An anonymous mom (OP) took to Reddit’s AITA forum to get advice after her in-laws pressured her into changing a baby name she picked based on skin color.
“This is such stressful situation and I feel ganged up on. Please give me some impartial opinions here.”
“I am 5 months pregnant with a beautiful baby girl. Once we found out the gender, my husband immediately asked if we could name her after his late mother, Abeni (not the real name but similar). My husband is of Nigerian descent while I am 3rd generation Canadian, white as can be. I loved the name and we have been decided for a while now.”
“Well last night we were having dinner with his family when my husband announced the planned name for our daughter. It went extremely well at first, his dad even teared up a bit. Then his older brother comes out of nowhere asking if we had a backup name if she came out looking white.”
The mom was obviously taken aback by this and asked him to clarify what he meant by that.
“I asked him what he meant by that and he explained it would be strange to see a white looking girl with a traditional Nigerian name and she might get bullied. I was prepared to tell him off when the rest of the siblings started agreeing with him! Even my FIL said that it’s was a good point.”
But her husband did not chime in at all.
“My husband stayed quiet and I told them that we were naming her Abeni regardless of her skin colour and to drop the subject. We left pretty shortly after.”
“Now my husband is second guessing himself and is trying to convince me that we should have a white sounding backup name. I told him that he is being ridiculous. Babies skin colour can change over time so what would happen if she came out as black as him but her skin lightened or vise versa? Would we change her name? And how white does she have to be before we go with the backup name?”
The mom fears that her husband is insecure about the choice and just wants to appease his family.
“We got into a fight over it and my husband ended up calling me ignorant, which really hurt. I think that he is letting his family bully him into something he doesn’t truly want. He thinks that I am naïve.”
One person commented: “She will be mixed race regardless of the color of her skin. Name her whatever you want and if later in life people question her traditional Nigerian name she can say “My father is from Nigeria and I am named after his grandmother.” If people have a problem with it then that is THEIR ignorance.”
While another said: “This has got to be the first AITA where someone has been trying to get the kid not named after their family and not included in their heritage. OP I think you need to have a conversation with your husband about what he feels about the possibility of having a white -passing child. Will he see the child as less his? What if you have a second child who is black, will he be able to treat the children equally? This child is both of yours and regardless of her skin tone she is half Nigerian, half of your husband and his culture, and the name was chosen for that reason. It’s worrying that your husband thinks skin colour changes that.”
What do you think? Comment below!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.