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Linguistic Student Delivers EPIC Clap Back to Critic Who Blasted Black Mothers For Naming Daughters Laquisha

Avatar • Jun 6, 2016

Last year, social media erupted after Actress Raven Symone admitted that she’d discriminate against someone with a “ghetto” name.
“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not going to happen. I’m not going to hire you,” she told fellow castmates on the View.  Symone later issued a formal apology, but she was not the first and she won’t be the last to share these kinds of sentiments.

We’ve all heard it before, or perhaps we’ve even engaged in the stereotyping of individuals like the one Symone described. Bill Cosby, for instance, said the following during his infamous Pound Cake Speech:

People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something? Or, are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body? What part of Africa did this come from?? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans. They don’t know a thing about Africa .With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.

So the following question posed by an anonymous Tumblr user isn’t exactly shocking:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.09.13 AM

The clapback by user, Anubis-the-Incubus, however was pretty enlightening.Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.11.13 AM

While we can’t confirm the French origin of Laquisha (although it has been said to have roots in Louisiana French Creole), a search of the names Lakeisha, Leticia, source, Laquisha and Keisha confirms that they hold Latin, African-Swahili, and Hebrew origins. Frankly, I think it’s high time we all cast off the the belief that our names, skin color, kinky hair, or whatever other “black” qualifiers we hold somehow make us less than our counterparts.

What has been your experience with “ghetto” names. Share your thoughts below.

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About Lisa Jean Francois

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

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wakakaja
wakakaja
4 years ago

I also subscribe to the belief that just because your name doesn’t have some ancient or deep meaning doesn’t make it any less significant or wonderful. You name is special and great because you are (or as someone religious might say, because you are created and touched by God).
Your parents could have just made it up and your name would still deserve respect.

Nia Laing
Nia Laing
4 years ago
Reply to  wakakaja

Right!! And there are so many names that are native to so many races/cultures/groups of people. Through language, humans have come up with John, Vineet, Mohammed, Conchita, etc. plus their many variations and spellings across cultures. Somewhere, somehow, someone made it up. I find no problem with African-Americans doing the same thing. Just because Laquisha doesn’t sound like Laura does not mean it is wrong!

raiiin8
raiiin8
4 years ago
Reply to  wakakaja

Indeed. Blacks are culture creators. It makes sense that Black names would be original.

7ate9
7ate9
4 years ago

I have a “ghetto” name but it does not define the way I carry myself. It does not determine the content of my character. I do not like the name but it is the one my mother gave me so I respect it. Tawana (Tswana) is a group of people in Botswana and South Africa that spoke Bantu and I am honored that it is my namesake.

Itumeleng
Itumeleng
4 years ago
Reply to  7ate9

I am Tswana from Botswana and can confirm that your name in my language means a ‘cub’, a young lion 🙂 A fully grown lion is called ‘Tau’. Another variation of your name is ‘Taunyane’. Very noble beautiful name:)) And a shame that in the US its considered ghetto. Are you male? Its usually given to a male, but thinking about it more, the Western pronounciation of it renders it female for some reason. I live in London, UK, with a Tswana name like Itumeleng, which I shorten to ‘Tumi’ because Westerners struggle to pronounce it. It means ‘happiness’ or… Read more »

hermosura721
hermosura721
4 years ago
Reply to  Itumeleng

If they can pronounce Tchaikovsky and other famous white names, they can pronounce Itumeleng (beautiful name by the way). I hate when people act like it’s that difficult to learn person’s name, especially if it’s under 5 syllables.

Itumeleng
Itumeleng
4 years ago
Reply to  hermosura721

Aww thank you hon, and I agree wholeheartedly :))

Guest
Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  7ate9

Tawana is not ghetto, wait, what is ghetto? Because anyone from around Zim, Bots, SA, ( i do not know if west and east africa have it different) will know that most names are in mother language and have a meaning, in Zim they even use direct translations to English but they have a strong meaning behind the name.

