Is This Whole Culture Off Limits?
- Nervous about Nadia
Names have the magical ability to conjure up a world of meanings from a simple string of sounds. That power is what makes them so fascinating, but it can have a downside too. If someone makes headlines for the wrong reasons, their dark cloud can cast a shadow over their name -- and by extension, anyone who bears it.
That guilt by association can be irritating if you share a name with a Hollywood celeb who behaves badly. It can be downright scary if you share a name with an enemy of the state. Not surprisingly, American parents abandoned the baby name Osama after the 9/11 attacks.
Osama bin Laden, though, was an individual. Does the notion of "enemy names" extend to a whole naming tradition? Happily, I don't think so. Ethnic prejudice in times of conflict is an unfortunate reality. A name, though, is a lot more than just its ethnic origin, and ethnic identity is a lot more than just a name.
Nadia is a familiar cross-cultural favorite. If you look back in history, names like that haven't been casualties of geopolitical events. During WWI and WWII, as the U.S. fought Germany, American parents continued to choose names like Herman and Frederick. Even the name Fritz, which was used as a slang term for the enemy, managed to hang on. And Nadia itself first took off in America in the midst of the Cold War, thanks to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci.
So my advice is not to overthink this one. All the qualities that make Nadia appeal so much to you should keep it appealing to everyone around you, too.