WHAT'S IN A NAME? Beyonce, Keyshia Knight-Pulliam, Kandi Burruss

Rashida. That’s my name. It’s Arabic and it means rightly guided. I absolutely adore it! I didn’t always feel that way though. Growing up I thought it was sooooo ghetto. Some of my closest friends in middle school, were Kim, Rachel, and Brittany. I guess you could say I had a complex about it.

Now I went to school with my fair share of Tameka’s, Saquenta’s, and DeQuan’s, but I just wanted a normal name. I remember telling my mom I was going to change my name and the look she gave me told me to just walk away.

To this day, not a day goes by where someone doesn’t butcher my name. I’m Rashinda, Roshiba, Sharita… Whatever people think they see when they looked at my name tag. I dreaded the doctor’s appointment when the nurse would call me to the back or when I tell someone (usually not African-American) my name and they respond, “Ohhh… That’s different.”

I don’t know this for sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve been passed up for a job because of my name. I’ve even had someone ask me how many kids I have after simply introducing myself and saying my name. Young, black, and a ethnic name… Yup. I MUST have children. WRONG!

One day I simply decided that Rashida is who I am. I am smart, clever, funny, and beautiful. I’m not a baby mama or a boo thang. I have a college degree, and I’ll be starting my Master’s program soon. I know that “I comes before E, except after C”, and I’ve read Roots, (yes the whole thing). I decided to embrace the name my mother gave me and give my name power, instead of letting others views about it have power over me.

Shout out to all my Keisha’s, LaToya’s, Shanequa’s, Keiana’s, and Neshia’s. You don’t have to let your name define you. Show the world that a person is more than a name. WE will continue to prove this ghetto stereotype wrong.

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  1. You are absolutely right Rashida. A name is nothing more than a combination of letters put on your birth certificate; it does not define who you are or are destined to be. I’m right there with you when it comes to school and doctor’s appointments and everything else! My name has 11 letters and in most cases there weren’t enough bubbles on the tests in High School and College to even put my full name. My name is a mouthful, but it’s really not that difficult to say. The fact that people can’t take the time to show their phonetical abilities really used to sadden me. LOL. Although it’s an Indian name and pretty common there, here in the United States, it’s pegged ghetto or untraditional. So, I definitely wasn’t finding any name tags or plates at the stores like the Lisa’s, Becky’s and Amanda’s in the world, but it makes me different. Now this doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of changing my name a time or two…but it’s not because I dislike it. It’s because I am tired of correcting people and honestly get tired of writing all those dang letters completely out. I mean, celebrities are naming their kids all kinds of things that wouldn’t be considered traditional such as Pilot, Apple, Blu/Blue, Ocean, Rocket, Audio…and on and on! So, I guess it took the world some time to catch up with us! We are definitely so much more than a name.

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