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Condemning non-traditional names smacks of racism

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Condemning non-traditional names smacks of racism
Jerry Hough
Jim Wallace / Associated Press

Jerry Hough, the Duke University professor criticized for an online post comparing blacks and Asians.

Jerry Hough, the Duke University professor criticized for an online post comparing blacks and Asians.

(Jim Wallace / Associated Press)
By Karthick Ramakrishnan
No one should have to choose names that fit an "old American" standard.

Inflammatory Internet comments don’t usually become news stories unto themselves. But a Duke University professor recently pulled off that trick. In response to a New York Times editorial about racism in Baltimore, Jerry Hough wrote that African-Americans “just feel sorry for themselves” and compared “the blacks” unfavorably to “the Asians.” He argued, specifically, that African-Americans adopt “strange new names” because they lack a desire for integration, as opposed to Asian-Americans, who choose “simple old American” first names.

The professor’s comment angered many, with good reason. Dozens of writers have already explained why it’s racist to say that African-Americans “feel sorry for themselves” or to blame African-Americans for low rates of intermarriage (another claim in his screed). I’d like to focus on the assertion that African-Americans have strange names whereas Asian-Americans have simple names.

I am an Asian-American with what some might call a strange name. The professor was probably not thinking about the 4 million or so South Asians living in this country, who make up more than 20 percent of the Asian-American population and who tend to have distinctly ethnic names. He probably was thinking about Chinese or Korean immigrants, who tend to choose European names for their U.S.-born children.

Second, it seems worth pointing out that unfamiliar names are not necessarily a barrier for advancement. A prominent circuit court judge, and likely next nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, is named Padmanabhan Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan. The current chief executive of Microsoft is Satya Nadella, and one of the most celebrated architects of the 20th century is Ieoh Ming “I.M.” Pei.

Indeed, among Asian-Americans, Indians are the least likely to have Anglo or Christian names, but they are the group with the highest levels of educational attainment and income in the United States and appear relatively frequently as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

Among Asian Americans, Indians are the least likely to have Anglo or Christian names, but they are the group with the highest levels of educational attainment and income.-

Of course, this doesn’t mean that having a distinct name is without disadvantage. Research has found that job applicants with Anglo names are 50 percent more likely to get callback interviews than those with distinctly African-American names and identical resumes.

Another study found that university professors were much more likely to respond to prospective graduate students whose names were distinctly white and male, as opposed to those that were distinctly black, Latino or Asian.

A third point, which should be obvious — but apparently wasn’t to this Duke professor — is that many white families choose “strange” names for their children, too, yet they do not face negative social repercussions for these choices and no one accuses them of failing to integrate.

cComments
  • Just more dribble from the left that looking cross-eyed at a minority is racism. People who do not have guaranteed employment like this leftie and live in the real world know the Duke professor is correct. The problem is these so called academics are indoctrinating our kids to their bizarre...
    irving
    at 7:24 AM June 01, 2015
Unusual but European-sounding names — such as Imogen and Maxton — gain in popularity each year, and these are unlikely to lead to discrimination when these children try in a decade or two to gain admission to graduate school or find suitable employment.

Taggart is an unusual name, but Taggart Romney’s father, Mitt (another unusual name), probably wasn’t trying to keep his son outside the social mainstream. And I wonder what Professor Hough thinks of the name Track, as in Track Palin, Sarah Palin’s son.

Parents choose names based on what is meaningful to them and to those in their social networks. More generally, a name is an intimate and personal decision made by parents and later affirmed (or modified) by their children. Names are an important part of people’s identities and often have important meanings unto themselves.

By accepting strangeness and novelty for distinctly white names while condemning the same for other racial groups, we run the risk of not only ignoring the realities of racial discrimination but also perpetuating disadvantage — allowing names to reflect personal taste for some groups but not for others.

I can understand why some African-American and Asian-American families want to avoid the possibility of discrimination at all costs and choose Anglicized names for their children, much like earlier generations of European immigrants.

