In the United States the enormous cultural production industry often times makes it difficult for individuals to find space to create true culture. Culture is something that comes from people, not from industry, and not from mass production. One of the few spaces I see in which people have the ability to and are using this ability to create culture is in naming. I had a discussion while home over the holidays about this. It started with one of those studies about how people with names like Joe Smith are more likely to get call backs from potential employers when submitting their resumes than people with ethnic or even ethnic sounding names. I feel that this illustrates the prejudice and racism that is still at the root of our society. The person I was talking to said he didn't know how a parent could responsibly name their children something other than a "normal" name, especially if their children were already going to run into prejudice based on race or class. After some discussion it seemed that he was thinking more of celebrity names like Apple and Suri then names directly connected to another culture, but I think that people do judge names that are culturally different or even spelled differently than they are used to as abnormal and this is problematic. I saw an angry Facebook post recently of a girl who was upset that a parent complained about her spelling her child's name wrong. She exclaimed that the mother should not be frustrated with her spelling if she was the one who named her child N'Tahshuh. Classifying some names as normal is wrong, especially if one is in the privileged group in a society, judging names of those who are not, only adds to the unfair hierarchy already in place. The thought that certain names (and in the case of the resumes names associated with whiteness) are better than others perpetuates racism and unfair treatment. And it is a shame because there is something incredibly beautiful about naming and the creation of names. It is a way for people to take back culture or to maintain a relationship with their cultural heritage. I see the creation of names especially in disenfranchised urban communities as a way for people to take back power. They will not allow their creativity to be stifled. And it seems especially important in African American communities where ties with a cultural history have been severed by slavery, the creation of names becomes a way to reconnect, build community, and express identity. Naming is important, creativity is important and both are components of culture. Let us not judge people on differences in names, but see the beauty in naming, the cultural significance, and how our ability to create is necessary to reclaim culture from industry.