Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Does a name say a lot about the baby—and the family? And should you prohibit your kids from spending time with children whose names you despise?
That’s what one UK reality star posited. British Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins apparently uses kids’ names to judge whether she wants her children to be friends with them. (And prohibits playdates with kids named Tyler, Brooklyn, and Chardonnay.)
You can watch the TV hosts and fellow guests actually gape in disbelief at this woman running her mouth about how “working-class” kids aren’t going to be friends with her precious tykes. What I find most fascinating is that she dissed geographic baby names like Brooklyn and London, when one of her own kids is named India. (She claims that’s not a place—I think the 1+ billion folks who live there would beg to differ.) And while I love Poppy, her other daughter’s name, it’s not too far removed from Chardonnay. Check out the video here.
While this woman’s clearly a bit off her rocker to try to force her kids to pick friends with names she likes, she’s probably not entirely incorrect. Because we do judge people by their names, whether we admit to it or not. If we’ve had a really good (or really bad) experience with a person with a certain name, we may prejudge people who share that name accordingly. (I have to admit that the name Kristin still sets my teeth on edge, thanks to an unfortunate high-school run in.)
And the Freakonomics guys ran an experiment which shows how American prejudices run. They sent out identical resumes for jobs—one with a traditionally white name like Trevor, and one with a traditionally African-American name like Tyrone. They found that the resumes that had white names received many more calls for interviews.
And whether it’s an aversion to the popular names or a sense of condescension when you encounter a creative spelling like Madysyn, we all have our baby naming hangups.
Do you judge a book by its cover (or by its name)? And in what ways do you use names to judge people you haven’t met (or just met)?
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