But no one should have to choose names that fit an “old American” standard. Instead of pressuring or criticizing parents, it would be far more fruitful to remove the root cause of name-based disadvantage: racial discrimination among prospective employers and admissions officers.

Online job and university applications easily allow names to be removed from consideration, at least in early rounds of selection. Furthermore, training sessions on implicit bias can help ensure that racial and ethnic discrimination is minimized, not only when decision-makers encounter ethnically distinct names in job applications but also later, as those individuals become employees trying to advance and thrive in their respective institutions.

Los Angeles Times

Karthick Ramakrishnan is a professor of public policy at the University of California at Riverside and director of AAPIData.com.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/local/ct-duke-professor-names-racist-20150531-story.html

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The name that one gives one's child can be a blessing or a curse for life. Perhaps some parents can take a broader view of what might be important to the child later, whether it be career success or pride in one's racial heritage. (These aims need not be mutually exclusive.)


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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The name that one gives one's child can be a blessing or a curse for life. Perhaps some parents can take a broader view of what might be important to the child later, whether it be career success or pride in one's racial heritage. (These aims need not be mutually exclusive.)

It's a slippery slope. You want to be able to have the freedom to name your children as you see fit, but doing so (moreso in the black and hispanic communities) can be a curse if your name identifies you as such. Quite a few stories where folks that had black or Hispanic names couldn't get any referrals, but just changing that made a world of difference.

Instead of parents having to do what you suggested above, companies should be focusing on the qualifications on paper, rather than the worry of hiring Darius or Jose'...


“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

President-Obama-jpg.jpg

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Makes sense, but parents might be able to change their approach better than companies can (or will).

I wonder whether studies have been done in regard to any positive effects of having a "non-White" name, such as when companies needed to adhere to Affirmative Action hiring guidelines, or to other governmental or internal diversity targets. If someone has a link to such a study, by all means post it.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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I have a totally Anglo, double-barrelled last name as a result of marriage to a person from the Land That Invented White People (aka England). I am not going back to my very nice but totally ethnic maiden name, thank you. Having a posh-sounding name coupled with a posh accent and a withering stare has eradicated much of the prejudice I was subjected to in my youth. I'm not particularly proud of taking this step, but it makes life easier. It's pretty pathetic.

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Hmmm. I'm tempted to rename myself "Belvedere Jehosephat Kingfisher" or similar.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Makes sense, but parents might be able to change their approach better than companies can (or will).

I wonder whether studies have been done in regard to any positive effects of having a "non-White" name, such as when companies needed to adhere to Affirmative Action hiring guidelines, or to other governmental or internal diversity targets. If someone has a link to such a study, by all means post it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/mindy-kaling-brother-posing-black-man-medical-school_n_7011720.html

I think this is the most recent thing I could find.

The only thing I hate about things like this is it undermines the struggle others face when it comes to discrimination. If people can find ONE person who makes it through because of being a POC, it proves there's no such thing as institutionalized racism.


“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

President-Obama-jpg.jpg

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original.jpg

You see similar stories come up now and then and of course there ware the Asian students complaining that they could not get into the top Uni's due to discrimination not that longer ago.

This guy obviously went well beyond changing his name.

Never worked in HR but any decent job seems to attract many applicants so most will be disappointed no matter what their name.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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The name that one gives one's child can be a blessing or a curse for life. Perhaps some parents can take a broader view of what might be important to the child later, whether it be career success or pride in one's racial heritage. (These aims need not be mutually exclusive.)

I tend to agree. My wife and I had that discussion when our daughter was on the way. I know the difficulties one can have with an unusual name - deal with it pretty much every day. There isn't a person in this country who manages to pronounce my name correctly let alone know how to spell it. And between my wife and I, I have the easy name. My wife goes by a nickname since nobody here would ever be able to say her name. Because of that experience, we settled on a name for our daughter that is common and easy enough to recognize in any of the three countries that our little family has ties to.

