A study noted down that your name alone may be a source of longevity.
Black Americans who had names with historical significance such as Elijah and Moses lived a year longer than others of their kind. The new study examined 3 million death certificates between the years 1802 and 1970.
This is the first such study to find out about the positive benefits of having a distinctive name. However, Black Americans having such names as Jamal or Lakisha were more likely to face racial discrimination.
Whereas modern black names are a troublesome source of racial profiling, historical names were a source of advantageous superiority.
"A number of studies indicate that modern black names can act as a burden, whereas our findings show that historical black names conveyed a large advantage over a person's lifetime," said Cook, associate professor in MSU's Department of Economics and James Madison College.
Death certificates were gathered from four states: Alabama, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. There were some special names given to black men at the beginning of the 20th century.
These included such monikers as Abraham, Booker and Isaac. Age of death was noted down well for those men who had such names. Just by possessing a distinctive black name, a year was added to the life of the possessor of that name.
This was relative to other black males. Such social and economic factors as having a single parent, educational level and chosen career were accounted for.
The bonus of a single year was a surprising find. For one thing, even the addition of a third of a year would have been significant. A whole year was a remarkable source of longevity and well being in the lives of thes black men.
The names are often taken from the Bible and thus they automatically empower the individuals. Men who had these names may have earned some respect and standing in society by virtue of their names alone.
Also they may have had ties with their churches, extended families and the overall communities to which they belonged.
The presence of social ties were a source of strength and comfort in the most trying times. These black men could undergo the most harrowing experiences and come out unscathed thanks to their community being on their side.
They literally had a shoulder to cry on. Even their teachers expected the best of them and encouraged them more thanks to their names. This lent them a sense of status that was more than the Average Joe on the street possesses.
Their self esteem was intact and seemed to bolster their self-concept. However, having strange names that were modernistic in their flavor led to discrimination. People shut you out on instinct when you had a weird name.
"When people see a name that's foreign or strange to them in their profession, implicitly they shut down, as these studies have shown," Cook said.
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"Then there is an extra layer of bias suggesting that this is possibly a female, poor or somehow unqualified candidate. Research has found that in the United States it's associated with racial discrimination and in Britain it's associated with class discrimination."