Stop Discriminating Against Names in the African American Community

By Allison Johnson
Blog Content Contributor

I’ll just put this out here, names are getting more and more creative these days. Yes, the black community is especially known for unique names that are far from the basic. People of the black community may experience discrimination because of their names whether it be in the workforce or in their daily lives. For example, I will throw a stereotypical black name out there; Keisha is applying for the same job as Ashley, who happens to be white. According to studies, Ashley will most likely get the job because an employer might not find Keisha’s name professional. The employer might not even look at Keisha’s distinguished resume at this point. Now this is something people won’t say, there are names outside of the African American community that have strange, or anomaly spellings of names. Here’s the thing though, I don’t think “Kayleighee” or “Ashlyiee” will face discrimination when applying for a job.

I’m as blunt as it gets, so here it is. I don’t like a lot of the names of people I meet. Now, does this mean I’m going to ever discriminate against someone because their mother fell in love with a name I don’t like or can’t spell? Of course not. There’s a good chance half of the doctors I will have to visit in the future due to my excessive intake of burrito bowls and honey buns will have a foreign name I won’t be able to spell without referencing to a sheet of paper first. Will I discriminate against them though? Nope.

Essential point is, African Americans would just simply like to keep a tradition with their unique names. I’m sure employers don’t blink an eye when they see abnormal spellings of Katelyn, or Haley. There is much more to a person than a name. Let’s be courteous. Believe me, if you think a person’s name sounds funny you’re probably the thousandth human to think that it does. There is a chance they might already be self-conscious of it already. To whoever relates to this, own your name! Flaunt what your mother gave you. I have met some wonderful people with names that sound much more unique than mine. Names have never affected a person’s work ethic, so it is ridiculous that employers use given names to discriminate against African Americans. Is brown skin not enough to be prejudice against? Stop going after names.

Featured illustration by Makenzie Knight.

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