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I demand that naming a child Billy Bob to stero type him. Anything less is racist

I tend to agree. My wife and I had that discussion when our daughter was on the way. I know the difficulties one can have with an unusual name - deal with it pretty much every day. There isn't a person in this country who manages to pronounce my name correctly let alone know how to spell it. And between my wife and I, I have the easy name. My wife goes by a nickname since nobody here would ever be able to say her name. Because of that experience, we settled on a name for our daughter that is common and easy enough to recognize in any of the three countries that our little family has ties to.

Although unusual I don't think Mr. BIG Dog is hard to pronounce, even for me

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My Brother to this day uses his middle name as I could not pronounce his first name so called him by his middle name.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/mindy-kaling-brother-posing-black-man-medical-school_n_7011720.html

I think this is the most recent thing I could find.

The only thing I hate about things like this is it undermines the struggle others face when it comes to discrimination. If people can find ONE person who makes it through because of being a POC, it proves there's no such thing as institutionalized racism.

I'd not seen that, Marvin -- thanks.

I'm not so sure that things like this undermine the struggle as much as they prompt discussion about it, optimally with at least a mutual understanding.

I tend to agree. My wife and I had that discussion when our daughter was on the way. I know the difficulties one can have with an unusual name - deal with it pretty much every day. There isn't a person in this country who manages to pronounce my name correctly let alone know how to spell it. And between my wife and I, I have the easy name. My wife goes by a nickname since nobody here would ever be able to say her name. Because of that experience, we settled on a name for our daughter that is common and easy enough to recognize in any of the three countries that our little family has ties to.

How many umlauts do you have in yours, and do they use umlauts in your wife's country of origin?

It was good that you discussed this.

On a lighter note, I have trouble getting people to initial-cap and hyphenate "T-Bone" properly.


06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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Google is largely failing to diversify its workforce beyond white and Asian men even though it hired women to fill one in every five of its openings for computer programmers and other high-paying technology jobs last year.

The imbalanced picture emerged in a demographic breakdown that Google released on Monday. The report underscored the challenges that Google and most other major technology companies face as they try to add more women, black people and Hispanics to their payrolls after many years of primarily relying on the technical skills of white and Asian men.

“Early indications show promise but we know that with an organisation our size, year-on-year growth and meaningful change is going to take time,” said Nancy Lee, Google’s vice-president of people operations.

Only 18% of Google’s worldwide technology jobs were held by women at the beginning of 2015, but that was up a percentage point from 2014. White people held 59% of Google’s tech jobs in the US, and Asian people filled 35% of the positions, the report found.

The slight rise in women stemmed from a concerted effort to bring the numbers up. Google said 21% of the workers it hired for technology jobs last year were women. The Mountain View, California, company added 9,700 jobs last year, although it declined to specify how many were for programming and other openings requiring technical knowledge.

Overall, Google employed 53,600 people at the end of 2014. In the US, just 2% of Google’s workers were black people and 3% were Hispanic. Across all industries in the US, 12% of the workforce are black people and 14% are Hispanic.

The latest snapshot of Google’s workforce comes roughly a year after it publicly disclosed the gender and racial makeup of its payroll for the first time, casting a spotlight on a diversity problem vexing the entire technology industry. Other well-known technology trendsetters, including Apple and Facebook, subsequently released data revealing similar diversity problems.

Mortified by the disclosures, Google and most of its other technology peers have been pouring more money into programs steering more women, black people and Hispanics to focus on science and mathematics in schools and have stepped up recruiting minority students as they prepare to graduate from college.

The civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who has been spearheading the drive to diversify the tech industry, applauded Google for releasing its workforce data again to help keep pressure on the technology industry to change the composition of its employees.

“Tech companies must move from the aspiration of ‘doing better’ to concrete actionable hiring to move the needle,” Jackson said in a statement. “We aim to change the flow of the river.”


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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There isn't a person in this country who manages to pronounce my name correctly let alone know how to spell it.

I accept this challenge (clears throat and cracks knuckles):

Herr Dietfried Hludowig Berahthraben Großer Hund.

Ich erreichte es genau auf den ersten Versuch, ja mann!

(Got it, first try, si man!)

Edited by TBoneTX

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

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