ESSENCE Poll: Do You Feel Judged Because of Your Name?

Photo by The Kansas City Star
19-year-old Keisha Austin says she changed her name to Kylie to avoid bullying and stereotypes.

What's in a name? Apparently a lot if you're 19-year-old Keisha Austin. The Kansas City biracial teen has changed her name to Kylie after years of being bullied at school by classmates who associated her name with “video vixens, neck-rolling and Maury Povich tabloid fodder," reports the Kansas City Star.

Kylie's white mother Cristy said she named her daughter Keisha because she wanted her to be in touch with being a woman of color. “I saw it as a source of pride,” Cristy told the paper. “I wanted her to have that.”

Kylie said the $175 name change is not something she takes lightly. "I put a lot of thought into it," she said. "I didn’t want to change my name because I didn’t like it. I wanted to change my name because it didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t connect to it. I didn’t feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it."

Discriminating against poeple with ethnic-sounding names is wrong. But it happens all the time. Especially on the employment front. In 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research published the dubiously-named Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? paper which found that people with black-sounding names were 50 percent less likely to get a callback from a potential employer than those with Anglo-sounding names and similar resumes.

So tell us: what do you think of Keisha's decision? And have you ever felt discriminated against because of your name?

QUESTION:
Have you ever felt judged because of your name?
Yes
42%
No
58%
Total votes: 243

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