Were there distinctly African-American names a century ago? And if so, how do we find them?
Is there a “before” and “after” moment in modern American history? A time when the trajectory changed, when we started living and thinking differently?
The symbolic power of names was front and center in 2020. Physicians and politicians wrangled with the implications of different names for the virus that brought society to its knees. Brands with “nostalgic” slave names like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben were finally retired. And throughout, a rallying cry reminded […]
The two biggest baby name stories of 2019 were more about substance than style. The top hitmakers—the late hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle and the film The Hate U Give—made their marks across names as varied as Kross and Sekani, Ermias and Seven. In the process, they helped define a cultural […]
This week the Aunt Jemima pancake brand name was “retired,” bringing an end to a 131-year advertising minstrel show. The brand’s current owner, Quaker, finally bowed to the reality that no cosmetic makeover could rehabilitate a character, and business, built on a romanticized fantasy of owning human beings as property. […]
As our nation confronts the massive toll of systemic racism, a viral video on the subject has been viewed millions of times. In simple animation, the video presents two hypothetical American boys, one white and one black. The two characters become avatars of the multigenerational effects of privilege on one […]
It has become a familiar part of America’s modern political narrative. The white, small-town experience is portrayed as the most traditional American experience. Some elevate it as an ideal, the model for returning the nation’s culture to an earlier, prouder time. Others see it as just one element of a […]