Damani Harris
Phill Branch
ENGW 103-01
2/5/16
By Any Other Name Just as Sweet?
"Ello,\'ello, ‘ello, hello white American, assassinate my character," a quote from the infamous rapper Kanye West describes how white people and white media has associated his name with an egoistical maniac. A name is one of the few things that stays with a person forever. It is both their identity and their creditability. So what happens when a person\'s name is rejected by the society in which they reside in? All minorities living in America who do not posses an "acceptable name" face this problem on a daily basis in their work space, media, and themselves. Black and ethnic names are more discriminated against than traditional white names because of the value that mainstream media privileges whiteness.
The media, no matter how creditable it may be, is bias. In America, the media tends to down play people of color and praises whites. This aspect is shown explicitly through recent current events in America. Maisha Johnson, author of 8 Ways the Media Upholds White Privilege and Demonize People of Color, compares the Michael Brown killing to the boy who shot and killed people in a movie theatre. Johnson points out two distinctive facts in the way the media showcased these events: Wording and Visuals. The boy shot the theatre reads "Theatre Shooting Suspect was Brilliant Science Student," while the Michael Brown killing reads "Michael Brown Struggled with Officer Before Shooting." The theatre shooting shows the suspects High School Senior picture; A smiling boy with a suit on. Michael Browns picture is him standing in front of what looks like to be a run down house, no smile and holding up a gang sign. To the audience this is portraying two different stories. The boy who shot the theatre, who remains nameless, is portrayed as the innocent one because he was the "Brilliant Science Student." Michael Brown, who was innocent, not only has his name shown for the world to see, but is portrayed as a common thug who resisted the police on purpose. Intentional or not, that post discredited Michael Brown. To white America, Michael Brown was just another black person up to no good. This shows how the media will accept a guilty white man over an innocent black one. By allowing the media to portray what is socially acceptable, this makes minorities feel less than a human being and it created an internal battle within them.
Minorities are forced to undergo a self-hatred process. White media shows what beauty is supposed to look like and since most minorities do not meet these standards, they start to hate themselves. This self hate is called internalized racism. Nadia Nittle, author of What is Internalized Racism, defines internalized racism as "people of color who sometimes adopt a white supremacist mindset that results in self-hatred and hatred for their respective racial group." The media defines beauty as being skinny, having long light hair, colored eyes, and fair skin. Minorities, especially those at a young age, question their worth if they will be seen as beautiful in their society. I personally remember telling my mother that I wish I was white. I did not find myself or my skin complexion attractive because all of my peers were much lighter than I was. It was not until I was older did I find the beauty in my black self. However, once I did respect myself, I noticed that the media showed black people with lighter skin and blonde hair. Especially celebrities. Famous black celebrities such as Beyonce and Mariah Carey are favored over other less famous black celebrities such as Brandy and Jazmine Sullivan because Brandy and Sullivan do not meet the beauty standards. Beyonce and Mariah Carey both have blonde hair and and light skins. This media representation of how black people should look forces black people to conform to the "white supremacist mindset." At what point do minorities stand up and love themselves? Well it is hard to find love in oneself when people have to conform to being socially acceptable even in the work place.
Many say that minorities with socially rejected names do not get hired for jobs as often as those with acceptable names. Even Raven-Symone, a black