***** Admin Note *****
As a few of you know, I am currently attempting to rent out a Condo in the Maryland Suburbs of DC (Largo/Upper Marlboro). It’s a 2 bed/ 2 bath and I need $1600.  Walking distance to the metro, and gated community.  If you are seriously interested, or know someone who is, email me: sbm@singleblackmale.net

Now onto the good stuff …

– SBM
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Guy: Hey, I saw you from across the room and had to come over and introduce myself.
Girl: Aww, that’s so sweet! (In her mind she’s thinking about how hot he is.)
Guy: My name is Gargamel.
Girl: Boooo! Hissssss! *Walks away*

Every now and then I have the conversation with someone about names. Not nicknames, but government names. Slim Jackson is an alias. If you knew my real name, you’d expect me to perhaps be a preppy white guy that wears polo shirts and khaki shorts. Well, you’d be fairly accurate except for the fact I’m a light-skinned and clean shaven black dude that only intimidates the most suburban and rural. When I was younger and in the inner city public school system, I was often teased for how well I spoke and my name. I sometimes had to break my English and listen in for the coolest slang to be accepted within certain circles. I often wished my name was Ramel, Jamar, Lamar, Jalah, Tayshaun, or some type of material status symbol. That was “cool”. At some point, black parents began to move away from “slave” names like Michael, Jeffrey, and Thomas so that they could differentiate their children from their SPF-needing counterparts. I spent time angry at my folks for naming me something so simple and well…white.

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But now that I’m a miserable office dweller corporate professional and handsome broad-shouldered beast (No Dwight Howard), I couldn’t be more thankful to have an Anglo name. In my current gig, I look at a lot of resumes for job candidates and I notice the names. I anticipate an accent when I see certain names on paper. For others, I wonder what their parents were thinking. I make that phone call and sometimes I’m actually surprised by how well the person speaks. I know. That’s awful. I shouldn’t stereotype people from other cultures, countries, and continents, but it almost happens naturally. Now if I, as an Educated Black Male (EBM. That new sh*t), still fall victim to the innate urge to stereotype based on name, I’d figure that it has to be even more elevated for people in the majority. What do you think a corporate recruiter envisions when he or she sees Funqueefa Taneesha Jenkins or Tang Too Pac on a job application? Rap, 40s, attitude, computers, sweatshops, bad driving? You probably thought a few things yourself when you saw this. No offense if you actually happen to have either one of those ficticious names and visit this site.

For employers trying to add “diversity” to their companies, the distinct names probably make their jobs a lot easier when they are looking for some pigmentation. For others, who aren’t so fortunate, their names can quickly have them filtered into the unqualified file. I sometimes wonder if my life would be any different if my name were something more “ethnic”. A lot of folks will argue life is what you make of it. To a certain extent, that’s correct. But in 2009, these names are still in the minority and belong to minorities. Job hunting aside, I know a lot of people who won’t date certain folks within their own race because of their names. They don’t want to bring one of these Afro-American-Centric names home to meet the family. Your boy Slim doesn’t go that far, but it does happen.

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So what does everyone else think about this issue of names? What are some of the craziest ones you’ve encountered? Did you change how you sign your name or present your name on paper? Have you went from Shimeek Smith to S. Charles Smith? Do you rock a traditional name like Jeffrey Adams? Would you not date someone based on what their name is? Do you even think the name is important in 2009? Answer one or answer them all. The choice is yours!

What If My Name Really Was,

slim jackson