“I think when people are judging children [for the color of their skin], I think those people are ignorant . . .” Raven-Symone’, Light Girls
What if The View told Miss Raven-Symone’ that they can’t put her on the payroll because of her eccentric, too creative hairstyles? Would her quote still apply? Let’s see…. “I think when people are judging children/people for their eccentric hairstyles, I think those people are ignorant.”
When I was pregnant, I labored over the perfect name for my child. I wanted it to be beautiful, yet mean something important. I researched several books and came upon one that had the meaning that I loved. Nailah: destined for success. The name is Yoruba in origin. Glimpsing Nay’s future, I anticipated that people would act as if they can’t pronounce her name even though they could say Machiavelli without a stutter. I even wondered if she’d have to resort to her middle name once she was out in the world. I also knew that not many would love Nailah’s name like I did and some (even family members) would question why I’d name her “some African name” in the first place.
We are creative beings. Even with names. I worked in a call center while I was in college, University of Kentucky. I came across names like Easter Sunday . . . Christmas Day. Yes, holidays for names! You’ve read about celebrity names such as Seven, North, Blue Ivy, Pilot Inspektor, Apple, Kyd, Sage, Ocean, Audio Science, and Moxie Crimefighter. Trust me, this list can go on. So, the thing is that creating names is nothing new.
Yet, the Black community gets slammed when they create names. People label made up names as “ghetto” and “hood.” Okay, so that’s one thing, right? But when we go a step further and put the individual in a box and deem them “ghetto” and “untrustworthy” then there lies a problem. Raven-Symone’, if you haven’t heard, has gone on record via The View, saying that she’ll never hire anyone with the name “Watermelondrea.” Raven’s come under fire for having one of the types of “creative” names that she vehemently comes against. Now, I might not name my child Watermelondrea, but who am I to limit someone else’s right to do so or condemn a child to a jobless life for their parent’s choice?
As a Black female, Raven-S has torn down so many of the young ladies who have supported and looked up to her for so many years throughout her career. Nailah being one of them. My daughter was in front of the TV daily watching That’s So Raven. We were proud to claim Raven as one of the girls who reflect us, especially since there aren’t many reflections for brown little girls. We watched Raven grow up on the Cosby Show. We even supported the Cheetah Girls (books, all the movies, CD’s, and even concerts) because Raven was in it telling girls to love themselves and to be brave. What a shame that the same person who sang those empowering songs is also using her words as a sword and cutting down little girls/boys/adults with unique names.
Studies show that there is racial bias towards those with black sounding names. Stereotypes and racist views come into play based on the spelling and sound of a name.
So, my problem with Raven-Symone’–besides that she has a creative black spelling of her name. Besides the fact that she wears extremely eccentric hair-do’s to express herself. My problem comes with something she said in the documentary, Light Girls. (-CLICK LINK) In essence, she said that when parents give birth to a light skin or biracial child all the problems/biases/stereotypes due to skin tone is directed at the child, and it’s not the child’s fault…it’s the parent’s responsibility because they were the ones who decided to bring the child into the world.
Hmmmm…….So….it’s not the child’s fault? It’s the parents who decided to make the choice? Yet, Raven-Symone’ is blaming the child for their “black sounding name” and will never hire them. Why not blame the parents? Or, are we just talking about scenarios that Raven, herself, have been directly affected by? I deteste the hypocrisy. In the documentary, Raven wanted empathy for the issues that being light skin has brought on, yet she is not willing to show empathy for a child who has no decision-making in their name? And, I’m not only speaking to Raven on this, according to studies many of us judge and stereotype based on names–as if people names themselves once they’re pushed out of the birth canal.
Because of this, I know Nailah will be judged for having an ethnic sounding name as if she would be a better person if she were named Sarah, Amy, Bethany, or Raven-Symone’. This upsets me because this says that only certain cultures can lay claim or define what is appropriate to use as a name. So, if you’re Black, thanks to folks like Raven-S, forget combining names with you loved one or creating an original, otherwise you’ll be limiting your child’s future and potential.
Let’s test R-S’s quote again…. “I think when people are judging children (people) for their eccentric or ethnic names, I think those people are ignorant.” Hmmm…Works for me, Raven.