Raising E and Yo

     Sociologist Dalton Conley was published in Psychology Today concerning the unique names he chose for his son and daughter. He defends saddling his daughter with a one letter name, E, and his son with the longest name registered in New York City, Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles. Conley started his article with humorous insight on how his children were named and why. He felt strongly that his children would not suffer any long term harm from these names.

     Following the explanation of E and Yo’s names he discusses how these names have pulled his children into the spot light. He relays his daughter accepts her name by including their conversation in the article. His son’s interview on Anderson Cooper’s 360 and inclusion to books about names made his son feel proud. At that time his son was 4 and Conley was concerned how he might feel once he gets older. By writing how his children accept their names it confirms to him he did no wrong at this point in their lives.

      The author makes a point of his wife’s eldest daughter’s name, “Mister Jamba Djang Ulysess Hope.” This is to show support in the names he chose for their daughter and son. He admits there are readers who strongly dislike his name choices and stated he had “come across posts calling me a child abuser” online. Defending himself, he states, “American parents are able to choose any combination of letters (or even numbers and alphanumeric characters) for their children (or themselves).”

     About halfway through the article, Conley discusses studies to find if there were any negative consequences to having an odd name. He is confident in the name choices he has made but decides to learn more of their possible affect later in life. He had specifically named his son to “challenge assumptions about race and assimilation.” Conley wants to educate his readers why having a unique name is important but also points out the drawbacks. He gave many examples of studies of names and the results. One study showed having an ethic name lead to less job interviews. This study confirmed that employers were calling four times as many applicants with white names for job interviews. A study of having a typically black name stated that student was less likely to be recommended for gift/honors programs by teachers and school administrators. It was also found that boys with feminine names tend to get in more trouble than masculine named boys.

     Conley makes a smooth transition to a more current work of psychologists “suggesting that the restraint that kids with unusual names learn when they are teased leads to better impulse control in all areas of life.” This contrast is how the author promotes his child naming choices. Because the name Dalton was used to make fun of him as a child and he adjusted to a normal life, so will his children. His son and daughter, now 12 and 13, are self-conscious of introducing themselves but are not subject to ridicule by their peers.

     By reasoning he turned out fine and now his name is even popular, simplifies it for Conley. Unique names for his children will make them unique people. They will cope with the given names and become stronger people. Conley is proud to have a hand in his children’s names and what they are becoming as individuals. He clearly manipulates his readers to side with him because “his children” are happy with their names. Stating that Yo’s name will be a dime a dozen in 35 years is a stretch but he relays his point. Having a unique name does not automatically lead to a life of torment, nor does it cause maladjusted adults.

Works cited: Conley, Dalton Psychology Today, “Raising E and Yo…” Published on March 01, 2010

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