New studies show that during President Obama’s 8 years in office, he seemed to have helped inspire Black families to select more ethnic and culturally-inspired names for their children.
More black babies have been given “African American sounding” names since President Barack Obama’s election, the result of new parents feeling better about their heritage after America elected its first minority president, according to a new study.
“As the Office of President is held up as the dream occupation for all Americans, the election of an African American president certainly provides an opportunity to ‘bask,’” said the study from two Texas A&M University professors and published in “Ethnic and Racial Studies.”
The unusual study of over 120 black women found that Obama’s election made them feel good and they embraced their African heritage. And one of the best ways to display that was to give their children more African American sounding names. Obama is named after his father from Kenya.
“These results support the notion that distinctive-sounding first names help to define identity for African Americans – the stronger the cultural tie, the more ethnic sounding the name,” said the report.
Obama’s election accelerated a trend that was already underway, said the study. “African Americans were slowly moving away from traditional, European sounding names in an effort to regain a connection with their African American heritage. Names like Shaquanda and Shaquille were being chosen by newer generations to express uniqueness. A child’s name has an important impact on his or her ethnic identity in addition to the likelihood of experiencing differential treatment. The research question in the current study is whether this tendency was accelerated by the election of President Obama,” it said.