Claim: Federal judge takes away from black women the right to name their children.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, March 2008]
(DETROIT) In a decision that's expected to send shockwaves through the African-American community — and yet, give much relief to teachers everywhere — a federal judge ruled today that black women no longer have independent naming rights for their children. Too many black children — and many adults — bear names that border on not even being words, he said.
"I am simply tired of these ridiculous names black women are giving their children," said U.S. Federal Judge Ryan Cabrera before rendering his decision. "Someone had to put a stop to it."
The rule applies to all black women, but Cabrera singled out impoverished mothers.
"They are the worst perpetrators," he said. "They put in apostrophes where none are needed. They think a 'Q' is a must. There was a time when Shaniqua and Tawanda were names you dreaded. Now, if you're a black girl, you hope you get a name as sensible as one of those."
Few stepped forward to defend black women-and black women themselves seemed relieved.
Origins: In March 2008, this item began landing in inboxes everywhere, a false news story playing upon the common theme that black and poor parents give their kids pretentious or wildly-spelled names (often without
understanding the meaning of the words they choose to bestow upon their progeny) in an effort to impress upon the world how special and unique their children are. (That theme was also called into play in a 2005 e-mailed item that twitted a Congresswoman's suggestion that the naming of hurricanes should someday represent all racial groups in the U.S.)
Short and sweet, this is a leg-pull. There is no U.S. Federal Judge named Ryan Cabrera (nor one of any other name) who has barred African-American women from naming their children without help from a three-person panel of Caucasians. (There is a Judge Carlos Cabrera in the Fresno County Superior Court, and there is a recording artist called Ryan Cabrera, though.)
This is all a bit of satire, a reproduction of an article entitled "Enough With the Stupid Names" and penned by Bill Matthews, a freelance humor writer who co-foundedThe Peoples News, a humor web site which provides "a satirical look at the lives of Black folks."
Copies of this article forwarded via e-mail have lost the disclaimer which footed the original and explained the purpose of the piece:
Note: This article is satire, brought to you by the creative minds at The Peoples News. It's not real, but we hope it made you think.
"Enough With the Stupid Names" prompted a follow-up humor piece titled "Condi Calls for Removal of Detroit 'Naming Rights' Judge. In that article, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opined: "I might not have gotten as far as I have without the extra e and z in my name."
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.