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January 15, 2003

What's My Muthaf***in' Name?

Steve Sailer linked to this study showing that people sending resumes with black-sounding forenames. Throughout the my life, I've noticed that people who refuse to discuss black crime rates and illegitimacy rates will laugh about names like Vershawn and Tamala. Why can't people who believe that the CIA gave Bob Marley cancer conceive that most white people think that typically black names are ridiculuous?

This got me wondering how this works for Asians. If you put "Yuriko Watanabe" on your resume would an employer be more likely to hire you than if you signed yourself "Mary Margaret Sullivan"? Would an employer say, "She's probably a drunk. Hire the Japanese chick." Are Asians with English first names like "Sarah Kim" more likely to be hired than those with ethnic first names?

Posted by duende at 09:22 AM




a few years ago-i read an article about H1-B holders with marketing degrees from india being thrown into technical positions despite their protests.

Posted by: razib at January 15, 2003 12:23 PM


Not only blacks give their kids laughable names. I have a cousin South Carolina named Zebulon.

Posted by: duende at January 15, 2003 12:46 PM


you don't live around mormons-they have some weird quasi-amish-sounding names. or just strange names. merlin olsen and dale murphy were both mormon.

Posted by: razib at January 15, 2003 12:59 PM


If blacks from the ghetto (who usually have these unique names) didn't disproportionately commit crime, it might become more likely that they would get hired.

Posted by: David at January 15, 2003 01:06 PM


I went to elementary school with a black girl named Chiquita (after the banana), and another black girl named Toshiba (after the stereo).

Posted by: a boy named sue at January 15, 2003 03:14 PM


duende, i'm just curious, why do most white people think that typically black names are ridiculous?

a boy named sue: chiquita and toshiba are not 'typically' black names...

Posted by: amadeus at January 15, 2003 04:30 PM


Hong Kong Chinese like to give their children really funny or geeky names too. I once knew a Hong Kong Chinese named Victar (yes with the "a")and another one named ... wait for it ... Edison

Posted by: Jason Soon at January 15, 2003 09:55 PM


A little piece of strange irony: if you watched 'American Idol' on TV, you might have seen that one of the female black contestants was named Rodesia. No joke!

Posted by: bbartlog at January 16, 2003 02:02 PM


"I'm sure if I ever reproduce I'll give my kid a name guaranteed to generate some serious Jr. high ass-beatings."
Jason: remind me not to marry you.

Posted by: duende at January 16, 2003 02:58 PM


knew of a girl who's parents were hippies who's name was lakisha-she was ash-blonde valley girl type, caused lots of confusions if ppl didn't know what she looked like.

Posted by: razib at January 16, 2003 04:26 PM


*darwin's wolves* are always on the prowl for good breeding stock-but pair-bonding & monogamy? nahhh....

Posted by: razib at January 16, 2003 05:19 PM


Really it's as much about social class and education as anything. In my experience, middle class blacks with educated parents are much more likely to have conventional names like "Jason" and "Jennifer" than the stereotypical urban black names like "Kareem" and "Tamika". (When I taught high school I had a male student named "Dilaudia," pronounced something like "Da Lawday") For black people, having a conventional American name might be subliminally perceived as a marker that he or she doesn't come from the ghetto and had a stable family background that respects education and the work ethic. Perhaps the people reviewing the resumes aren't so much prejudiced against black *people* as they are against black urban *culture* as they perceive it.

Posted by: Dan at January 16, 2003 07:11 PM


Duende - I said 'Hong Kong Chinese'. Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese are a fairly sober lot in the name giving department - that's how we end up with names like Jason

Posted by: Jason Soon at January 16, 2003 07:14 PM