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Week 1 Discussion 3- The Importance of Names

Your response to this discussion is 
due by this week Friday at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

You are also asked to respond to at least one other student in the class on his or her response.

response to your fellow student is due by this week Sunday at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST).


Hi, Learners:

According to author, literary critic, and scholar,  Ralph Ellison, “It is through our names that we first place ourselves in the world. Our names, being the gift of others, must be made our own.” Many names carry and celebrate personal and family histories within them. Indeed, the word “namesake” comes from the practice of naming infants after friends, relatives, and grandparents.

Names can express a family’s culture, or obscure it. For example, there is a long-standing myth that officials on Ellis Island changed immigrants’ names upon their arrival in the United States. The truth is that many immigrants changed their own names to avoid, or mitigate, the effects of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion.

Often, names mark gender, class, race, and ethnicity. Studies have shown that advancement, bias, and discrimination often occur based on a name alone (Cotton, O’Neill, Griffin, 2008). Gender-neutral names have been shown to help women advance in careers in law and engineering. Hiring practices are often affected by the perceived gender, race, and ethnicity of an applicants’ name. In addition, some people choose names other than their birth names; this practice is particularly relevant in the transgender community. When people refuse to use the name chosen by an individual or discriminate based on the new name, this refusal can be considered offensive. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Task 1: Provide a brief reflection on your name, nickname, your child’s name, the name of a pet, or the name of a personal hero. Here are some prompts to get you started: 

· Who, or what, are you named after and why?

· Where does this name originate from?

· Who named you?

· Who chose the spelling of this name?

· Why did you choose this name (for a pet/friend/family member)?

· What special meaning does this name hold for you?

· Do you have any memories or stories associated with this name?

· Do you like this name? Why or why not?

·  If it is a name you chose for yourself, why did you choose this name in particular?

· What effect do you think this name has had on you? 

Then, after you post your reflection on the name you’ve chosen, please answer the questions posed in the anonymous survey. We will post the results at the end of the weekly discussion.

Task 2: When you’ve finished posting your name story, please visit the link for the 

Week 1 Discussion 3 Names Survey

 to present your thoughts. (You can also find the survey by going to Tools at the top of the screen and clicking on the last link in the dropdown menu titled “Surveys.”) The survey is
 anonymous and the results will be posted for everyone in the course to read. 

Did you write about your own name in the response to this question?

Did you choose to write about another name rather than your own? 

Have you witnessed any instances of bias based on someone’s name?

Have you experienced biased actions based on your name? 

Task 3: Please post a response to your peers about their posted name story. As you compose your post, consider how people use names to understand each other. Note when these assumptions might be incomplete or incorrect.   

Cotton, J. L., O’Neill, B. S., & Griffin, A. (2008). The “name game”: Affective and hiring reactions to first names. 
Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23(1), 18–39.

Please note that you will not be able to see other students’ responses to this discussion topic until you post your response.

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