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The Importance of Names

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What do you first think of when you hear the name Brittany? What about Eric? Lashika? Josh? There are many names that have their own so-called “stereotypes”. Doesn’t Brittany remind you of a preppy, ditzy blond? Eric, a studious nerd who has his head buried in books all day? Lashika, an African American with an attitude? And Josh. The typical jock whose involved with football, baseball, soccer. All varsity. And some names not only have their own stereotype, they also have a special background, shaping the name into what stereotype has surrounded it.
There was a girl in my middle school named Olga. The name Olga just sounds very unattractive. No one wants to be friends with an Olga. No one even wants to associate with an Olga. Olga? She must be really ugly. But that was not the case. The Olga I knew was incredibly pretty. She had long brown hair, tanned skin and beautiful long legs. But who would have known? Who would have thought? Once people actually met her, and realized she did not fit her name at all, she, of course, made plenty of friends. But what happened when she ran for student council? She didn’t win. The vote wasn’t even close. Because the people who saw her name, but didn’t know her, didn’t want to vote for someone with the name Olga.
Parents who are naming newborn children have to take into consideration of how that name will affect their child’s future, their child’s life. About three years ago, there was a court case in Wellington, New Zealand, concerning a girl who had filed a case against her parents for naming her “Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii”. The judge ruled in the girl’s favor, of course, and had her renamed, stating that “The court was profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which this child's parents have shown in choosing this name. It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily."
Another example of a “life-changing” name concerns the actor Ramón Antonio Gerard Estévez. His stage name is Martin Sheen, in honor of the Catholic archbishop and theologian, Fulton J. Sheen. His son, Carlos Irwin Estévez, then changed his name to Charlie Sheen, to capitalize on the reputation of his father. Therefore, before even entering Hollywood, people paid more attention to Charlie Sheen because of the background that his last name held.
Have you ever wondered how your parents chose your name? I was born in New Haven, Connecticut. And my initials are C, T, which corresponds with the state in which I was born. I was named after Connie Chung, who became the CBS Co-Anchor in 1993. She, along with many other Chinese immigrants, came to America with almost nothing. I was named after her because Chung became very successful and was the first Asian American and the second woman ever to be named to the coveted post of a nightly news anchor at a major network. My mom wanted her first daughter to be just as successful in life. And the origin of my name? In Chinese, my first name literally means “healthy girl” and my last name, “to talk”. And yes, I have lived up to and followed full my name’s meaning and connotation.
The power of someone’s name has a stronger pull on that person’s life then one may think, for the name we give someone shapes our attitude of him or her. Just think about it. What if a boy were named “Scholar” by his parents? I bet he’s studying his Decathlon material right now, just dreaming about going to State. ?





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