I saw this tweet the other day and had a hearty laugh. And then I started thinking (uh oh!).
There have been several highly publicized studies about how if someone named “Lakeisha Jones” changes their name to “Cindy Jones” on a resume, suddenly they get a much better response from the HR folks screening job applications. The tweet made me wonder if there will come a time in the next 10-20 years when HR people are going to say, “Oh great, another hipster-spawn yuppie” and toss out the resumes of affluent white kids based on their names.
And then I started thinking about how this even extends beyond multi-culturalism. I know that I’ve been been guilty of thinking, “I’ve never met a guy named ‘Blake’ who wasn’t a total douche bag,” or “I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl named ‘Kasey’ who wasn’t a total bitch.” Maybe I’m the only person who’s ever had thoughts like that, but I’d suspect that I’m not.
And then I started wondering if this extends beyond America. Do people in other countries have similar biases against names, even names from their own culture? Is there some HR guy in Japan looking at a resume and thinking, “Oh great, another ‘Toshi’; just what I needed, another asshole to add to the pile.”
What’s going on here? How could a name produce such powerful reactions before we even meet a person? It’s not like people name their children Blake thinking that they’re going to grow up to be total D-bags. Nobody names their daughter Candy because they hope that someday they wind up dancing on a pole.
So where do our reactions come from? Is it simply because people hate things that are different or outside of the norm, and this extends to names–is everything, as the tweet implies, relative? Or could it really the case that certain types of people gravitate toward certain names? All asshole parents think “Blake” is a cool name, so they wind up raising an asshole child, or that all hippies think “Daffodil Buttercup” is a pretty name, so they wind up raising a bunch of free-spirited and aimless children with the same name?
What say you, internet? What are your thoughts on names?