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Latin Baby Names on the Rise for Caucasians: Does a Name Really Make You More Ethnic?

First Posted: Oct 10, 2013 09:19 AM EDT
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Some may argue that our first names define how our personalities evolve, so what happens if you are given a more ethnic name -- do you essentially become more ethnic, even if you're Caucasian?

Belly Ballot, a website that tracks pregnant couples baby name choices in real-time, released some eyebrow-raising news that indicates more Caucasian parents are giving their children Latin-sounding names.

The website's "Yes Way, Jose! Fall 2013 Baby Name Predictions...Hispanic is Caliente," spotlights the increase in the Latino population in the United States and its appeal for non-Latinos to assimilate to the change.

"Hispanic is definitely in," says Belly Ballot editor and baby name expert, Lucie Strachonova.  "We have seen strong indications of white parents selecting Latino baby names in greater numbers, and the trend continues to grow. Fall 2013 through 2014 will certainly be a pivotal year."

The report took a closer look at parents who are riding the Latin wave, but what are the real motivations behind it? Do these parents of non-Hispanic descent want their children to 'fit in' more or are they really capitalizing on the idea that their children will be afforded new opportunities that they wouldn't have otherwise been exposed to? You be the judge.

Tiffany Wilson, a mom in Millersville, Tenn. from Irish-German descent:

"We want our child to fit in," says Wilson. "Hispanic culture is growing rapidly here in Tennessee.  Her friends are Hispanic, her future bosses will be Hispanic...we just don't want her to be different.  I think having a Latino name has helped her make friends."

Nadia Villapudua, a California school psychologist:

"Elementary education is where we are seeing a large demographic change. In historically white communities, Hispanics have now become either a significant minority or an outright majority.  This growth will have an impact on how these traditional cultures raise children."

Shaina Heimpel, a Caucasian mom from Colorado Springs believes that giving her daughter the Latin name Isabella will open the floodgates of opportunity for her child in the U.S. 

"I did well in school with a 3.5 GPA...but doors didn't open, there were no scholarships for someone like me. My Hispanic friends on the other hand got scholarships and grants. Isabella will now have every opportunity available to her, and not go through what I did. Although she's already a quarter Hispanic, that name is the only thing I can do for her that will pave the way for her life."

Not everyone has jumped on board this Latin trend; in fact, some are appalled at the idea.  James Logsdon, a top member for the Creativity Movement, 'an advocacy group for the expansion and advancement of the white race,' feels this trend is the result of white guilt being taught in schools and the mainstream media, according to the Belly Ballot.

"Abandoning your culture for another is highly negative," says Logsdon.  "Your family comes from a culture, and for someone to abandon that is treasonous.  I understand they don't want their children to suffer in this country for being white, but these parents are forcing their white guilt onto the children."

We've see name changes happen in Hollywood all the time. One example of this, on the opposite end, has been a Latin to Caucasian name change. So did actor Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen commit 'treason' when they took on stage names? (Martin Sheen's parents were immigrants, his father from Parderrubias, Galicia, Spain, and his mother from Borrisokane, County Tipperary, Ireland.)

If that's the case, should Charlie Sheen go back to Carlos Irwin Estevez and his father Martin Sheen should go back to Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez? Martin Sheen's other famous son, Emilio Estevez, who kept his name, has nothing to worry about because he's on trend now.

Belly Ballot also points out that "Hispanic names are definitely not a new entrant to traditional American baby naming. Popular names like Sofia, Mia, and Olivia are already on the top of the baby names charts every year."

Which names are becoming the most popular amongst Caucasians who are influenced by the Latino community?  

The real-time voting data indicates the new trending names are as follows:

Lola, Maria, Ernesto, Isabella, Santos, Carmen, Diego, Sierra, Miguel and Luis.

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