The misfortune of Ebonic names

Bernie, at Planck’s Constant, points to a Harvard study showing that people with Ebonic names like Tabiqwa, or Bershawn are much less likely to be hired than those with standard English names. Fortunately, Bernie quotes from the key parts of the study because Harvard seems to have taken down the link.

No surprise either way, of course. Harvard’s nothing if not PC and who wants an employee whose name you can’t pronounce, much less spell? If you are a business person who is, nevertheless, tempted to hire someone with an Ebonic name because, as fate would have it. they are otherwise outstanding, you should at least avoid names with double meanings.

Such as my all-time personal favorite: Latrina.

Or Pajamas (pronounced paj-a-mas), both of which are real names of real (well, semi-real) people. The second one came from a single (what else?) semi-illiterate mom in Mississippi who reputedly went name shopping in a  Sears catalog. I’m not sure where Latrina came from, other than ignorance.

Bernie thinks Trayvon got his young black ass blown up because his Ghetto Fabulous moniker gave him a bad attitude that proved suicidal. Could be. Who’d want to be called Trayvon, even on a good day? Although it’s certainly better than sharing the name of a toilet.

UPDATE:  Wonder how much of this (black teen unemployment hits 41 percent) is caused by that? They sure got a deal in Wormtongue, didn’t they?

7 responses to “The misfortune of Ebonic names

  1. God knows that there are plenty of whites whose parents have cursed them with crippling names. Robin Banks comes to mind. But it shouldn’t be insult to injury with some of these instant heritage faux Afro names.

    My father ended up being an Ops officer for a training battalion toward the end of WWII, and one unit that came through was an all-black one. He told me several names he had come across, but the two that stick with me are Cleo Patra and (discovered by his mother-to-be while looking at literature in the doctor’s office) Syphilis (accent on the second syllable).

  2. Dick Stanley

    Syph-Phil-Is! Heh. He and Latrina should get together.

  3. Or the classic, “La – a”. Where the ” – ” don’t be silent…

  4. I forgot – the first ‘i’ is long, so ‘si-FIE-lis’.

    And @jdallen: ‘La-hyphen-a’? 😉

  5. Dick Stanley

    Both of which handily illustrate why folks with these names don’t get hired. It isn’t readily obvious how to pronounce them.

  6. Latrina? You made my day, thanks 😉