This is part serious and part parody, so deal with it.

While the bulk of names chosen for babies by black people correspond those chosen in the larger American society, because of some of the unique cultural influences in the black community, some key differences are manifested. There have been points in American history where black people's names differed little from their white counterparts. Since the 1960s, black America has been generating more new children's names than any subculture in history. Where parents used to choose names mostly came from their slave owner's family history, it is now very common for parents to choose names from African, Islamic, or imaginary sources. (Sixty years from now, Laqueta will conjure up the same image that we get from Mildred)

Baby name books are not a major source for new names, and most parents couldn't care less for the "meaning" of their child's name. For the most part baby name books are crap. Almost every name you'll find in a book is so foreign sounding among blacks that few if any would choose one. How many black people do you know named Brianna, or Kaitlyn anyway? Most of the real innovations come with girls. This is a summary of the various kinds of names you'll find, how they got there, and what they *really* mean

I won't go into the previously discussed American names

African Names: When you see someone with a name which begins with two consonants, and the first is an N or an M, you may be looking at one of these. Since the descendents of slaves, for the most part do not know which part of Africa their ancestors are from, this void, and the desire to establish some type of independent cultural identity led to the adoption of a number of names various parts of Africa.

Islamic Names: Because a number of African slaves brought to this country were Muslims, and also because of the influence of the Nation of Islam during the civil rights movement, there are many Christian black people with Islamic names. Khalid, Jamal, and Malik are three of the more common examples. Note that many times these names are corrupted. Malik, for example, is properly pronounced with a short "a", and second syllable is pronounced "lick." Among blacks, you are more likely to see mahLEEK as the pronunciation. Raheem is also common in some urban areas, and is once again a corrupted pronunciation.

Imaginary Names: Names are commonly made up because of the pleasing sound it makes when spoken. Sometimes, this occurs by placing letters together in patterns more commonly associated with Africa. Though the name has no actual meaning, it sounds "African." Other times, a "Ra" or "La" may be added to the beginning of an existing name. Occasionally, an "a" may be added to the end of a name to make it feminine. This is a play on Arabic, which commonly does this; Rashid is a male Arabic name, whereas Rashida is female, for example. There are, of course, other sources for names. Some names are taken from other languages, common words, cars, etc.

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