What’s In a Name?

On March second 2008, humorist Bill Matthews triggered an urban legend with his satirical article, Enough With the Stupid Names. Bill is a co-founder of the blog The People’s News, which pokes fun at human foibles in the spirit of The National Lampoon. In this particular spoof Bill had brought to our attention the fanciful names that African-American mothers often bestow on their innocent offspring.

Soon thereafter, excerpts from Bill’s satire jumped the fence and began circulating on social media without Bill’s footnote declaring his spoof to be satire. That’s when the humorless defenders of “diversity” mistook Bill’s satire for genuine news and began their shrill chorus of virtue signaling. Here now is Bill’s offending satire:

Federal Judge: Enough With the Stupid Names

By Bill Matthews

After Judge Cabrera’s historic ruling, little Clitoria Jackson will likely undergo a name change

(DETROIT) In a decision that’s expected to send shockwaves through the African-American community – and yet, give relief to teachers everywhere – a federal judge ruled today that black women no longer have independent naming rights for their children. Too many black children – and many adults – bear names that border on not even being words, he said.

“I am simply tired of these ridiculous names black women are giving their children,” said Federal Judge Ryan Cabrera before rendering his decision. “Someone has to put a stop to it.”

The rule applies to all black women, but Cabrera singled out impoverished mothers.

“They are the worst perpetrators,” he said. “They put apostrophes where none are needed. They think a ‘Q’ is a must. There was a time when Shaniqua and Tawanda were names you dreaded. Now, if you’re a black girl, you hope you get a name as sensible as one of those.”

Few stepped forward to defend black women – and black women themselves seemed relieved.

“It’s so hard to keep coming up with something unique,” said Uneeqqi Jenkins, 22, an African-American mother of seven who survives on public assistance. Her children are named Daryl, Q’Antity, Uhlleejsha, Cray-Ig, Fellisittee, Tay’Sh’awn and Day’Shawndra.

Beginning in one week, at least three white people must agree with the name before a black mother can name her child.

“Hopefully we can see a lot more black children with sensible names like Jake and Connor,” Cabrera said.

His ruling stemmed from a lawsuit brought by a 13-year-old girl whose mother created her name using Incan hieroglyphics.

“She said it would make me stand out,” said the girl, whose name can’t be reproduced by The People’s News’ technology. “But it’s really just stupid.”

The National Association of Elementary School Teachers celebrated Cabrera’s decision.

“Oh my God, the first day of school you’d be standing there sweating, looking at the list of names wondering ‘How do I pronounce Q’J’Q’Sha?’” said Joyce Harmon, NAEST spokeswoman. “Is this even English?”

The practice of giving black children outlandish names began in the 1960s, when blacks were getting in touch with their African roots, said historian Corlione Vest. But even he admits it got out of hand.

“I have a niece who’s six. I’m embarrassed to say I can’t even pronounce her name,” said Vest, a professor at Princeton University. “Whenever I want to talk to her, I just wait until she looks at me and then I wave her over.”

Cabrera’s ruling exempted black men because so few of them are actually involved in their children’s lives.

Note: This article is satire, brought to you by the creative minds at The People’s News. It’s not real, but we hope it made you think.

As a rising crescendo of breathless indignation rose to its peak, The People’s News doubled down with a follow-on article claiming that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was demanding the dismissal of Judge Cabrera:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is demanding the dismissal of U.S. Federal Judge Ryan Cabrera. Last week, after becoming fed up with what he described as “stupid names,” Cabrera ruled that black women would no longer be able to choose the name of their own children without first consulting – and gaining the approval of – a committee of three whites.

“I am outraged that Cabrera has issued a ruling designed to minimize black women’s capacity when naming their children,” says Rice. “Having a unique name is a blessing. I might not have gotten as far as I have without the extra e and z in my name.”

This drove the humorless defenders of politically-correct good manners into even higher octaves of indignation. It was hilarious.

