The Controversies Surrounding Names


Courtesy of Ompundja Constituency Councilor

Adolf Hitler Uunona won his local election in Namibia, which sparked a debate about names.

“I am aware at one point of time Adolf Hitler was the most hated person on Earth for the genocide of the Jews,” said one Adolf Hitler in an interview with the Associated Press. When Adolf Hitler Uunona won an election in Namibia earlier this year, his notorious name and political success caused him to go viral on Twitter and other social media platforms. Adolf Uunona received 85% of the vote within his constituency and is now the councilor in Ompundja, Namibia. However, this recent event raises an important question: should parents be allowed to name their children whatever they want?

In an interview with the German newspaper, Bild, Adolf Uunona said he was not associated with Hitler himself. He also told Bild that his father, who named him Adolf Hitler Uunona, did not understand its negative connotation. Moreover, as a child, Adolf Uunona also did not understand the negative connotation his name gave. When he grew up, however, he realized that Hitler killed millions of Jews, Gypsies, and other minorities and wanted to dominate the world. However, Hitler Uunona said that he has “nothing to do with any of these things.”

Today, Adolf Hitler Uunona goes by Adolf Uunona. Since his name is already documented, he believes that it’s too late for him to officially change his name. Moreover, Adolf is a name used by Namibians, because Namibia used to be part of a former German colony.

However, in Germany, Adolf Uunona’s parents would have been required to select a different name, according to Business Insider. In fact, Germany bans people from naming their children “Osama bin Laden” and any other name that might humiliate the child when they grow up. In Iceland, the names “Zoe” and “Harriet” are banned because they cannot be conjugated in Icelandic, and all parents must submit the name of their child to a National Registry within six months of his/her birth. Half of the submitted names are rejected though, “for violating Iceland’s strict naming requirements,” Business Insider wrote. After an incident in 1991 where two parents wanted to protest a fine, Sweden even banned the name “brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116.”

These countries, along with others, feel that it’s the government’s responsibility to step in when a parent fails to name their child appropriately. Some countries are also “concerned about maintaining cultural identity,” Business Insider wrote. However, in the United States, parents are provided more leeway when it comes to naming their children. For example, in New Jersey, parents are legally allowed to name their children after Hitler and other Nazis.

Still, there are some people in history that do not need to be immortalized any more than they already are. Naming a child Adolf Hitler allows Hitler’s legacy to live on. For this reason, one might propose legislation in the United States to restrict what parents can name their children. Additionally, one might propose that schools work together everywhere, to create global curriculums that teach students about the actions of evil historical figureheads, such as Hitler, so that they do not name their children after them. After all, Adolf Uunona’s parents never knew that Adolf Hitler was genocidal.
Parents should be aware of how the name they choose can affect their child later in life. Many countries, including France, Germany, and Sweden, do not allow parents to name their child something that will humiliate them or negatively affect them as they grow up. Names are incredibly special. After all, who would want to be called “brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116”?