Tshegofatso Katrina
Tshegofatso Katrina
4 years ago
Reply to  7ate9

I am typing this while sitting in Botswana. Its hard to appreciate its beauty if you don’t speak Setswana, but it is a beautiful name. Other than being named after the tribe, it also means a young Lion.

Cosita
Cosita
4 years ago
Reply to  7ate9

I like Tawana. I know a several.

eljjai
eljjai
4 years ago
Reply to  7ate9

Um were you named after the people, or did you find the meaning later and then make lemonade?

QweenOfThorns
QweenOfThorns
4 years ago
Reply to  eljjai

Lemonade ?

AnonymousThouART
AnonymousThouART
4 years ago
Reply to  7ate9

A Tswana person is called motswana ‚. Your name actually belongs to the neighbouring country beside Botswana called Zimbabwe. It means we have found in the Shona language of Zimbabwe

Guest
Guest
4 years ago

What a beautiful answer wasted on an ignorant person. Such a shame. I prefer to dismiss ignorant people. I only give beautiful answers to beautiful questions.

ARM
ARM
4 years ago

That’s dope! I think the only unfortunate thing about Black names (and honestly names of a lot of people in general) is a lot of us don’t know their meaning.

Guest
Guest
4 years ago
Reply to  ARM

This is cultural not racial. In many parts of the world, it is strange not to know the meaning of your name. Names carry a lot of weight so you have to resonate with the meaning to name the child. Even if you want to name your child after your loved one, you have to like the meaning of their name to do so. In Nigeria, for instance, you can name a child depending on how you felt the entire pregnancy, delivery, the struggle to get pregnant, if you felt love, joy, peace, relief, or you can prophesy into your… Read more »

ARM
ARM
4 years ago
Reply to  Guest

I agree, it is cultural and I actually appreciate your comment! c: very educational. I personally believe that names carry a lot of weight, but that’s simply my opinion.

S Hans
S Hans
4 years ago
Reply to  ARM

A lot of ‘Black’ names have no meaning but sound exotic so I think the attraction is just that.

ARM
ARM
4 years ago
Reply to  S Hans

I would disagree. There’s a difference between having no meaning and a person not knowing the meaning. Not to mention that a lot of ‘Black’ names are mixtures of the African and European names and traditions.

Courtney Banks
Courtney Banks
4 years ago

A name doesn’t have to have a deep or special meaning. Everyone deserves basic human respect, regardless of what their name is.

dwntomars
dwntomars
4 years ago
Reply to  Courtney Banks

THANK YOU.

merry
merry
4 years ago

learn something new every day.

SmirkEmoji
SmirkEmoji
4 years ago

I’m all for her clapback. But as a native Swahili speaker I also just wanna defend my language. Lakeisha DOES NOT mean favorite. Please, dear African-Americans, stop attaching “Swahili meanings” to things that truly aren’t Swahili. It is really annoying when you do speak Swahili and you’re like “Uuuuuuuuh, no. No.”

And in case you’re wondering what the actual word for favorite is.… For a person it is mpendwa. For things/inanimate objects it is kipendwa.

S Hans
S Hans
4 years ago
Reply to  SmirkEmoji

So glad to have read this. As a fellow African I’ve had to put people right that their names are not ‘African’ but derived or made up in the USA.

Esha the Diva
Esha the Diva
4 years ago
Reply to  SmirkEmoji

Thanks for the input but you’re an African not a linguist. Unless you study the etymology of all Swahili words that doesn’t mean you are even vaguely familiar with all of them or their history…there are plenty of words previoudsly used in the English language that are no longer in use and maybe foreign to native English speakers.…so actually it doesn’t mean that in the history of the Swahili language (an Arabic based hybrid of various black African languages according to what I have read) a word very similar to Laquiesha meaning favourite never existed…

Sedda
Sedda
3 years ago
Reply to  Esha the Diva

LOL at the American telling African people what their words mean. Again.

