If you're planning on having a baby in Sonora, Mexico, there are now 61 names you will be legally banned from bestowing upon your little bundle of joy. But then, if you were planning on actually giving your kid any of these names, maybe they're just protecting you from your own bad decision making. The state, located in Northern Mexico just across the border from Arizona, has decided to try cracking down on unusual first names and has already started a list of things parents absolutely cannot name their children. Among them: Facebook, Hitler, and Burger King.
The whole thing raises an interesting question about the rights of parents to name their children as they see fit and the rights of children to not be saddled with ridiculous — and sometimes cruel — names. I mean, can you imagine growing up with the name Hitler? Because I would just as soon not. Yet someone did; the list Sonora devised of names they will no longer allow is composed of names that have been found on the state registries. So wherever you may be, Baby Hitler, I hope your parents change your name before you learn what it means.
Sonora isn't the first place to try to grapple with the problem of bizarre and harmful names. In an extreme case in New Zealand, a girl was actually removed from her parents' custody so that she could legally change her given name of Tulula Does the Hula From Hawaii, which her parents had refused to allow her to do. In Iceland, on the other hand, they avoid the problem by only allowing parents to give their children names which are on the Icelandic register of approved names, or they can pay to have a proposed name evaluated by the naming committee. Germany is somewhat less strict, but still has laws against naming children after products and reserves the right to reject proposed names. And countries like Japan require that any given name must be easily written and read in the country's native language and alphabet.
Here in the United States, we don't have any laws about what parents can and can't name their children, so it's pretty much a free-for-all (that sometimes gets handed over to the Internet). Which is good when you think about how diverse America is, and maybe not so good when you wind up with parents naming their children Messiah. Knowing this country, any attempts to restrict which names parents could or couldn't give their children would most likely get pretty racist pretty fast. It's a relatively small price to pay to have children with names like Yoga and Jedi. But seriously kids, here's how you go about changing your name once you're old enough.
Curious about what names made Sonora's list? Here are some highlights:
- James Bond
- Burger King
- Escroto (Spanish for scrotum! Is this really a problem?)
- US Navy
- Hermione (come on!)
- Rolling Stone
- Christmas Day (but it's so festive!)
Image: Getty Images