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December 28, 2018 10:11 AM

Thank you, Laura, for this thorough and complex analysis of the power & pitfalls of these nicknames! I often think of the Harry Potter spell ‘ridikkulus’, which strips our fears of the power they have over us by making them funny, so that we may banish them with laughter; I love the idea, but do worry that for myself, the instinct to laugh can mean overlooking the danger. That said, POC  should be free to deal with their pains & fears in whatever way they deem best, without worrying about whether white people (the ones who are inclined to underestimate the attendant violence) will be misled by cutesy nicknames.


Looking back at the nominations thread, I want to note that TheOtherHungarian also contributed some important thoughts to the discussion.


And to jguliap: thanks for the reminder that calling the police on white barbecuers vs POC barbecuers is not equivalent - race blindness is not a virtue when it means failing to acknowledge the racist power structures that affect all of us.

December 13, 2018 08:47 PM

fillefantome: You're absolutely right - thanks for the correction. I was thinking more of Patty & Paula when I said 'older'.

December 3, 2018 06:17 PM

Oooh, I actually have more to add about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex: The only previous Duke of Sussex was known for his liberal views including abolition of the slave trade; though he was twice married, neither of his wives was ever styled 'Duchess of Sussex' as he insisted on choosing his own spouses without permission of the crown; and his mother, Queen Charlotte, is thought to have had some African ancestry. So the choice of 'Sussex' for Harry's & Meghan's title is also incredibly symbolic of the New Progressive Royals. ("Progressive", anyway. It's still the royal family, after all!)


However! I *also* support the nomination of BBQ Becky (and Patty, and Paula) -- I wasn't familiar with any of them, but all three names are such specific signifiers of an older, white, middle-class milieu -- it gets its point across beautifully.

November 23, 2018 10:11 AM

Seconding Beto. Being an Irish-American with a traditionally Latinx nickname is unexpected and illustrative of the Texan culture that shaped him -- while also adding fuel to the cultural-appropriation conversation. Stormy/Stormi was prominent in both political gossip and celebrity gossip - the former's story kind of surreal and out of control and the latter's very tightly controlled.

As for Meghan: Agree that the divorced, biracial, American Duchess of Sussex is an incredibly rich symbol of progress for the royal family, and her name does illustrate parts of what makes her different. The Duchess of Cambridge was universally known as Kate before her marriage, but now officially goes by Catherine -- and though she was a commoner, her name still has traditional English royal cred (there were three Queen Katherines in the Tudor period alone). Meghan, on the other hand, is a Celtic-inspired spelling of a very American-sounding name. She is officially Duchess Meghan, rather than Duchess Rachel, though Rachel was her legal first name. We all hope that this signifies that she won't be changing who she is to fit the Crown's expectations. Okay, I think I just talked myself into this being my top pick!

November 23, 2018 09:47 AM

In regards to Peregrine: Lord of the Rings lends it both geek cred and the nickname 'Pippin'. Also: I believe Love and Wrestling were brothers. They're in my family history.

September 7, 2015 09:23 AM

I don't know - what about Kermit's nephew Robin or the Electric Mayhem's Janice (a mom name if there ever was one), or the Seseame Street characters Rosita and Zoey? I'm just glad to have another female muppet - Denise will be, what, the third after Piggy and Janice, in a crowd of over 40 muppets? Of course she has to be a love interest...