When Cizinho Afreeka and Jéssica Juliana found out they were expecting a baby girl, they wanted to give her an African name. The couple settled on Makeda (after the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba) and Foluke, which is Yoruba in origin. However after little Makeda Foluke was born, Brazilian officials in Rio de Janeiro, where Afreeka and Juliana live, refused to register the baby, citing concerns with her name.
“According to the Internal Affairs Division of the Court of Rio, the registration office submitted to the judge in charge a procedure of doubt. The prosecutor’s office issued an opinion against the use of the name because they considered it likely to cause future problems for the child, suggesting that a pre-name be added to the other names such as Ana Maria Makeda, for example. If the judge does not authorize, it will be up to the party to appeal the decision in the procedure in the proper registry office that will forwarded to the Council of the Magistracy…
Also according to internal affairs, “when pronouncing the name in Portuguese it makes no sense at all, except for coming out wrong, which could provide possible future suffering for the person in social life.””
Meanwhile Brazilian officials approve babies with European names with no incident. According to BlackWomenofBrazil.co, where this story was first published, this is another example of Brazil’s deep anti-black bias.
As we’ve seen, anything that connects Brazil to its European heritage (in this case, names) is admired while anything re-connecting it to Africa is frowned upon. Although we cannot define this case as definitely racism, notice the attempt to steer the couple into naming the child Ana Maria with Makeda being pushed into third. If it isn’t anti-African bias, why not suggest another African name? Why suggest the couple simply introduce the ten millionth Brazilian Ana Maria?
Read the full story here.