Updated: Mar 24
During my 21 years of life, I’ve experienced many different focal points as a young woman of color in America. Many of these experiences occurred as early as my elementary school days, and others as soon as today.
Yes, those experiences include racism, prejudice, and discrimination to name a few. Nothing has impacted me to the core, though, as the way that people perceive my name.
Derrick? Deidra? Derika (pronounced der-eeek-a)? No, none of these butchered attempts at my name come close to the actual pronunciation. For years, I actually hated my name because of the number of people who couldn’t get it right on the first try. That’s messed up, right?
Then, the game changed when I found out that my name had a literal meaning. “Gifted ruler.” Did this make me feel like royalty? Yes. And as such, I wanted to live to the vision of my name.
Ladies, it’s time to embrace the “difficult” name you’ve been given since birth! Not only is it part of your culture, but it’s also a HUGE part of your identity. Today, I’m going to show you why your name speaks volumes in today’s society. I guarantee that after this blog, you will embrace your name more than ever before.
The Brief Origins Of Names For POC
If you have a powerful name, then society will most likely pass you on for life-changing opportunities. Years ago, though, you would’ve been seen as one of the most powerful beings in the world.
Often in African cultures, children were given names that had special meanings. Not only did it signify the power they possess, but it also signified:
The child’s life path.
The socio-economic class of a family.
The values the child is born into and will follow as they grow up.
The same power is possessed with your name today. The only difference is more modernized approaches can be used to connect with your name.
Keeping Up The Tradition
Now is not the time to back down from the unique name train. Instead, in times like these, it’s become even more crucial to attach our names to our personalities and identities.
We have to begin the process of normalizing our beautifully structured names for society to see. That all starts with standing your ground when others become defensive about your name and why it’s different from what is considered “normal.”
How can you do that, you may wonder to yourself? Start off by completing the following steps:
Learn about your name. No matter how your name is spelled or pronounced, it holds a special meaning that you may not know about initially. It’s time to educate yourself on this meaning and how your name can impact your life positively. If your name doesn’t have a meaning, then make one for yourself!
Connect with your name. Through educating yourself on your name, you begin the process of accepting it as part of you. Practicing with saying your name, especially when you say the meaning, will cause you to love the definition and want others to love its format.
Correct them politely. Now, I’m not saying that you should hound off at any person who gets your name wrong. Instead, politely let them know how your name is pronounced and move on. Keep the meaning of your name in mind as you perform this action. It’ll make the correcting activity more meaningful if you do.
Moral of the Story: Correct Them Each Time!
In the past, when people would get my name wrong, I would be too afraid to correct them. The main reason why I did that was due to my anxiety not letting me go through the hassle. Also, it was because I didn’t think that it was a big deal at the time.
Now, the tables have turned. I feel obligated to correct anyone who butchers my name. And no, it’s not rude either. It’s simply standing your ground and showing people that you deserve respect on your mighty name each day.
I am Dericka (Ericka, but with a D), and my name means “gifted ruler.” What’s yours?