What’s in a name?

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

*Warning Incoming Rant and unpopular opinion*

So there’s been a big uproar lately when a gate attendant mocked a child’s name on social media. (News Story Here). At this point most people are going to be offended and think the gate agent should be fired right?

Unfortunately, most people I’ve seen comment have said the gate agent did something wrong but the parents of the child are really to blame. The name is Abcde (Pronounced Ab-sid-ee).

I’ve seen people say that the parents (actually they almost always say the mother which has its own series of issues) are setting up their child to be mocked. How could they do this to the poor girl?

To everyone who seems to be so offended by the name, are you okay? I’m sorry someone hurt you.

How is this name any different than other names that could get kids teased? Seriously how is this worse than Angus, Richard, or Moon-Unit? Names change, evolve, and some disappear.

One of the arguments I see is, “Stupid Americans who want attention.” It’s fascinating how if this was a child named Séraphin or Apple, people wouldn’t be half as offended.

From a (obviously sensitive and biased) parent, this strikes me as a weird combination of intellectual-snobism and moral superiority. There’s a lot of signs of intellectual decay in the US, but this isn’t one. It’s a random and odd name that has been around for over a century. Sure there are fewer than 500 people with the name at any one time and the child will constantly have to explain it’s not a mistake, but it’s still not a good reason to shame someone.

New Zealand has a law that stops names that could be dangerous, offensive, or confusing. This stops people from naming their child after an honorific, so Princess, Duke, Justice, Baron, etc. It also stops long names like, “Oh god why did my parents call me this?” or names that are too short or consist of one nonstandard character, “i” or “*” There are laws like it all over the world with various levels of success.

Again I’m biased. One of the first people I told Keladry’s name to (before she was born) said that it was very trendy and went on to tell me how they only wanted simple common names in case they wanted to be in the public eye later in life.

Beyond my daughter, I’m also the son of Camille and Yolande so I understand non-standard names and my opinion is to just be kind and speak up against bullying instead of encouraging it.

Names are sounds we use to identify each other. I can find something to tease someone about any name but that doesn’t mean I should. “If you didn’t want them to be teased you shouldn’t have called them a euphemism for toilet?” Poor John.

There was a time people would have mocked anyone called Elizabeth instead of Elisabeth. Get over yourself and stop thinking you’re better than a poor parent whose child was openly mocked for their name.

What a person’s name is, isn’t an excuse for ridicule and shame on anyone who thinks it is.

Éric

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