Raven-Symoné of “The View” has come under fire after admitting she discriminates against “ghetto” names like “Watermelondrea.”
The host, who’s given name is Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman, made the comment while discussing a new study about racial bias toward “black-sounding” names.
She said it’s not racist to treat people different based on their names, it’s “discriminatory,” Mediaite reported.
“And I am very discriminatory against words like the ones they were saying in those names,” Ms. Symoné said, referring to examples of names in the popular YouTube video “Top 60 Ghetto Black names.”
“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not gonna happen. I’m not gonna hire you,” she said.
Her co-hosts did little to push back. Co-host Joy Behar added that white people often name their children after food — Apple, Honey — prompting her to suggest to parents they stop naming their children when they’re hungry, CNN reported.
Ms. Symoné’s comment received backlash on social media and in opinion columns, with many people accusing the her of hypocrisy.
“Raven seems to see no irony in supporting discrimination against non-traditional names while having a non traditional name AND appearance,” one user wrote on Twitter.
Another tweeted, “Raven-Symoné name hits for the hood name cycle. It has two capital letters, a hyphen, alternative spelling choice, and an unnecessary accent.”
In a column, titled “Raven-Symoné Rips Black Names, But Forgot About Her Own,” EBONY Magazine senior writer Jamilah Lemieux pointed out the negative effects of dehumanizing people based on their names.
“The whole world is trying to tear us apart and you want to discount the value of some other black person because she, TOO, has a black name, Raven hyphen alternate spelling of ‘Simone’? You got the nerve,” Ms. Lemieux wrote.
“We can’t have a hierarchy of black names. You are either with your family, or you aren’t. Being named ‘Naima’ or ‘Aaliyah,’ Asha,’ or ‘Imani,’ doesn’t make you better or more sophisticated or more African than someone named ‘Shatasha,’ and the people who are dumping Shatasha’s resume in the trash because of her name are happy to throw yours in there too, boo,” Ms. Lemieux added.
Ebony.com contributing editor Damon Young said Ms. Symoné added insult to injury by using “Watermelondrea” as her hypothetical name choice.
“Only a person who associates ‘blackness’ with ‘badness’ would choose to disparage black names and choose to throw a stereotypical reference in there, too. Which, again, is absurd, because neither having a ‘black’ name or enjoying watermelon while black are bad things!” he wrote in his column, “Raven-Symoné Doesn’t Like Black-Sounding Names? How Ironic.”