Essays about names and identity

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essays about names and identity

Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity by Becky W. Thompson

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Published 08.01.2019

Guide to the 2018-2019 Common App Essays: Writing about Your Identity (Prompt 1)

These five essays explore the ties we have (or don't have) to our names, and the roles that they play in our evolving identities.
Becky W. Thompson

The Importance of Our Names in Society

Writer and linguistic anthropologist Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein reflects on the power of names to shape our identity — and to highlight both privilege and discrimination. Sticks and stones can break my bones. What comes next? Language can, itself, be violence. When I enrolled in graduate school, things began to change. The registrar insisted that my email address and placard match the spelling of my name on my passport. For the first time since grade school, my name in the classroom was Roxani again.

There are many cultures that place a huge importance in names and the naming of their child. In these cultures a name is more than a nice-sounding label.
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Holocaust and Human Behavior

The power in your name - Erikan Obotetukudo

Our names: our school pegs, our register entries, an ID badge, a passport, a bank account, a driving licence, how we introduce ourselves. For people who have been adopted we often have two, or perhaps more depending on the nature of our transitions. One of the only reactions I clearly remember having to this news was wanting to change my name — finally, I thought at the grand age of 5 I can be who I want to be and that person was Debbie! I got hold of my birth certificate aged 18 and there in black was my name. A Dutch first name and an English last name, I practised my new signature, to perfection. Intrigued, I continued on and off my searching process until finally, 9 years later I found my birth mother. She confirmed it was my biological grandmother who named me, after her own adoptive mother — believing it was a fitting way to memorialise her.


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