There’s one naming trend that just sits wrong with me and I was wondering whether anyone else feels the same. What I’m talking about is the quite common practice of giving your kid a traditional name from a culture that’s not your own.
I see this mostly with Irish names- and I’m not talking about ones that have been anglicized like [name_m]Liam[/name_m] or [name_u]Aidan[/name_u]. I mean people who name their kid [name_f]Caoimhe[/name_f] [name_f]Aoife[/name_f] [name_f]Clodagh[/name_f] even though they’re not Irish (and by the way, your ancestors immigrating from [name_f]Ireland[/name_f] 7 generations ago doesn’t make you Irish).
Here in Europe, we find this pretty ridiculous. I mean, come on. If [name_m]Giancarlo[/name_m] [name_m]Luigi[/name_m]’s parents know nothing about Italian culture, don’t speak the language, have never even set foot inside the country, don’t you think they should have gone with [name_m]John[/name_m] [name_m]Luis[/name_m] instead?
And if you think that’s ok- what would you say if a Caucasian couple called their kid [name_m]Mustafa[/name_m], or Zeynep, or [name_m]Kenji[/name_m]? The way I see it, it’s practically a form of cultural appropriation.
I don’t see an issue with it at all. If I were limited to only English (and by English I mean from [name_f]England[/name_f]) names, that would be pretty boring. Most of my names would have to go. As long as its not a sacred or offensive name in another culture, such as [name_m]Cohen[/name_m], I see zero issue at all. There are so many beautiful names out there! Most likely, most of the names you like are not originally from your country of origin either! And as far as names like [name_u]Owen[/name_u] and [name_m]Liam[/name_m]…I think it is more offensive to make an “English” spelling than it is to use the original spelling, no? At least you are them honoring their language and using the name as it should be. But I have no issues with any of it and it bothers me when people say names are unusable because you are ___.
I don’t see an issue with it at all. If I were limited to only English (and by English I mean from [name_f]England[/name_f]) names, that would be pretty boring. Most of my names would have to go. As long as its not a sacred or offensive name in another culture, such as [name_m]Cohen[/name_m], I see zero issue at all. There are so many beautiful names out there! Most likely, most of the names you like are not originally from your country of origin either! Looking at your signature, I see [name_m]French[/name_m], Hebrew, Irish, Latin, Scottish, English, Greek, Italian, Scandinavian, Norwegian…I doubt you are closely linked to all those countries. And as far as names like [name_u]Owen[/name_u] and [name_m]Liam[/name_m]…I think it is more offensive to make an “English” spelling than it is to use the original spelling, no? At least you are them honoring their language and using the name as it should be. But I have no issues with any of it and it bothers me when people say names are unusable because you are ___.
This is a great question. I’m glad you said you’re from Europe because where I’m from ([name_u]America[/name_u]) we know that we’re a melting pot of different cultures so if I heard somebody wanted to honor their Irish heritage and give a traditional Irish name it wouldn’t offend me at all, likewise for an Italian name Hispanic name, etc., even if they’re not first genetation or didn’t emigrate from the country themselves. I do understand that if someone chose something from a completely different culture it might be a little bit weird but if it doesn’t personally affect me I could care less. I met a family who looked Caucasian, and based on their last name and geographical location (considering the history of where different European groups settled in [name_u]America[/name_u]) I would assume they’re of [name_m]German[/name_m] origin, and they named their son [name_m]Emilio[/name_m]. I thought this was very interesting since the only other [name_m]Emilio[/name_m] I know is Hispanic but maybe there is a story behind his name and it was clearly important to them if they gave it to their son. And if a name was important to them or they just liked it then that’s a good enough reason to give it, in my opinion. It wouldn’t really bother me if it’s not from their culture unless it’s a highly offensive word. But that’s just my perspective from [name_u]America[/name_u]… I’m sure the case is possibly different with people from other parts of the world. And I don’t speak for all Americans either! I’m sure other people hold your perspective, I just personally don’t.
Hmmm. I don’t know. I am both from a European nation and American (as in, raised bilingual, spent a lot of time in both countries parents directly from both countries). I wish that people from Europe would understand that when Americans talk about, say, being “Irish”, they do not mean to say that they’re Irish citizens or that they have experienced [name_f]Ireland[/name_f] like an Irishman. They mean that they’re Irish American, and that is a different experience than being a Mexican American or an Italian American or a Jewish American or a Russian American, especially if they’re from a metropolis like [name_m]New[/name_m] [name_m]York[/name_m]. It isn’t an insult, but rather, it’s a celebration of the culture that they identify with through their ancestors.
That being said… I’m not a fan of people using names like [name_f]Saoirse[/name_f] in [name_u]America[/name_u], unless if you’re from a place that has a lot of Irish Americans. Most people won’t know how to spell or pronounce the name and it would get quite annoying.
By the way, I think that it’s fine to share names between European cultures, as well as any Hebrew names from the Bible, because this sharing has been going on for so long that most Euro-names don’t really “belong” to any culture anymore.
I don’t see an issue at all. If someone gives their child a name from a different culture, chances are it’s because they find something admirable in it. Cultural appropriation (to me), is disrespecting another’s culture. Not honouring it by bestowing it upon your child.
