0 comment Sunday, April 27, 2014 |
When I saw this news story, my attention was caught by the fact that the surname, Osgood, is one of my ancestral names, and secondarily, I was struck by the incongruity of the first name which was paired with the English surname.
I am not a football fan, so I wouldn't know the Osgood in the news story from Adam's housecat, but I did think of this piece which appeared on the Occidental Observer blog a while back.
It's titled The Decline of Old American Names. The writer also had the experience of seeing, in a news story, a similarly unlikely name, an Anglo-Saxon surname with an 'exotic' first name, borne by a young murder suspect.
It's a no-brainer these days that if you have an English or British Isles surname paired with an Arabic or faux-Arabic first name, the person so named is likely to be black.
Blogger Thomas Stewart says
"...every time in America someone in the news pops up named Robinson, Smith, Clark, Davis, Williams, Johnson or Randolph I automatically assume that the person is black. But these were apparently the names of the wealthiest slave-holding families of WASP descent. Where are their white descendants? They haven�t completely disappeared, as a Jackson or Johnson of clearly North European ancestry isn�t unheard of, but they are a minority among their namesakes.
The most common surname in the NBA is Williams, shared by twelve players. Of them, only one is white and he appears to be a blond tattooed freak who�s known for having drug problems. The league also claims three Wallaces, seven Johnsons, four Joneses, and three Youngs, all of whom are black. Obviously the NBA isn�t a representative sample of the population but from my experience I would bet the results would be around the same if one looked at the country as a whole, with a 7- or 8-1 or higher ratio of per capita old wealthy white names among American blacks compared to whites.''
I've thought the same thing. When was the last time you heard of someone surnamed Washington or Jefferson who was not black? Many other names, like those mentioned in the quote, are also primarily associated with blacks nowadays. I suppose that simply indicates that blacks have been much more prolific at reproducing than the descendants of the original bearers of those surnames.
My family surname is one that nowadays is borne by more blacks than whites, especially where I now reside. When I am in certain Southern states, notably Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, and the Carolinas, the ratio tilts more towards the White bearers of the name. Still it's somewhat unfortunate to open up a newspaper or turn on the news and see one's own surname associated with criminal activities. I wonder what my ancestors would think about that?
I know exactly what the liberal type thinks about it: first of all, it's ''racist'' to even notice that black criminals share my surname or my ancestors' surnames, much less, feel discomfort about it. And the liberal would likewise say it's my ''karma,'' because of my ancestors' evil ways. that our name has to be shamed by association with crime -- after all, weren't those old Virginia families (Randolph, Jefferson, Bland, et al) ''criminals'' too by virtue of having held slaves?
Actually though it is not just criminals who share those surnames, but also a few black celebrities and household names have the surnames of some of my ancestors, to such an extent in certain cases that the name is forever associated with those bearers of the family name.
One more factor that the blogger did not mention, but which I've noticed, is that some names which originated in the British Isles are now associated with immigrant Jewish families, by virtue of their having adopted those names when they arrived. This misleads some people into thinking the names are in fact Jewish -- names like Ross, Irving, Robinson, Stone, Lee, and many others.
The cliche has it that immigrants who changed their names were often forced by some heartless immigration official to change their foreign-sounding names to something Anglo-Saxon. I think that story is rather over-used. It appears that many immigrants chose an Anglo-sounding surname so as to better blend in, at least on paper. But rarely do the descendants of those ''forced'' to adopt an English surname ever change it back to the original old-country name. Why not? Ethnic names have become quite trendy now. Why not discard the English or Scottish name and take back the original?
Back during the Civil Rights revolution, militant blacks, usually black Moslems, adopted names that were faux-Arabic or real Arabic names, or adopted names like 'X' because their original African names had been lost, or ''stolen'' from them.
I think that is a move in the right direction; I would not want to retain a name which belongs to an utterly different ancestry or race, especially if I thought the original owners of the name were evil racists who oppressed my ancestors. I am all for the casting off of 'slave names' or imposed English surnames.
A name should tell us something about the ancestry of the person bearing it -- as should a first name, for that matter -- in my opinion. We live in a Babelesque society in which even our names have become confused and muddled, and which obfuscate our origins and our ties of kinship. But maybe that is all part of the overall plan. Names are divisive, aren't they? Just as nationality, race, and religion are divisive, and we can't have that.

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