My DH is Iranian. We gave our daughters Persian (of Arabic origin) names, but we also gave the older one a Western name because the first letter (ghayn) in her name does not exist in English, so her name (Ghazal) would end up sounding like "guzzle." It's actually not confusing this way, because everyone around us can manage one name or the other without trouble. Our second daughter is Nassime (naSEEM), which ends up being easy for everyone to pronounce, once they get used to it. The only challenge with that is that it is apparently a boys' name everywhere else in the Middle East except Iran.
Why should we shy away from our children's heritage when Americans make new "American" names all the time?
I am American with a Western name but have a mixed background and darker features. The racism has definitely worsened since I married an Iranian BUT I think the people who were racists are going to be racist no matter what we do, so we might as well do what suits us. If someone acts nice and then changes their behavior - that person is two-faced. Why deny children their heritage out of fear for people who are close-minded?
i have to explain my kids names all the time, and everyone wants to know where it came from and honestly i am proud of their names so i let them know, their names do sound like something we just made up and through together type, but they have very deeper meanings and i let people know. My ds is actually named after his grandfather, it is a variation of fil's middle name and i let people know, that no we did not pull this out of a hat, that he is named after someone etc. dd has my moms name as her middle name so her first name isn'ut after anyone, but it is still from dh's culture...I think our kids would seem strange to have a plain name like john or mary though...
I, too, love your daughter's name!
Our boys both have Western first names and their daddy's (Arab) name as a middle name. My husband uses a Western name on a daily basis (although his legal name is still his birth name), so I think it would have felt strange for us to call the children by Arab names. We get a very hard name from the Arab side of the family for their 'strange' and 'difficult' names, even though each has a similar-sounding Arab name that we use when we visit. You can't win!
dh goes by western name at work etc but insisted the kids have indian names, go figure, I okayed it, but only because i got the ultimate call on the names we choose...
Honestly I have always found the term "white" to be confusing. My Lebanese in-laws consider themselves to be "white". So do any other Middle Easterners,Southern Eurpeans and many hispanics. I think what people really mean when using the term "white" is Northern European.
Many Arabs identify as white. I personally don't buy into skin color or any physical characteristics as being the main source of one's "racial" identity. Just as some Arabs identity as white, other Arabs who could also claim that label, don't. It's more about personal identification with particular groups and their stories than about anything else.
In my husband's and my family, "white" means born Americans of Northern European origin and of a certain stream of American culture, but also carries some other nuances as well. I guess it's kind of a slang term for us. But I understand for others it is different.
In my original post a couple of years ago, my goal wasn't to have a discussion about the meaning of the term "white." "White" was for me at the time a shorthand way to say that people expected that my baby be completely typically American from a sort of middle class "white" conception of what it means to be a "white" American.
Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
am quite baffled about the term "white" .... not American but gave birth to last child in the US
... and had to fill in a form (with the clerck being a person of color, so I would never have dared used the word "white" in that interaction, am not sure how to navigate all these discussions in the US about the colors/race that people are, english not my mother tongue ... just talking about it can appear racist in a way for me .... the idea being that you don't talk about it because it doesn't make a difference to the way you interact with a person, so no point mentionning color ...)
but I was not asked if I was "white" or not, I was asked what race I was
(didn't see that question coming, it would be considered VERY racist in a maternity where I live now to dare ask such a question to someone about to give birth ...)
so baffled that my answer was "what are my options ?"
it was suggested to me "caucasian" ... so do you still have "white" as an option in forms in maternities or on the census form ????
or is it just in use in everyday language, as a short easier form to talk about the subject of race ...?
I just wanted to share my experience. I am "white" and married to a man from India. When we got married I changed my name to an Indian first and last name for spiritual and personal reasons. Ever since I have had to face people who want to know where I got my name, what my name was before, and so on. When I was job searching recently I submitted my app to a place where a friend works. She overheard the supervisor saying that my credentials were great, but she was wondering if I spoke English??
I wonder if that had a lot to do with my tough time finding a job when others of my graduating class found jobs easily. We all have similar resumes and mine is actually stronger than some. Finally I chose a nickname that was American sounding and used it on my resume. Maybe coincidence but I started getting calls for interviews finally.
On the job applications it asks for the optional race question. I have started putting "two or more races." This is true as I have strong Native American ancestry but don't identify with the culture. I look "white."
When people ask me about my name I now just say "my family is very multicultural and there are members of us from all parts of the globe." That usually stops any further questions. It's really no one's business but people will continue to ask. It's just part of having a unique name that doesn't go with your looks.
BTW my daughters both have Indian names and they just get a lot of compliments. But of course they "match" their names.
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