High Income Sounding Names

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The University of the West Indies recently completed a study.  This had to do with employment.

It wasn't the usual skin colour/gender discrimination; this had to do with names.

Now, in Jamaica there are a lot of ridiculous names.  I mean really ridiculous.  

Firstly, there are those who give their children some sort of 'African' sounding name.  This is not the kind that you will find on African heroes or diplomats.  These come from some realm.

For example, this man is called 'Shamona'.  A man.  You can imagine when he was in school and they thought he was a girl...(the 'a').  

With a name like this, he is virtually unemployable, because anyone seeing an application from Shamona Lewin and one from Stephen Lewis, will assume that Stephen was born into a normal family and thus his parents gave him a normal name, and that Shamona was born into some ghetto family and won't be suitable in an office with a flush toilet.

The researchers sent out applications specifying virtually the same educational background for the candidates and that in 100% of the cases, Stephen received a response, Shamona didn't.

Where the address was 'High Income' the responses were better, but not by much, causing the researchers to confirm that it was the 'low income' name which overroad even the 'high income' address.

The basic facts are that those who name their children Abiigale or Emma,  Joshua or David are often those in the middle class or above.   Those who name their children Sheerika or Meshika come from the lowest classes.

In Jamaica it is more class than colour.

The lower class doesn't care very much about education and has its own set of 'values'.    The upper class is very concerned about education and adheres to very high values.

Often, the address was what provoked the selection; those from particular areas in Jamaica called 'ghettoes' would be disqualified, and those from other areas, considered 'middle class' would be selected.

Hence if you lived in Kingston 11,12,13 and Kingston you were assumed to be low class.  If you lived in Kingston 7 or 8 you would be in a middle class area.

However, borders have moved, and it is not easy to generalise by address.  Further, the helper or gardener can chose to use his employer's address.

The research has not yet been published, but one expects a rapid reaction from the population.


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