If you search my name on google the first few things you will see are my linkedin page and a couple other social media pages, that’s not too bad.
But once you click images you will find one or two of my pictures, two mug shots of other girls, chiquita banana stuff, a volleyball player, and a bunch of pictures of a girl in her underwear
If you click on videos it gets even worse, the first thing you see is this girl Chiquita trying to fight someone, she proudly posted this online. Then you will see the videos that go with the images of the girl "dancing" that we saw earlier.
Why is this bothering me?
WELL, when I was in high school preparing for college my dad suggested to me that I should change my name. This made me mad. How dare you tell me that I can’t be successful based on my skills and accomplishments!? (Me being dramatic, this is what I thought he was saying.)
College wasn’t a huge hurdle to jump as far as my name went, I got into all the colleges I applied to. So this encouraged me to continue to believe that my name should not hinder my chances at success. My qualifications are in black and white right?
WRONG! I’m starting to believe that it doesn’t matter what my qualifications are because people can’t even get past my name before the decide that they do not want to work with me. With the stuff that can be pull up when you search my name I feel like I understand why people are making these assumptions.
This hurts because I like my name and couldn’t imagine being called anything other than Shiquita.
With all but two of the jobs and internships that I have had, I have found a way to introduce myself in person before they even got a chance to ignore my application. BUT now that I’m getting older and looking for more serious job opportunities I can’t even seem to get a call or an interview scheduled and I can’t help but wonder if it could be because of my name?
My dad telling me that I should change my name was not the only situation that has me feeling this way, I had classmates who made jokes out of pronouncing my name in the most ridiculous ways, or calling me things like Shanaynay or Shenequa. I never took offence to this. I always knew people made assumptions about my name but I thought that as long as I did not fit the stereotype it didn’t matter.
I guess I am a bit naive to think that people would look at my qualifications before making assumptions about me. The way I am feeling about my name has been building up over that past 2 years since I’ve graduated college and to add fuel to the fire I even had a customer at my previous job tell me that I should change my name or go by something else. I didn’t even know this women, the only thing she knew about me is that I provided her with good customer service while she was shopping. After she asked what I wanted to do out side of retail, she told me my name would be a problem. This upset me a little first because I thought “who are you to tell me to change my name?”, but second because I knew she might be telling the truth.
Let me be clear, I am not saying that I have to change my name to fit in with white people if that is where you thought I was going. I know for a fact that my own people look at my name and assume I am ghetto.
Recently, I applied to work at friend job and her boss, a black lady, told my friend that she almost skipped over my resume and that when she met me she thought I didn’t “look” like a Shiquita. Basically, that she thought I was going to be ghetto.
This is what I am dealing with! Keep in mind that I am not applying for jobs that I am not qualified for, I am simply trying to get an entry level position or a job that I can be financial stable with while I pursue my career in media production.
Name discrimination is obviously a problem that plenty of people deal with. If you search “should I change my name on my resume" you will see stories of how other people with difficult names feel they aren’t getting the same opportunities. And it effects other races too, why do you think immigrants adopt "American" names when the move here?
I read an article about a week ago about Yolanda Spivey, who changed her name and the answers on a diversity questionnaire, in an attempt to see of the same jobs she had been applying for would respond to her. She got responses with her new name the next day. I’m thinking that Ms. Spivey hit the nail on the head with this one. I have reached a point where I am going to have to stop being so prideful or my name and apply for jobs under an alias name because this is frustrating.