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Importance of Naming in American Society Essay

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Updated: Apr 15th, 2020

It could be said that naming has a vital impact on the life of the individual in the Unites States. Even though America is a highly internationalized society with a variety of ethnicities, naming determines a key social paths and attitudes in the society. A primary reason for that is the fact that stereotyping related to the naming still exists, as some names are associated with an individual culture, individuals with these names are being discriminated and mocked due to their cultural background.

Moreover, having a socially approved name is important, as prejudice and discrimination might occur due to the determination to belonging to the defined culture by the judgment of the name. I believe that naming is important, and its intentional meaning is related not only how to call a person but to the lifestyle, beliefs, and cultural background. In my opinion, naming affects social attitudes and a future path of an individual in the life.

Stereotyping is one of the social phenomena, which attributes the name to a specific cultural group or its stereotype. The prejudice due to the stereotyping of the name often occurs during the competition for the job offer. For example, the interdependence between the assumption of the racial identity and the name affects the job offer for the applicant (Watson, Appiah, and Thornton 2405). This prejudice occurs due to attribution of a particular name to a particular cultural stereotype.

In this case, a person is judged by its name and not by his personal characteristics. This situation applies to different social situations. It could be said that some of the stereotypes are rather ambiguous and are not consistent with the reality, as some of them are formed based on movies and literature. Moreover, another stereotype of naming is the fact that people have strong associations with the name and personal traits, for example, Anna and Elizabeth are less likely to study science, as they have feminine names (Asthana par. 1).

It could be said that social prejudices form a character of an individual. It seems that a child is under a significant influence of social inspirations and perceptions. One should carefully think about social attitudes before choosing the name for a child. Now you probably understand the importance of the name. Do you still want to give your child an exotic name and make him/her struggle in the big judgmental world by himself/herself?

Another point for the significance of the name is the fact that the name has to be approved by the society. It is widely known that name has to be able to fit in the frame, which is set by the society. Otherwise, a person with a ‘weird’ name might face difficulties in life. One of the potential challenges is the fact hard pronunciation of the name might be a key determinant whether an individual will be accepted to the offered position or not.

However, individuals with a different background learned to adapt to the situation by choosing a commonly approved names to avoid discrimination and misunderstanding. For example, Dawei is a representative of Asian culture, who have complicated name pronunciation, to avoid misunderstanding he replaced it with his favorite anglicized name, David (O’Brien 220). It helps him avoid social discrimination and save his cultural heritage, as he can be called by his traditional Asian name at home.

However, it is widely known that the United States of America promotes freedom by protecting the rights of ethnic and sexual minorities in American society. It could be said that it is a primary reason for attracting many immigrants to find their American dream and move to the United States of America, a country of equality and high living standards. As the country is multi-diversional, a plethora of names can be heard in the United States of America, as people rarely associate names with certain cultures.

Moreover, exotic name are gaining popularity, as it brings variety to the everyday life and adds uniqueness to the choice of the name. Nowadays, various names such as Anastacia, Natasha, Mercedes, and Misa could be heard. Some of them became rather frequent, in spite of the fact, that they seemed vague and inappropriate in the past.

We live in the continuously changing world, and it is hard to follow all its trends. Giving a name to a child is still important. However, the parents can use their imagination and give an extraordinary name to a child without being ashamed. We are living in the modern world, where the equality is cherished.

Despite a high level of democracy and vast human rights, American society hardly accepts foreign names. Moreover, Arabian and Asian names sound almost horrifying to the American ears, as they seem dangerous and unfamiliar. It is rather surprising that sound of the name dominates a cultural background.

For example, Anglo-Saxon names are still in favor, and, in this case, the skin tone and historical heritage does not have a significant impact on the attitude towards a person (Sadeghi par. 5). It could be said that cultural background is not discriminated, as ethical customs and traditions are cherished and protected in American society. It seems that name exists separately from the culture and has to correspond to perceptions of American society.

It does not seem entirely right. However, it is a reality of the modern world. Stereotypes exist even in a highly internationalized country. It could be said that name is more than a way to call a person, it is one’s future. Choosing a socially approved name is a way to avoid discrimination. Underestimating the importance of the meaning of the name is a fatal mistake, as the obscurity cannot be evaluated in this case.

It might seem that choosing name according to personal expectations is the right choice. However, it might vehemently affect a future life of a child and determine his/her position in the society. Despite a high level of democracy and emphasis of the rights of ethical ethnicities and minorities, such social acts as stereotyping and social perceptions still occur due to the psychological basis of these phenomena.

It is rather tragic, as it seems we have no control of the situation, and no changes can be made. It is widely known that it is hardly possible to modify a strong social thought. Nonetheless, if each of us tries to avoid stereotyping, we can make the world a better place. For now, you can choose a suitable name for your child. Do you always want your choice to be affected by the judgmental opinion of majority? To act or not to act, the choice is yours.

Works Cited

Asthana, Anushka. “Names really do make a difference.” The Guardian. 2007.

O’Brien, Eileen. The Racial Middle: Latinos and Asian Americans Living Beyond the Racial Divide. New York, NJ: New York University Press, 2008. Print.

Sadeghi, Shirin. “America fears you non-Anglicized name.” Huffpost. 2012.

Watson, Stevie, Osei Appiah, and Corliss Thornton. “The Effect of Name on Pre-Interview Impressions and Occupational Stereotypes: The Case of Black Sales Job Applicants.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41.10 (2011): 2405-2420.

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