The only false note in the satire was the statement that black mothers began giving their children whimsical names in the 1960s. In truth, as far back as the 1930s demographers began noting the emergence of black children with names identical to those of certain Revlon cosmetics. As late as the early 1980s these names were still being included in books of baby names for new parents. These names have since been scrubbed from baby-name books along with their historical footnotes so as not to offend tender sensibilities. But still, you have to roll your eyes.

At their most innocent, names are just mouth sounds; a written name is just those mouth sounds codified in letter symbols awaiting its revival using the rules of phonics. That said, in the real world names are pregnant with implications and suggestions. Sometimes a name is just a name, but it can also be an alarm bell.

My Experiment

During the Clinton administrations an unprecedented rising tide of violence swept over American urban communities. Sane and responsible black leaders beseeched President Clinton to crack down on the enemies of our civil society. Legislation was passed; prison sentences were enhanced. Hillary Clinton denounced the hyper-violent offenders as “super predators.” That said, the daily newspapers and the nightly newscasts were bursting with lurid accounts of the barbarism of these “super predators,” which these same black leaders found unflattering. So they pressured news media to stop identifying the race of perpetrators. If there were images of the perp, then so be it. But henceforth, all media talking heads were to refrain from identifying criminals by their race, even if their victims had described them in detail and even if it would assist in their apprehension.

It was all about putting a happy face on a black urban culture in disarray. They needn’t have bothered. Once unwed black moms began hanging whimsical names around the necks of their sons like blinking neon signs, the race of Hillary’s “super predators” was comically obvious.

As an experiment I began recording the first names of perpetrators of violent crimes as reported in the super-liberal Newark Star Ledger. I stopped after a few months. Here’s my short list: Shaquille, Al-Shaqar and Ibn Muhammad, who together killed a pizza delivery man. Lashawn, Dalone (killer), Radazz, Shuquan, Naquese (armed robbery and battery), Hassan (accomplice to Naquese), Davon, Malik, Nariq, Kanem, Shuquan, Khaseem, Jequan, Jahmmel, Kwasi, Tyrique, Chevoy, Basim, Hanif, Karif, Khalil, Raheem, Shiheed, Ronell, Ackquille, Denzel, Shimeek, Quyri, Kelry, Jahid, Laquan, Ismaaiyl, Al-Muqqadin, Karieem, Qua-Shawn, Ali Muhammad, Quran, Ibn Muhammad, Al-Shaqar, and Muhammad Ali. There were two perps named Daquan, Daquan Breland and Daquan Wright, who recklessly shot and killed 1-year-old Antiq. The two female names were Taniqua and Laquanda.

The Incubator of Eccentric Names

Today’s social disarray is the result of decades of liberal dismantling of cultural norms that are essential to healthy families. The moral core of black Christian communities was undermined by liberal fantasies of ever expanding personal freedoms without consequences. Healthy black family structures were bitch slapped again and again by ignorant leftwing New Age utopians. The destruction of the black family may have inspired Ronald Reagan to declare, “The most terrifying words in the English language are,‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” As recently as the Great Depression fully 80% of black children were raised in two-parent homes. Not any more.

The government “help” that did so much damage was a liberalized welfare scheme that subsidized unwed motherhood. Henceforth, unwed mothers would receive a paycheck for themselves and another check for each and every new baby she produced. When taxpayers complained that their hard-earned money was going to households where able-bodied men seemed to be sitting around doing nothing productive, the government added the stipulation that the unwed mom must get rid of her lay about boyfriend.

This one program alone encouraged unwed motherhood and marginalized black men, pushing them away from responsible partnering and childrearing. In truth, an extra pair of hands is very helpful to a mom with a child, but the men had to disappear. The moms had to make the stark choice between a steady paycheck or a father figure in their homes. Black women overwhelmingly chose the steady paycheck. Responsible black fatherhood was kicked to the curb.

This social restructuring gave rise to The Black Matriarchy – the society of black females that now shapes the attitudes and mannerisms of the whopping 70% of black children born out of wedlock. In other words, black women in vast numbers acquired the sole naming rights to their children. Girls do better in life with whimsical names than do boys, a point lost on the moms.

