NPR logo A Name Change We Can Believe In

A Name Change We Can Believe In

Do you remember where you were the first time you heard the name Barack Hussein Obama? For a few, it might have been back in 2002 when, as Illinois State Senator, he gave a (now famous) speech in Chicago denouncing the "dumb war" that President Bush had authorized that same day. For many more, the moment came at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when, as a mere Senate candidate, he wrote and delivered the keynote address which transfixed his party.

No matter when or where you first heard the name Barack, you probably thought it was unique. Well, you were right. Currently, the name Barack doesn't even appear in the Top 1000 Names over at YeahBaby.com. The name itself means blessed and is of African origin, but it's not exactly popular over there either.

"Wow! Barack is an uncommon name! YeahBaby has over 26,500 baby names in our database of international names popularity, but Barack was not one of those names. And since our database goes back to 1990, the name Barack hasn't been popular in past years either!"

This got us thinking. What's in a name, anyway? Some people believe a child's name determines his or her destiny. Will U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama inspire new Democratic parents to name their sons after him? Turns out, Barack has already been crowned Name of the Year by Laura Wattenberg, creator of the Baby Name Wizard, an online tool for expectant parents at iVillage.com.

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Barack Babies





Looks like you can't go wrong with Barack. Turns out, it's actually the person behind the name that matters. If you're still feeling uneasy about naming your baby, just remember the cautionary tale of Robert Lane - father of the century - and his two socially engineered children, Winner and Loser.

Courtesy of The Tartan Online:

Robert Lane, a black father who named one of his sons Winner and the other Loser. Ironically, Loser went to prep school, graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and joined the New York Police Department where he eventually made sergeant. Winner Lane, on the other hand, has a criminal record with nearly three dozen arrests for burglary and domestic violence, among other charges. These anecdotes invalidate the myth that one's name greatly influences that person's chances for success.

Do you like or dislike the name Barack? If you have an unusual name, feel free to share your story. We would especially love to hear from any parents-to-be who are planning on naming their child after Barack Obama.

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