Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity by Becky W. Thompson
What Your Name Decides About Your Life
The Importance of Our Names in Society
Writer and linguistic anthropologist Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein reflects on the power of names to shape our identity — and to highlight both privilege and discrimination. Sticks and stones can break my bones. What comes next? Language can, itself, be violence. When I enrolled in graduate school, things began to change. The registrar insisted that my email address and placard match the spelling of my name on my passport. For the first time since grade school, my name in the classroom was Roxani again.
There are many cultures that place a huge importance in names and the naming of their child. In these cultures a name is more than a nice-sounding label.
a walk to remember name a star
Have you considered your identity through your name? This is an important topic to my wife and I as our daughter is due in 8 weeks.
However, now I am able to take the time and realize that even though I have not thought deeply about it my entire life has influenced my identity. Ever since I can remember, one of the most important things in my life has been my family and friends. I have been very lucky because I grew up in a family where I could be myself…. My identity is the essence of my existence. It is affected by my family, faith, life events, location and the people around me, and it affects my actions, thoughts, words, and goals. Each person builds their identity in different ways.
Sometimes we try to live up to our names. Sometimes we try to run away from them. But either way — and for all the options in between — your name is a crucial factor in developing your sense of self, and thus helps propel you forward on various paths of life and career. The term nominative determinism was coined in a issue of New Scientist to describe this phenomenon. The magazine's editors noticed two instances of scientists gravitating toward subjects that were strangely linked to their last names.
Our names, being the gift of others, must be made our own. What does our name reveal to others about our identity? It is a response to a familiar experience: introducing oneself to a group of strangers. Wang writes, in part:. Something about myself?