Charismatic spokesmen for The Nation of Islam and the Black Power Movement of the 1970s gave the moms the notion that Islam was somehow more authentically African than Christianity. The white man had forced Christianity on the black man, they argued. Malcolm X was silent about all the ways Islam was forced on black Africans. Peoples in lands overrun by the Arabs who did not convert to Islam were subject to heavy taxation and vulnerable to enslavement. There is not a word in the Quran that discourages slave trading. Indeed, the African slave markets were kept well stocked by African and Arab slave merchants. Europeans had to make the arduous and dangerous long journey to Africa to purchase slaves because there were no slave markets in Europe.

Muslims have been slave masters since the earliest years of Islam, about 650 A.D. Arabs were selling black people for centuries before and for centuries after Europeans got into and got out of the slavery business. Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery in 1962, United Arab Emirates in 1963, Oman in 1970 and Mauritania in 1981. Somehow Malcolm X never got around to explaining all this to the unwed moms.

It doesn’t help that the unwed moms of black America are, on average, very young when first time mothers. Black girls, on average, begin puberty earlier than girls of any other race, at around 8.8 years of age. Getting pregnant is a ticket to full membership in The Black Matriarchy. For girls with no academic interests and no vision of a better future, having a baby is something to do that seems mature. Fully 80% of women who didn’t finish high school and had a baby outside of marriage before age 25 are living in poverty. In fact, that’s a formula for poverty. Only 8% of women who got an education, got a husband and delayed childbearing until age 25 are living in poverty. Black pastors have been shouting this wisdom from their pulpits for over a hundred years. It’s not a secret.


Sometimes fanciful names don’t matter. Does anyone other than the sports announcer care that NFL players come with names such as D’brickishaw, Barkevious or D’guell? No. But employers in a hurry to fill job openings may balk at the prospect of interviewing La Shaniqua, La Dainian, Cletidus, Jerametrius or Duneshia, names that suggest that just maybe the applicant’s primary care giver was an ignorant unwed welfare mom. Willfully strange names attached to native-born Americans hint that the person who molded the applicant’s world view was outside the mainstream or alienated or hostile to American norms. If an applicant isn’t a genuine African or a Klingon, then their unusual, name with its burdensome spelling and its difficult pronunciation, is just a gratuitous pain in the ass. To the people who must struggle with these names, they are ugly. They inspire satire, such as the one that opened this essay.

In one academic study, thousands of identical resumés were sent to employers who had advertised job openings. Half the resumés gave the applicant a popular and distinctly African-American name; the other half bore the names of fictitious applicants with middle-of-the-road white-people names. The result: persons with distinctly black names would have to send out 50% more resumés to get the same number of callbacks. That’s not good. Even stranger, the dividing line can be mysteriously thin. For example, in the resumé study fictitious women named Latoya, Kenya, Latonya and Ebony got more callbacks than women named Aisha, Keisha, Tamika, Lakisha or Tahisha. Go figure.

With no men in their lives to put the brakes on the black-woman penchant for exotic names it was inevitable that the New York Times would be telling us about Chanel Lewis, who sexually assaulted and strangled Karina Vetrano, 30, as she jogged in a Howard Beach park.

That’s Chanel, as in Coco Chanel, the very female and very French dress designer. His mom and her girlfriends thought that naming him after a French couturier or maybe a perfume was ever so sweet. What harm could it do to give him a sissy name like Chanel?

As a teenager Chanel had once told emergency responders that “he wanted to hurt girls.” His DNA as all over the murder scene. He was arrested. He confessed. He has a lot of anger toward women.

Well, good luck in prison with a name like Chanel. Maybe the rappers will make his “Boy Named Sue” life legendary. But will the rappers call out the dysfunctional matriarchy of unwed moms who hobble their children with “yooneek” names that reveal way too much about the alienation of the child’s name giver? Just kidding. No rapper can pass for “authentically ghetto” until he has given himself a really stupid name.

Thomas Clough
Copyright 2018
(I acknowledge the prior copyright of The People’s News for quoted inclusions in this essay.)
January 22, 2018