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Outline with notes

I. Intro
Does ones name and identity have a connection? Can a persons name also
hold an identity?
As humans, some of us try to live up to our names and others want to run and
hide from them.
Hedrick explains in his piece How our Names Shape our Identity that ones name is
a crucial factor in developing a sense of self. While his insight may be a little more
stern than others, it does express that ones name can impact ones identity. A blog
poster Spldbch puts it into a little bit more free explanation. Spldch expresses name
and Identity as a choice. She describes name and Identity as The degree to which a
person's name is a significant part of his or her identity varies from person to
person. She goes on to write that its by choice if youre attached to your name or
not. If you feel its an integral part of your identity then you are most likely quit
attached to it. If you feel no connection between your name and identity than you
are most likely not attached at all.
Later in Hedricks piece he explains, when introducing your self to someone,
that person can start to create his or her own personal mental attachment by just
your name. This attachment can arise from their past, someone who had the same
name, but held a different memory. Possibly a kid who picked on them as child, their
first kiss or perhaps their fathers name. From there that person may already have
subconsciously judged you or at least created an identity about you before they have
yet to truly meet you.
These are just a few examples on how name and identity relate to one
another. Through out this website you will find others who have made similar
connections, there thoughts and how the two intertwine and can possibly have a
great effect on someones life.
When conducting research for this website I used different web searches to
find information about how others perceive name and Identity. I first conducted a
Google search for blogs. I found the blog site and a blogger Spldbch.
She posted her own feelings towards her connection with her name and how it
created her. Along with her blog post I was able to use comments other bloggers
made on her site. This allowed me to gather the general publics perception on the
idea. I then searched scholarly search engines to find published articles on how
name can affect identity. These results helped me to gain insight from a more
academic population. Lastly, I did a general Google search to see what other articles
were out there on this subject. This search was more broad and yielded a broader
scope on the subject.

II. How do name and Identity co-exist - Personal attachment

A. Shang
B. SpldBch
Ultimately it is our own choice on how we view our name and if we let it
create an identity about us. For some they can feel very attached to their name.
Feeling like it is an very integral part of who they are and for others they can feel so
distant from their name that its not who they are at all. Two women have both
personally written about their experiences with names that give a good perception
on both sides of attachment and how they chose to deal with their situations.
One is Shang an 18 year old who has been struggling with her name for many
years. YingYing Shang was her name and at just at the age of 7 already knew she
wanted to change it. This all started when her mother was picking out names for her
unborn baby sister. Her mother was picking through a list of American baby names
and YingYing wondered why her sister would be allowed to have an American name
while she had a very strong Chinese name. Shang expresses that she was constantly
picked on for her name and often had to correct teachers on how to pronounce it.
Shang explains in her piece that many Chinese-Americans including her parents give
them selves American names when moving to the states. Throughout the piece
Shang describes her journey on picking a name that she feels truly fits her identity
and by the end of the piece at 18 years old she claims to have finally found a name
that fits her identity. The name is Eva meaning life. She states that she finally feels
her life can begin.
A blogger named SpldBch has similar view points on name and identity.
However, her situation was just the opposite. This blogger explains that when it was
time for her to get married she had trouble with the idea of changing her name. She
clamed that she was quit attached to her name, that her name was familiar and
comforting. It was a connection to her family and to her past. It was a representation
of who she was. She felt that her name was something special that her parents had
given to her and no one else. Her husband was hurt by the fact that she was
essentially rejecting his name. This however shows that he too was attached to his
name if he felt rejection towards this. Untimely, after convincing from her husband
she decided to change her name. He explained to her that sharing the same last
name was a symbol of their new family they were going to create together.
These two personal accounts show that people feel that their names create
who they are. That for them, their names greatly influences their identity. Laura
Heymann expresses name as a personal trademark. Its something that represents
you that no one can copy write or take away.
III. Names and Resumes: - How others view a name: The Pros and Cons of Ethnic names
Many names gives use clues about someones sex, race heritage or relgion.
When applying for a job most people will have you submit a resume and if they like
what they see they will call you in for an interview. The question is how do you
show who you are through a piece of paper. Or the better question is how do you
make sure they get the correct interpretation of you. A resume always starts with

