So Cool to Live in a Post-Race World

At The Root, a woman named Laquita writes in for advice about changing her name: “I’m a young black woman with what you would call a ‘ghetto’ name. I’d have no problem with my name if it weren’t for the fact that for my entire life, white people have made fun of me … I’ve had hiring managers tell me that they would hire me only on the condition that I ‘shorten’ my name for the customers.”

She’s decided the name has to go, and she wants to know how to tell her parents without offending them. Jenée Desmond-Harris replies that the real question is, is it worth giving into racism for convenience, or should she own her name and work to change stereotypes? (“While ‘all names are inventions,’ we tend to dismiss black-identified names as if they’re bestowed upon children without any thought or care. But if white people embraced ‘Laquita,’ she says, we’d treat it with the same straight-faced deference as ‘Mary.'”)

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