What's in a name? A Tyler by any other name...

Predictable outrage by Barbara "Babs" Ellen in the Guardian in reaction to Katie Hopkins' comments about names as an indicator of class:

I felt wonderfully common, indeed militantly so, when I watched former Apprentice candidate Katie Hopkins on This Morning, telling Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby why she wouldn't allow her children to play with other children with "low-class" names such as Tyler, Charmaine or Chardonnay.
In Hopkins's view, a name was a useful short cut in her important life, providing vital information on a child's social status.
I seem to remember the Freakonomics authors making some persuasive statistical arguments that naming of children in American schools provided similar indications towards their parents' social status. They also touched on how some of this tied into racial background, and how many of the poorer American families of Afro-Caribbean background were consciously choosing emphatically "black"-sounding names like DeShawn and LaToya. Overall, in each generation there were popular "classical" names that tended to point to higher social class, and more exotic names that pointed downwards. Interestingly, there were certain names that might show upper social classes in one generation but then be borrowed for middle class children in the next, and then lower class in generations afterwards - the "aspirational" names.

Frank Chalk, author of It's your time you're wasting described the game that his fellow teachers where they'd read out a number of first names of a particular class and then try to guess whether they were top, middle or bottom set in ability. It turned out not to be particularly difficult.

First names do convey significant information about children in aggregate. Of course, on an individual basis you don't know whether Chardonnay was so named because her mother liked a daily bottle of the same, or because that was the principal grape in her father's vineyards. Whether you should act on that information, by selecting which social groups your child plays with, is another question which I choose not to tackle at this time.

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