your name. For most they wouldnt think twice about this and would assume all
focus will be on accomplishments, previous jobs and education. What people dont
realize is that your name is the first thing a boss reads on your resume. Its the first
opportunity to influence their idea about you. Names can hold identity, stereotypes,
racial queues and consciously or subconsciously your potential boss may already be
forming ideas about you by just the first line.
Most resume readers arent looking for what stands out to make you stay in
the keep pile but more so they are looking for things to put you in the no pile. So
how can name influence this decision? Well what kind of stereotype does your name
give? Ethnic names can have a great influence on what ideas people think about a
person. These ideas can either help or hurt a resume. So what are there pros and
cons to having an ethnic name on a resume?
For Jose Zamora having a strong Spanish name was definitely a con when
applying for jobs. During a one month period Jose sent out what he claims as 50-100
resumes a day to potential jobs. After that month he still hadnt received contact
from any of the jobs about a potential interview. So one day Jose decided to drop the
s in his name and resubmit his resumes to the companies he previously sent tem
to. The next day he says his inbox was filled with interviews. All he did was drop the
A similar situation happened for a lady named Shanice. Shanice had recently
lost her job and was sending in resumes to jobs that she was well qualified for.
However, she wasnt hearing back from any of these companies. Shanice had heard
that African-American names on average had less of a call back rate than white
names for jobs. So just like Jose, Shanice decided to change her name on her
application. She chose to use her middle name Nicole. This time she was getting the
responses she wanted.
So why did changing there names help these two individuals. Well essentially
they managed to white wash" their applications. This prevented any ethnic
stereotypes to be created by potential readers. In their cases this helped them from
staying away from the no pile. It allowed for other accomplishments to stand out in
order to get jobs. So are there times, when ethnic names help instead of hurt a
For the case of Alex, he chose to take advantage of his more ethnic name in
order to boost his resume. Alexandro grew up in an area with a very small Latino
population, so since he was young he had always gone by Alex. When looking into a
company he planned to apply to he noticed that the boss of the company was
. While Alex had never used his Spanish name
before on his application he decided to put
. This allowed for
the boss to make a personal connection with the resume just from his name.
Through the accounts detailed above the connection between name and identity
can be made. For these individuals having ethnic names influenced the decision making
process of their jobs. However the identity created by their names wasn't so much up to
them, but the reader of the resume. It was the reader of the resumes own personal feelings
or ideas towards that name that created an identity. As we saw above having an ethnic

it or deny it.

IV. Name and gender: - How gender norms control identity

Ones name and self-esteem can be a reoccurring characteristic. Another way
a name can show identity is through gender. In American society, while we do have
gender natural names a large majority of names are female and male oriented. What
can be a real challenge for someone is when his or her name and gender doesnt
match up. This is where possibly identity and self-esteem issues may arise in a
persons life.
A researcher at Northwestern University in Illinois conducted research on
gender specific names and personality traits as children. He discovered that boys
with traditional girl names such as Ashley or Shannon tend to misbehave more than
there more masculine named male classmates such as Brian. He noted that during
elementary age they all act on the same level. However, once they reach 6th grade
these female named students tend to act out more than the Brians of the class.
He also went on to say that the disciplinary problems increased even more if a girl
with the same name was in the class.
Kaplans piece gives a great example of how people can assume gender
identity to ones name and it be incorrect. This example shows how this person
struggled with his incorrect gender name and how he chooses to create a name
better suited for himself.
Ashley Monroe had always loved working with cars. After high school, Ashley
decided to enroll in a technical school to become a mechanic. On the first day of
class students were assigned to two-person teams for shop projects. Ashleys
partner read the list and announced to anyone who cared to listen that he
didnt want to work with some girl. He re-considered his statement when
Ashley walked up and he discovered that Ashley had been an offensive tackle on
the varsity football team. Ashley let him know that people usually just called
him Bull, especially if they wanted to stay on his good side. When it came
time to apply for jobs he realized that he couldnt put Bull on an application
but he did not want to use Ashley either. In the end, he decided to use A.J., which
simply combined the initials of his first name Ashle
did likewise identifying himself as A.J. Monroe on it.
Both of the pieces show that names can have gender stereo types and this
may effect someones perception of a person or their own personal behavior. People
may not feel an attachment to their name if they feel its not the correct gender type
for them. They also may begin to resent the name as well, such as with Ashley
causing him to change his name. Any of these incidences however prove that name
can hold a gender identity. Whether or not the identity is correct to the person
however is a whole different story.

Personal attachment
Have you ever gone by more than one name? Possibly a nickname by chance? Are
you called one name at home but another with your friends? Been a part of a sports
team or group where you go by your last name? Ever feel like each one of these
names has its own sort of identity attachment.
For me I feel like this is true. I think names can always come with identity. At
22 years of age I have three names that stick out to me and each one has a different
title or feeling that goes with it. I feel like anyone who has multiple names can agree
with this. My real name is Kaitlyn which is the name most of my relatives and
grandparents call me. However, I have gone by Katie since the 7th grade when I was
tired of being called Kaitlyn 3 or 4 because thats how many were in my class. So I
started to go by Katie. I have also gone by the name KJ. Ive worked in a bar since I
was 18 and having a short easy and interesting name always makes it easier for the
customer to remember. So the different names I have almost have their own identity
to them. Kaitlyn being my family name a name that I associate with the way I act
around family. To Katie, a name I have with my friends. And also KJ a name thats
more edgy that I use at work or within Athletic training that my athletes call me.
With these names I almost feel different like I can be different people. I dont believe
my root structure or beliefs change with each name but how people perceive me,
what they know about me, there identity of me changes with each name.