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Unusual Names and a Life of Crime - Mo's Journal
July 17th, 2009
10:59 am

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Unusual Names and a Life of Crime
A study in Social Science Quarterly profiled on the Today show suggests that giving kids unusual names can lead them to bad behavior and eventual jail time. The study explains that unusual names lead to low self-esteem, which lead to delinquency, saying "having an unusual first name leads to unfavorable reactions in others, which then leads to unfavorable evaluations of the self."


I guess it's too late to save me and my kids... or Barack Obama.

Current Mood: amusedamused

(30 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:gaelushawk
Date:July 17th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
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oh, what a sad!

just yesterday I was reviewing "The names most commonly used" list, in my country.


I thought "if I have a son, I will not call he ( or she)by a common name."


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From:taffimai
Date:July 17th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
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I had someone once tell me that during my resume evaluation one of the VPs said, "This chick can't even spell her own name!"

It led to a conversation wherein the conclusion that maybe that's just how my name is spelled was eventually reached. I can't imagine it helped, though.
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From:executrix
Date:July 17th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
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taffimai: reminds me of an old Borscht Belt joke: one old guy walks up to another one and says, "Shapiro! You look terrible! You lost your hair, your teeth fell out, you're all hunched over three inches shorter..."
The other guy says, "You've got me mixed up with someone else, my name is Solly Goldberg."
"Gevalt! And you changed your name too!"

It's almost like...the Invasion of the Reverse Body-Snatchers! Or Anti-Capgras Syndrome!
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From:marag
Date:July 17th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
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::headdesk::

I don't even have a coherent comment. I keep dissolving into a mass of CLASS&RACEYOUIDIOTS.
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From:wneleh
Date:July 17th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Ditto.
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From:tarchannon
Date:July 17th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure an unusual name is more often gifted by parents that are most unusual, and both the name and the genetics encourage non-conformity (though the name probably has a lot less impact than the fact the parents are likely non-conformists as well) - aka naturally non-conformist parents raising a child with a non-conformist names child in a non-coformist household will produce non-conformist adults (*gasp* - so unexpected!). As with many sociological studies, this one seems to be very 'fluffy' as far as the actual science goes. I'd be confortable calling this one hogwash.

As for me (a lifelong non-conformist), I'd not only give my children names that are guaranted to be unique in human record, I'd give them four names. As a amateur genealogist, I'd thank myself profusely. After trying to sort out all the colonial Sarah Clarks in my family tree for a hundred hours or more (apparently at one point Sarah Clark was the most popular name in Virginia, in some counties approaching double digit percentages of women), I'd NEVER give my children a common name.
From:pin_drop
Date:July 17th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
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If it makes you feel any better for the sake of your kids, my name is one of the most common ones you'll ever find, especially in my age group, and I've always been a delinquent little snot. In fact I hate my name and have been actively looking for a replacement for many years, to no avail.
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From:mofic
Date:July 17th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
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I actually feel fine for my kids, at least as regards their names. I think the whole thing is bunk, personally.
From:thelastgoodname
Date:July 17th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
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I wonder how much of this is generalized "unfavorable reactions," and how much of it is specific unfavorable reactions. The specific names listed don't follow through with my thought, though.
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From:mofic
Date:July 17th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
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I remember that essay. Well, some of the names they listed are generally considered black names: Kareem, Tyrell, and Malcolm.

My elder daughter's name is also considered to be a black name. We're white and didn't know that although unusual in general, it's less so among African Americans.
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From:sabra_n
Date:July 17th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
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The study's methodology left out the names of immigrant kids, who get the "disadvantage" of coming from different cultures and having to learn English on top of their woefully non-WASP names. As long as we're trading in stereotypes, how would these nimrods explain the "industrious immigrant"? And did they control for any other factors thought to contribute to delinquency? Gah, this is stupid.

So, you know, speaking as someone with a "foreign" name that people have mispronounced most of my life...shut up, dude. No, really.
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From:lilacsigil
Date:July 18th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
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Y HELO THAR CLASS AND RACE!

First names are mostly a class thing in Australia, but there was a recent study of surnames saying that someone with an Italian surname on their resume got 12% fewer interviews than someone with an Anglo name, all the way up to people with Vietnamese names getting 48% fewer interviews. They were confused by the results with Greek surnames, but it turned out that people with long Greek surnames were discriminated against but those with short Greek surnames were not.

ETA: Your daughters' names don't sound at all unusual to me - maybe they're covert Aussies?

Edited at 2009-07-18 01:25 am (UTC)
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From:mofic
Date:July 18th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)
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Interesting! So there are lots of Kendras and Zaras running around Australia? How do you pronounce Zara?

And my name (Dale) is, I think, a common Aussie man's name. Is that right?
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From:thinking_lotus
Date:July 18th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
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I think they mean Shane'qua and Ra'feek. Blech.

otoh, having grown up with a somewhat uncommon name myself, I was quite willing to give my son a more or less normal one.
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From:ringthebells
Date:July 19th, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
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Thanks to a Quebec governmental website, I know that my kid was the only Callum born in 2007 in this province—though there were 2 the year before and 4 the year after.

Um, I have no real concerns about this leading to delinquency.
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