A man who named his son after his childhood ‘mentor’ says the choice has been criticised for being ‘culturally inappropriate’ by friends and family.
The new dad says he and his wife like the name they chose, but it’s upset his partner’s family who have questioned why they gave their child ‘such a white name’.
He wrote: “I am black, and my wife is also black.
“I spent most of my childhood in the foster system, but for a good part of it I was taken care of by an elderly Russian gentleman – we’ll call him Dimitri Petrovitch.
“While he never formally adopted me, he played a major role in my upbringing, and I am very grateful for all that he has done for me.
“Unfortunately, he passed away many years ago, and he never had any children.”
When his wife gave birth to their little boy recently, they decided to name him Dimitri Petrovitch Williams in tribute, but he added: “Her extended family has been quite upset over it, saying things like ‘what kinda name is Dimitri?’, or ‘you ain’t white, you ain’t Russian, why did you give your son such a a white name?'”
“It’s true that there’s no part of me that’s Russian (I can barely speak Russian), but I feel like he’s been such a big part of my upbringing that I had to honor him somehow.
“I confided in my friends too, and they said something along the lines of ‘you a black man and you gotta be proud of your own culture. You gave your son an identity that he’s not even a part of, he’s gonna have a hard time in school with that name’.”
Posting on Reddit , he said that they will keep the name but asked if he should have reconsidered and honoured his mentor in another way.
He received a wave of support in the comments, with one writing: “You honoured an honourable man who helped shape and form your life, morals, ethics.
“And also: it’s your child. Name them whatever you deem appropriate.”
Another replied: “Your family and friends can name their kids what they want. Also, not that you need any reason at all, but you have a great tribute to an important person in your life.”