When I thought of a name for my first born, I never thought that I would in her college years, have a discussion about her wanting to change her name.
I thought about the name I would give my daughter (if the baby was a girl) before her birth. Naming her after my grandmother, someone I loved dearly was a no brainer! Indeed a daughter was born and I decided that rather than Timinisha, I would shorten the name and call my baby Tinisha. Her tiny frame led me to believe she would be able to say her name well.
I thought about how much I loved my grandmother, and how much I loved my daughter. I though about how honored my grandmother would have been if she were alive to know I had given my child her name. I thought about proud my daughter would be when she grew up and heard my story of why she was named Tinisha.
I never thought about ethnicity, prejudice, or discrimination. I never thought about the “a” sound having any particular significance.
This week once again, I was rudely awakened from my peaceful state of mind to the ever-ending story of discrimination and prejudice. The reference by some, to not hire someone because of their ethnic sounding name, brought to mind the stories I read and heard of people who were being discriminated against because of their name. It also brought to mind the poignant moment when my daughter a postgraduate student then, came to me and wanted to talk about “changing her name”. My heart dropped right, and I was filled with so many negative emotions I still can’t describe. My eyes welled up with tears as I waited respectfully, to hear the rest of her story.