Children’s names and naming practices: wrestling with racism in Asian American families


Elementary and Early Childhood Education

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A name is the starting point to acknowledge the existence of ourselves and others in our lives. However, we live in a society where name-based biases and discrimination have permeated. As transnational parent researchers, we examined our children’s names and naming practices through the practice of Suda [수다], which is an open-ended nonhierarchical conversational environment and deep/emotional storytelling, drawing on our own onto-epistemological stances. We intend to uncover implicit and hidden racial discourses against Asian/Asian American children’s names and naming practices through our children’s names and naming practices. The data reveal that our children’s names embrace our cultural beliefs, faiths, the wishes of parents, and family histories while being entangled with discrimination and racial discourses. Our children were also actively negotiating and (re)constructing their self-representation by having more than one name. This study provides implications regarding racially minoritized children’s names and naming practices in school and future research.

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Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education

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