We were looking at lists of baby names — as we do here at Kveller — and did a double take.
Sitting at #17 on the “The Most Popular Names of 2018,” was the name Aryan. Yes, Aryan. As in, white supremacy, Aryan blood, “Heil Hitler,” etc.
What the hell, parents!? Why are you naming your child after a racial ideology in which unspeakable atrocities have been committed? How is Aryan a more popular boys’ name than Josh?
Well, to clear some things up, Nameberry says its an “Indo-Iranian” name and defines it as “warrior, honorable.” And you could make the case that Aryan is a variation of the au courant trend of boys names ending in “-an/-en” — think Braden, Jayden, Ronan, Aiden, and so on.
But, still… Aryan? Seriously?
In the U.S., we’ve seen the rise of white nationalism, surging anti-Semitism hate crimes, neo-Nazis marching in public, and more. It’s disheartening to think parents are naming their child after a hateful ideology.
As Wikipedia so helpfully points out, “The ideology of Nazism was based upon the conception of the ancient Aryan race being a superior race, holding the highest position in the racial hierarchy and that the Germanic peoples were the most racially pure existing peoples of Aryan stock.”
On Quora, someone asks, “Is Aryan a good name to give a child?” And the first answer explains that Aryan is a Sanskrit name that is common in India — but it is “politically incorrect in places other than India.” Further, the answer says, “Because ‘Aryan’ is not a name embraced by Westerners and has a racist connotation, it would not be a good idea to name your child that while living in a country other than India.”
Another answer says, “I don’t think name Aryan itself would draw negative conotations [sic]. Especially if standing near to Indian/Asian last name. It would draw a bad conotations [sic] if your kid is of pale white skin and accompanied by a same skin parent with Nazi swastika (rotated 45 degrees) tattoo on his shoulder.”
Nameberry is here to help, however. The site suggests: “Given its white supremacist connotations, we suggest you try the Arian spelling.”
Or maybe — just maybe — don’t name your child Aryan. Problem solved.