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What's In A Name?


DC Clark - Photo - Donnalynn Anthony
DC Clark

My old man was a legend in Overtown. With a sweet left-handed jump shot in high school and college, he lead Booker T. Washington High School and Bethune-Cookman College to several victories. But as a youngster, he and his brother were sitting on a stairwell, an older boy walked by and said: "you two look like cartoon characters." He continued, "I'm going to name you (pointing to my uncle) Mickey after Mickey Mouse and you (pointing to my old man) Wimpy after the hamburger eater on Popeye." The names stuck and the rest was history. 

From that point on, my old man was forever known as Wimp. When I was born, I become little Wimp. I didn't mind it because my old man was well known and respected throughout town. But as I got older, I began to carve out my own niche. I was 6 ft 2" and 235 pounds and there was nothing Wimpy about me. Absolutely NOTHING. Therefore I made a conscious effort to change my name to DC. (One day I will explain the origin of that name). Not that I didn't mind my old peeps in the hood calling me by my old name, I just knew that as I progressed in politics, education and life, it would cause confusion. Besides, the name didn't fit. I was more man than most. 

The moral of the story is while many of us had nicknames given to us as kids, we often grow out of it. Names like Wimp, Shark head and Stink mouth (like one brother I knew) are not appropriate as adults. While we are at it, stop giving your children names that retard their chances of success before they can even get out of the gate. Give them names that would empower them. Also, we as a people have to stop letting others define us. Often times others will use terms when describing us that will paint us in a negative light. Therefore it's time to use one of the principles of Kwanzaa which is Kujichagulia (Koo-gee-cha-goo-lee-ah) which means Self-Determination. It's time to define or redefine yourself peeps or someone else will do it for you. Hello, my name is William DC Clark. Nice to meet you.



Photo:   Donnalynn Anthony




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Corinna Moebius

Great post! I'm immediately reminded of Booker T. Washington's experience with his name. Quoting from "Up From Slavery": "My second difficulty was with regard to my name, or rather *a* name. From the time when I could remember anything, I had been called simply "Booker." Before going to school it had never occurred to me that it was needful or appropriate to have an additional name. When I heard the school-roll called, I noticed that all of the children had at least two names, and some of them indulged in the extravagance of having three. I was in deep perplexity, because I knew that the teacher would demand of me at least two names, and I had only one. By the time the occasion came for the enrolling of my name, an idea occurred to me which I thought would make me equal of the situation and so, when the teacher asked me what my full name was, I calmly told them "Booker Washington," as if I had been called by that name all my life; and by that name I have been known. Later in life I found that my mother had given me the name of "Booker Taliaferro" soon after I was born, but in some way that part of my name seemed to disappear, and for a long while was forgotten, but as soon as I found out about it I revived it, and made my full name "Booker Taliaferro Washington." I think there not many men in our country who have had the privilege of naming themselves in the way that I have." Well, you are one of those men, William DC Clark!

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