What If My Parents Had Named Me Tawana?

A blogger who goes by the name "Daisy" on the internet recently wrote about having a "black" name. She's white, but her mom named her a black-sounding name she thought she had made up. Her whole sad tale of misapplied racism and misinformed job discrimination and shocking amounts of casual N-wordery is hilarious and amazing and delightful and terrible all at once and I can't really do it justice because it's Friday, but it's the best thing I've read all week. Just go, read it. And tell me: is there anything you wouldn't name your kids? Daisy seems to suggest that her mom, a chainsmoking civil rights activist, subliminally named her daughter Rashida or Shaniqua or whatever so she could get a little taste of How Race Is Lived In America. I always figured I would do like my own parents and raise my kids in a shit-poor country for a few years to try and instill in them a suitable amount of white guilt at an early age, but now I see that I could achieve the same result simply by naming my offspring Tawana or Condoleezza or whatever.

(I guess it would help if I married someone with the last name "White" or something "typically black" like that and didn't fuck it up by doing the hyphen thing.)

Seriously though, I'm mostly kidding, but I'm also serious, perhaps because Sean Bell's cop/killers were just acquitted on all charges, which reminds me of another unarmed young black victim of racial profiling and police brutality whose death at the hands of a bunch of overzealous cops I covered in my past as an actual journalist. His name was Donta Dawson, pronounced like "Dante" as in the Inferno, which is to say Hell, by which I guess I mean "other people," or anyway, the notion that we can really ever understand what it's like to be one...so I guess I should just stick with the former game plan, which is to say, marrying a guy with a really outlandishly Jewish last name so I can name him something funny like "Mohammed," that he can safely shorten to something safe and uncontroversial like "Moe."

On Having A Black Name [Daisy's Dead Air]
Related: Are Distinctly Black Names A Thing Of The Past? [NYT]