Many African Americans maintain the strong belief that ethnic names can have damaging affects on their lives. Especially when it comes to securing employment.

Names signify identity, and with them comes lots of assumptions.

19-year-old Keisha Austin felt that her birth name led to countless instances of bullying. So she changed it.

From Black Voices:

…the stereotypes associated with her name and the racist jokes from her peers pushed her to ultimately change her name given at birth.¬†Keisha’s mother, Cristy Austin, was adamant about the name even before the teen was born. As a white woman raising a biracial daughter by herself in a neighborhood that wasn’t very diverse, she said she gave her daughter the name to give her confidence and a connection to her culture. She thought the name represented a “strong, feminine, beautiful black woman.”

Read more at Black Voices

Keisha now goes by Kylie. She says she just couldn’t take the negative associations that came with her birth name.

Austin also states that she never felt connected to her birth name, so it was relatively easy for her to make the change. The name change is an early Christmas gift from her mother.

Thoughts on the name change?

How much weight does a name really have on one’s life and self-esteem?

Sound off below!