Ama
Ama
3 years ago
Reply to  Esha the Diva

Hello just wanted to tell you that Swahili is not an Arabic derived language and actually derives from Bantu languages which are native to Africa. And my opinion on the whole thing is I would rather see african americans with african names rather than made up ones like roneisha and teeshaya. My family of blk ndns has a lot of these made up names and im just like how hard is it to find an african name with a meaning you like. My own name is a swahili word though not name but it is a tribal name from my ppl.

Ronni Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ama

I would like to address your comment Ame: My mother named me Ronnisha as a youthful reminiscent of her name, Ronda. Therefore, my name is not an African name,nor made up. My name has meaning that relates specifically and uniquely to one African American woman and her African American daughter. Though I understand and appreciate your cultural point of view, I have to disagree with your linear way of thinking, because a person’s name is just that.… a name. A person’s character is defined by their actions and that ultimately defines what someone calls you. Whatever name we have, we… Read more »

Mary
Mary
4 years ago

Do the people who make these remarks realize how childish they sound? The last time I checked no child controlled the name that they would be given at birth. Some people choose to shed their birth name because they realize that narrow minded people might stereotype them on the basis of their name. However, doesn’t that reflect more negatively on the person drawing conclusions about another person based on their name than the person bearing the name? Something to think about.

Véronique Guannel
Véronique Guannel
4 years ago

I’m french and i never heard this variant. But a name does’nt need to have a special meaning to be beautiful…

YvP
YvP
4 years ago

I LOVE your name!

Cosita
Cosita
4 years ago

Names can also reflect a person’s own family history. In my family we have a lot of the same names repeated over generations. I have an uncle and female cousin named after my great great grandfather. My 4x great aunt was named Spice and there has been a Spice every generation since. I can see how people outside the family would think it was a stupid name but for us it honors our heritage and is significant to us.

Ama
Ama
3 years ago
Reply to  Cosita

This happened in my family until the current generation as everyone is making up names now. I thought my sister would name her daughter accordingly but she named her zoe. I was so disappointed and refuse to call her daughter by that whitest of white name. Lol

Eleanor
Eleanor
4 years ago

Even if a name could be classified as “ghetto,” what does a person have to do with their name? If your parents gave you an “ugly” name, (Laquisha is beautiful) is that your fault? If they gave you a “nice” name, does credit go to YOU? A name has nothing to do with professional value, and this woman is missing out on AMAZING workers because of her misplaced value in a couple of letters.

Camille
Camille
3 years ago

I feel conflicted about names like that. On one hand it’s wonderful to give your child an original name, but on the other hand as a black American I know funny sounding/tongue in cheek names comes from the slave owners. White people and Raven aren’t the only ones who think Laquisha is a funny name. My dad’s family is Creole and names with Le or La in front of them aren’t Creole.

Black Girl With Long Hair
Reply to  Camille

Can you explain what you mean by ‘funny sounding/tongue in cheek names comes from the slave owners’? I hadn’t heard of that before.

AJ
AJ
3 years ago

I’m Camerooian-French and have a very hyphenated French first name. Here in the states, it is seen as “ghetto” (what is ghetto?), I’ve been told several times.

Blu
Blu
3 years ago

A name is not just ‘a word’ per se, but a device to address or identify ‘a person’. We can assume most parents put a lot of thought into the consideration of names for their children and, perhaps a little more into making one up. A made up name is not inherently ghetto or anything negative, it’s a new name tradition with whatever meaning the parents have ascribed to it — original and always wonderful. African Americans have every right to have new naming traditions (including ‘African sounding’ to their ears) — names that uniquely identify them as a community.

Ronni Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Blu

Love your comment!!!

sero
sero
3 years ago

Why is that everybody but Black Americans can name their children whatever they want. Just stop it!

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