Essays about names and identity

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essays about names and identity

Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity by Becky W. Thompson

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Published 11.12.2018

Do Names Matter? - Lion Lee - TEDxRiverdaleCountrySchool

These five essays explore the ties we have (or don't have) to our names, and the roles that they play in our evolving identities.
Becky W. Thompson

What's in a Name Essay

Writer and linguistic anthropologist Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein reflects on the power of names to shape our identity — and to highlight both privilege and discrimination. Sticks and stones can break my bones. What comes next? Language can, itself, be violence. When I enrolled in graduate school, things began to change. The registrar insisted that my email address and placard match the spelling of my name on my passport. For the first time since grade school, my name in the classroom was Roxani again.

T he authors of this essay on names have just identified themselves. Well, not quite. For the sake of full disclosure, they are willing to have it known that they have the same last name not by coincidence or consanguinity but because they are married to each other and have been for over thirty-four years. The authors respectfully submit that the reverse is closer to the truth, that their attitude toward names and naming—and the many things that they have slowly come to understand about what names imply—is responsible for this paramount biographical fact. This essay is a first attempt to articulate, not least for themselves, what they have tacitly understood.

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However, now I am able to take the time and realize that even though I have not thought deeply about it my entire life has influenced my identity. Ever since I can remember, one of the most important things in my life has been my family and friends., You know how looking at a math problem similar to the one you're stuck on can help you get unstuck? Reading example essays works the same way!

Have you considered your identity through your name? This is an important topic to my wife and I as our daughter is due in 8 weeks. Like almost every parent, we want her name to carry significance. We want it to embody a legacy to impact her generation. No big deal. Your identity includes unique characteristics that distinguish you from others, but it also can include your self-esteem and self-awareness. Identity is not just who you are currently, but who you are called to be.

Sometimes we try to live up to our names. Sometimes we try to run away from them. But either way — and for all the options in between — your name is a crucial factor in developing your sense of self, and thus helps propel you forward on various paths of life and career. The term nominative determinism was coined in a issue of New Scientist to describe this phenomenon. The magazine's editors noticed two instances of scientists gravitating toward subjects that were strangely linked to their last names.

3 thoughts on “Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity by Becky W. Thompson

  1. Our names: our school pegs, our register entries, an ID badge, a passport, a bank account, a driving licence, how we introduce ourselves.

  2. ‘What’s My Name?’ – an essay exploring identity and adoption by Anneghem Wall – BURNING HOUSE PRESS

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