“The belief in a parental power is manifest in the first official act a parent commits: giving the baby a name.”
  • o The parents have the ability to make a huge impact on the baby’s life just by giving him/her a name.
“Many parents seem to believe that a child cannot prosper unless it is hitched to the right name; names are seen to carry great aesthetic or even predictive powers.”
  • o Parents believe that the name they give their child will influence the child’s future.

Statement of Facts

“The California data prove just how dissimilarly black and white parents name their children… Until the early 1970s, there was a great overlap between black and white names.”
  • o The names black parents named their children weren’t much different that the names that white parents named their children.
“The Typical baby girl born in a black neighborhood in 1970 was given a name that was twice as common among blacks as whites. By 1980 she received a name that was twenty times more common among blacks.”
  • o Baby girls’ names born in a black neighborhood started becoming more unique. The differences in names between the two races became more obvious in the 1980s.


“Maybe DeShawn should just change his name.”
  • o It would be easy for him to just change his name. It might pay off in the long run.
  • o But does a change of name change his situation.
“The data show that, on average, a person with a distinctively black name—whether it is a woman name Imani or a man named DeShawn—does have a worse life outcome than a woman named Molly or a man named Jake.”
  • o “But it isn’t the fault of their names.”


“His name is an indicator—not a cause—of his outcome.”
  • o The name doesn’t cause him to have success. His situation does.
All the tables in Chapter 6


“There is a clear pattern at play: once a name catches on among high-income, highly educated parents, it starts working its way down the socioeconomic ladder.”
“But as a high-end name is adopted en masse, high-end parents begin to abandon it.
  • o Once a name becomes really popular, parents start to leave those names alone so as not to seem really common.


“It would be an overstatement to suggest that all parents are looking—whether consciously or not—for a “smart” name or a “high-end” name. But they are all trying to signal something with a name, whether the name is Winner or Loser, Madison or Amber, Shithead or Sander, DeShawn or Jake. “
  • o Parents can’t help but try to pick out a name that will put their child ahead in life. Unfortunately, the name doesn’t determine a child’s future.
“The name isn’t likely to make a shard of difference.”
  • o The name parents pick for their child doesn’t make a difference in how they will turn out.

*Alexis Carryl*

The main mode of argument used in Chapter 6 is exemplification. This can be shown throughout the chapter, in which examples are given of names in different categories. The whole chapter essentially focuses around these examples, and they are built onto as they are sorted into categories. Another example of exemplification would be the introduction of the man from New York, Robert Lane, in the third paragraph. This shows the audience that names are not always a true indicator of what may happen in the future. Exemplification was used to help the audience understand that effects that a name may bring upon a person.
~Colton Papierz