Funny Conversations: whats in a name?

Writing these blogs have really made me reflect on my experience as an african american woman.  I realized in this that it would be kind of funny to post a conversation that I had with someone about a year ago.  This came to mind because it really reminded of the comic that I found on the Leftists Comic website…..

Person: So where is your name from, Nigeria?  It sounds like a Nigerian name. 

Me:  Yeah, its from Nigeria, my parents found it in a West African naming book.

Person:  Wow its pretty!! But where did you get this last name from?

Me: Well my parents are African American so I dont have a Nigerian last name.

Person: Oh yeah, well I understand that but where does a last name like Newman come from?

Me: Well my father got it from his father?

Person: …and after that?

Me: His father.

Person: …and after that?

Me: His father’s father.

Person: …and after that?

Me: Well probably a slave master

Person: (with weird look on their face): oh well….I didnt expect you to say that…

Me: Why not?  Are you familiar with the transatlantic slave trade

Person: Yeah!

Me: (BLANK STARE) ok well have a good day!


I will continue to think about how I process this but it seems odd to me that while I travel to so many places there is often the same idea that precedes me.  This idea that those involved in the collected african american cultural experience have no idea about the history or ideas that bind us together, connect us to broader peoples throughout the african diaspora in the world and just have a general ignorance of our current culture.  It scares me because this ignorance that I am met with is often met with more ignorance which causes divisiveness.  I guess this is just my long way of saying that while this conversation showed me how far we really have to go in being “culturally competent,” it also taught me a lesson in tolerance and patience.  I often have conversations like this about my name and what it means.   Im sure I will have more to say about this in time.  For now, That IS All!!

Peace B. Still,



~ by travelling womanists on January 6, 2011.

2 Responses to “Funny Conversations: whats in a name?”

  1. You know I have that same conversation with about name when I mention your name in conversations.

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