Monday, September 26, 2011

#14- High School Phaze

King David's namesake

My mother was pregnant with my youngest brother as a freshman in high school.  I volunteered to look up some names and pick a strong Black name fit for a god or a Black king.  I checked out a book of baby names from the library and perused it.  It was segregated by sex, origin, and meaning of names.  I was delighted to find out that my name registered as:

REGINALD (German)- "Advisor to the King; mighty; powerful"

I already knew my last name meant "Beloved" and that gave me all types of pride.  It was my destiny to be a powerful leader who was beloved!  This was bittersweet because I wanted to ditch my "slave" name and don a more appropriate African/Muslim name.  I felt both proud and guilty about keeping my name but since I didn't official convert yet I figured I'd be ok.

I wanted to call my brother "Shabazz" or "Rakim".  I called him that while in the stomach trying to get my mother to buy into the idea.  Those names were bitter in her mouth and she predictable jeered me for it.

She eventually settled on the name "David" based on the Bible.  I was livid.  She couldn't have chosen a more plainer name and she chose a name from the book of our oppressors.  I protested as much as I could but it was of no use.  My mother had never read the story of David but was satisfied that he was a king and a popular character in the Bible.

She added insult to injury by baptizing him in a Catholic church per tradition even though she'd been frequenting Protestant Baptist establishments.

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