Hey Raven-Symoné, You’re Part of the Problem

shutterstock_243500182Hey, Raven-Symoné. My name is Bianca White and I am a fictional character created by a woman named Yolanda Spivey. You see, back in 2009, after graduating college, Yolanda conducted an employment experiment because she simply could not find a job. So on paper, she changed her name and race to mimic that of a white woman, and you know what—she proved that Blacks were being discriminated against due to their name and race. You see, I received employment offers while Yolanda received none, although our resumes, which listed our employment experience and educational background, were identical.

I just wanted to tell you that your recent comments on The View about “ghetto names” were insensitive and pathetic and further perpetuate the self-hate that runs in the blood of some black people like yourself. Your comments were also apathetic and show how far removed you are from the black community—a community that has supported your career since you first appeared in film and on television. Yeah, I know, I know—you don’t consider yourself a black woman, yadda yadda yah. But you know what, you are one, and that’s how the world sees you.

It’s obvious that you’re living in a box and don’t see the hurt, pain and stress that an educated black person with a name like “Watermelondrea,” (a name that was created by comedian Tre Melvin), goes through on a daily basis. So here are some startling statistics I would like to share with you to reflect on:

  1. Although the Obama administration is credited with decreasing the unemployment rate to a mere 5 percent, the black community’s unemployment rate continues to hover near 10 percent. Some even suspect that the rate could be as high as 25 percent due to the fact that many of them have given up on looking for employment altogether.
  2. A white male with a felony has a better chance of finding employment than a black male with no record.
  3. A study was just conducted that showed people with black-sounding names were labeled as troublemakers, poor, violent etc. (Yeah, read that here!)

There are many more points, but I’m going to allow you to do your own research. You seem like a well-read young lady. After all, you’re from every continent in Africa except for one. (Hey, you said it not me).

But yet I still ponder, Raven. Would you hire one of your celebrity pal’s children who have names that would be considered ghetto? I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow named her child Apple. And Jay Z and Beyonce named their child Blue Ivy. How about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s baby, North West? Would you ever give them an internship at your place of business? If so, then I’m pretty sure you can do the same for Shaquanda, Nivea, Keisha, Watermelondrea and “dem.” [Stereotypical black vernacular was used here on purpose].

Do you even know the meaning of your own name, Raven? A quick Google search came up with the following:

  1. A large heavily built crow with mainly black plumage, feeding chiefly on carrion.
  2. (Especially of hair) of a glossy black color.

Yes, it was one of my gay friends, Irene Casapulla, who brought to my attention that you’re named after a big black bird that often symbolizes death, evil, even Satan himself.

And speaking of gay, isn’t it ironic that you, a gay black woman in America, would even form your lips to say such an ignorant comment, given the fact that you may have been discriminated against in one way or another?

A huge amount of blacks are facing severe economic disparities due to their names. Should they be forced to change their names to make people like you feel comfortable? Hell no. You, on the other hand, should learn to respect and accept their names. No one has an issue when Europeans name their children non-English names. You readily learn how to pronounce these names. You give them that respect and honor.

Before I conclude, I want to share a little bit of history with you. Blacks started to give their children “distinctive” names at an increasing rate during the 1960s. This is when, after years of being called every deplorable name but God’s children, did blacks start to realize that they were in fact beautiful. So they named their children Jamal, DeQuan, ShaKeisha, Shashona etc. They didn’t name their children those names just to piss off white supremacy—no, Raven—they named them those names because of the deep Arabic or African meanings behind them.

Ethnicities from all walks of life constantly wrestle with whether or not they should celebrate their children by giving them names that represent their culture. But with the pressure to blend in with American society, they opt not to hoping that it won’t make them stick out and lose out on the same economic opportunities afforded to white people.

When addressing a group of African Americans, Abraham Lincoln once said, “Your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence.” Please believe it, Raven, blacks are suffering and you are adding to it.


Yolanda Spivey writes on a variety of topics and is the founder of Black Insurance News. She can be reached at biancawhite76@gmail.com or you can visit her Facebook page.