As for saying “if you came from [name_f]Ireland[/name_f] generations ago that doesn’t make you Irish”, well, that makes a bit of a conundrum for people like me, or anyone who lives in a melting pot culture and didn’t have the privilege of growing up in their ancestor’s culture; essentially, the culturally homeless. I have a mixed background of Dutch, Danish, Irish, Scottish, English, [name_m]French[/name_m] and a smattering of others. My family has lived for centuries in a different country. My husband has an even more diverse background and likewise, has lived for generations in [name_u]America[/name_u]. So which names do we get to use? Only modern invented American names? But then, I’m not American, having grown up in 3 different countries, I have claim to none, nor by this logic do I even have claim to my own ancestry. So no, I do not agree that it is a crime or cultural appropriation. Many of the names I love are tied to my roots, mostly Celtic or Scandinavian because these are parts of my ancestry I really appreciate, despite me being at least 5 generations removed from them. To give such things to my child would be to be giving them a piece of that heritage to carry with them and would be me honouring the cultures the names hailed from. There are even a few names of African origin that I would love to use, because I adore many of the cultures in [name_f]Africa[/name_f] and I find the names beautiful and meaningful while only having a very small part African ancestry.
The only time I see a problem with using a name from a culture that’s not your own is if the name is offensive to that culture or in that culture. In the end, do your research about the name and talk to native speakers of the language or people from the name’s country to see if the name could cause any potential red flags.
I think its fine. Names move around the world, that’s how Goancarlo was made. It is the Italian form of Chalres, which is the french form of a [name_m]German[/name_m] name. Names purely from your country is very restrictive and isolating in this world.
What if a couple migrate from one country to another? Should their child have a name from the country they are in, or the one they are from? If he grows up and has children with a native woman, what culture should their names be from? Should people not use the names of their immigrant friends as honour names?
It’s restrictive and separates people for no reason. Yes, I would be surprised to meet a white baby called [name_f]Shanice[/name_f], but I wouldnt say her mother shouldn’t have called her that, just like I wouldnt tell a black woman she shouldn’t name her daughter [name_f]Amy[/name_f].
As long as a name doesn’t have strong cultural significance, particularly religion, such as [name_m]Jesus[/name_m] or [name_m]Cohen[/name_m], I think it’s fair game.
I agree with this. My personal pet peeve is people using boy names from a culture that’s not their own for their daughters just because they sound “feminine” (or vice versa). As in, [name_u]Nikita[/name_u] is not a girl name.
I completely agree with you OP. You can use a variation of the name that fits in your culture but to use a name that very plainly belongs to a specific caulture, it better be your culture. Using a name from a culture you could end up using it inappropriately/ in a way it’s not supposed to be used. Different cultures have different rules when it comes to naming and it is disrespectful to take those names out of context.
@dayjoy the reason why a black woman can name her daught Amy and a white woman like me probably shouldnt use a name like Lakeisha is because Amy is not specific to any culture and Lakeisha is.
I think it really boils down to, do your research, ask your peers from all different walks of life so you get different opinions and then make an educated decision. While remembering that your child is actually going to be called what you name them and while you might not see it as a problem that doesnt mean other people wont give you and your child a very hard time.
[name_m]Ah[/name_m] yes, because as a white American with no ties to my European ancestry, I’m only allowed to use names from my culture. Here are my kids, [name_u]Freedom[/name_u] Patriot and Deep-[name_m]Fried[/name_m] Twinkies.
If you respect the culture, there’s nothing wrong with it. I get so sick of this argument.
[name_f]Amy[/name_f] is a [name_m]French[/name_m] name, just like [name_f]Alouette[/name_f]. The only reason we dont hear it and think ‘[name_m]French[/name_m]’ is because it has been used by English speaking countries for a long time. If it’s not okay to use names from a different culture now, it shouldn’t be okay to use it just because people 'stole’them a long time ago.
I hope that you have Greek, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, [name_m]French[/name_m], [name_m]German[/name_m] and Irish culture in the last couple of generations in your family if you plan to use the names in your signature.
As a European, I personally don’t see an issue with this, as long as there is respect for the culture and language that the name comes from. Names have been crossing countries and languages for hundreds of years. If our ancestors had only chosen names from their own culture, then there wouldn’t be any Biblical names like [name_m]John[/name_m]/[name_m]Giovanni[/name_m] or [name_f]Mary[/name_f]/[name_f]Maria[/name_f] used in Europe, or any Greek names used outside of Greece, or any [name_m]French[/name_m] names used outside of [name_f]France[/name_f], etc.
While I definitely think it would be strange to give your child a very overtly Italian name like Gianluigi if you’re not in Italian in any way (or a very overtly Irish name like if you’re not Irish), I don’t think it’s offensive.
I agree with what most people here have said. As a European, I really don’t see an issue with it unless you’re choosing a name that is in some way offensive to another culture (using a boy name as a girl name is not one of those cases, that might in some cases just be ignorant or intentional, but I don’t see a big issue with it as it’s not offensive).
Would I find it weird if someone who is not Muslim named their son [name_m]Mohammad[/name_m]? Yes. But it’s still not a big deal to me. If someone goes to a part in blackface or with an ‘[name_f]Indian[/name_f]’ costume on the other hand, that’s offensive in my eyes.
I also don’t get the aggressive argument towards Americans interested in where their ancestors are from and e.g. identifying with being Irish-American. I’m not American but I think it’s lovely to trace back your immigrant ancestors and be interested in the culture where they came from. What’s wrong with that?