Slate is running a two-part excerpt from Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, a new book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, which discusses the impact of giving babies super-black names (i.e., names that are far more common among blacks than among whites).
Their study sounds like a pitch for a buddy movie: Levitt, a white economist, teams up with Roland G. Fryer Jr., a black economist from Harvard, to perform regression analysis on the data from 16 million California birth certificates. [OK, so maybe it's not a great movie. Maybe it's on A&E.]
"There were also 228 babies named Unique during the 1990s alone, and one each of Uneek, Uneque, and Uneqqee; virtually all of them were black."
I hope I don't give away the ending if I tell you that their study shows super-black names don't actually create obstacles for a kid's career or education, but that they often are correlated with other social and economic disadvantages that do.
A Roshanda by Any Other Name [slate]
Coming tomorrow: "how names work their way down the socioeconomic ladder"