For most people, naming their newborn is a pretty pain-free process. In some countries around the world however, there’s a worrying trend towards the rejection of any names that don’t fit into what is considered “traditional”. Brazil is one such country.
Cizinho Afreeka and Jéssica Juliana discovered Brazil’s bias towards unconventional names the hard way – when they submitted the obligatory forms to name their new baby girl. According to the Brazilian Internal Affairs Division of the Court of Rio, the registration office told the couple that they couldn’t give their child the traditional African name they’d picked out because it could “cause future problems for the child.”
Cizinho Afreeka, the child’s father, believes his family has been a victim of racism: “It’s a form of racism that takes place in Brazil: the racism of subtleties. It should be very natural a man and a black woman adopting an African name, as the country is made up of three races. It is difficult to prove.”
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