How can a name shape your identity? A Kansas City girl felt like her name was suggesting a certain type of person, and she doesn’t fit that mould.

19-year-old Keisha Austin decided to change her name to Kylie, after she suffered from incessant bullying because of the name Keisha. Austin apparently wanted a name that sounded more “white,” as she lives in a predominantly white neighborhood.

She claims kids at school would ask her whether or not there was a “La” or a “Sha” in front of Keisha, and a teacher asked her if it was spelled like the pop star “Ke$ha.”

“It’s not something I take lightly,” she said. “I put a lot of thought into it. I don’t believe you should just change your name or your face or anything like that on a whim. I didn’t want to change my name because I didn’t like it. I wanted to change my name because it didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t connect to it. I didn’t feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it.”

Keisha’s mother wasn’t all that happy about the name change, but knows he daughter is still the same person.

“I saw it as a source of pride,” said Keisha’s mom. “I wanted her to have that. It felt like a gift I gave to her, and she was returning it. Keisha was the only name I ever thought of, and when I talked to her in my belly, I talked to Keisha. But she’s still the same person, regardless of her name.”


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