or emotions, like Joy, or precious jewels, like Jade!
In embracing the idea that there might be a range of genders, and that body parts do not in themselves constitute gender identity, millennials have displayed a healthy disregard for traditional roles and expectations. I’m betting the generation which follows might create even more fluid boundaries, and it will all begin with their names.
About a Connecticut coffee shop owned by married couple Do Kim and Hanna Park:
RaonJena Coffee and Dessert, located in the Glen Lochen plaza at 39 New London Turnpike, was named after the couple’s twin 3-year-old daughters (they also have a 7-year-old girl) Raon and Jena, and the Korean name also translates to “happy us” or “happy family.”