Booker T. and George: What’s in a Surname?

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, January 13, 2012

The racial distributions of American names.

The media are notoriously reluctant to mention the race of criminals. The pious fiction is that since race doesn’t matter no one is interested in it. On the contrary, everyone, from whatever perspective, is interested.

Fortunately, it is usually easy to find out the race of a criminal. On-line versions of newspapers often include photos, and many names are a giveaway. Laqueesha Jackson can only be black, and Miguel Garcia is bound to be Hispanic.

The first names of blacks and whites have been diverging sharply. Records show that 100 years ago the 20 most popular given names for blacks and whites were virtually the same. That began to change in the 1960s, when blacks started giving their children distinctly black names. Some, like Rasheed or Karim, were supposed to be African, but most, like Shaneequa, Latonya, or DeShawn, are home-grown, black-American innovations.

Innovation marches on. In California in 1970, the typical black baby girl got a name that was twice as common among blacks as whites. By 1980, her name was 20 times more common among blacks, and by 2004 more than 40 percent of black girls born in California got a name that was not given to a single one of the 100,000 white girls born in the state that year.

Everyone has noticed this trend in first names, but did you know that the US Census Bureau keeps track of what last names tell you about race? It has a database of the 1,000 most common surnames that appeared in the 2000 census, along with the percentages of people of different races who had that name. If you go to this link and download the Excel file called “File A: Top 1000 Names” you will get the full database. It is fascinating to sort the names and see which are most likely to be white, black, Hispanic, etc.

To start with whites, there are 146 names out of the 1,000 most-common that are 90 percent or more white. The whitest name of all is Yoder (98.11 percent of the people with that name are white), followed by Krueger (97.06 percent), Mueller (96.96), Koch (96.86), and Novak (96.84). The entire list of at-least-90-percent-white names can be found here.

The second and third columns in the table, “Rank of Name” and “Number with that Name,” indicate how common the name is. In 2000, Yoder was the 707th most common name in the country, and 44,245 people had it. You will see that even among the Yoders, there is a tiny number that are black, Hispanic, API (Asian/Pacific Islander), multi-racial, etc. It would be interesting to know how the 80 Asians (44,245 x 0.0018 = 79.641) who have the name Yoder got it.

As you can see, the whitest names are Scandinavian, Jewish, and Irish. This is probably because most such immigrants came after the abolition of slavery or shortly before. Some slaves took the family names of their masters and many named themselves after famous Presidents. It is safe to say that most former slaves had never heard of the name Yoder.

There are 791 surnames—nearly 80 percent of the most-common1,000—that are majority white. The last one on that list is “Robinson,” which is 51.34 percent white and 44.1 percent black. My name, Taylor, is the 13th most common in America and is 67.8 percent white and 27.7 percent black.

Which names are most likely to be black? This table lists the top 100. It is well known that Washington is a common black name, but would you have guessed that no fewer than 89.97 percent of the 163,000 people with that name are black? Or that 75 percent of the people named Jefferson are black? Besides these names there are seven more that are majority black: Booker (65.57 percent black), Banks (54.24), Jackson (53.02), Mosley (52.83), Dorsey (51.81), Gaines (50.27), and Rivers (50.21).

There are 105 names that are 90 percent or more Hispanic. Another 55 names are over half Hispanic and then there is a sharp drop off in frequency. The 164th most Hispanic name, Costa, it is only 8.48 percent Hispanic, with the rest mostly white.

Only 22 names are at least 90 percent Asian, and then only six more names are more than 50 percent Asian. Like the Hispanic names, they are all easily recognizable.

It is possible to sort the Census Bureau database to find the names most likely to be held by people who say they are American Indian/Eskimo or multi-racial, but the percentages are so small this information doesn’t tell you much.

Lowery is the name in the top 1,000 that is most likely be Indian or Eskimo, but since 96 percent of the people with that name are not Indian or Eskimo (70 percent are white and 22 percent are black) this does not tell you much. A name like George Running-Bear is likely to be Indian, but Running-Bear is not common enough to be in the top 1,000 names.

The 10 most common names for people who claim to be multi-racial are Ali (17.5 percent of Alis say they are multi-racial), Kahn (15.6), Singh (15.3), Shah (5.9), Patel (5.8), Joseph (5.3), Costa (5.2), Andrade (5.0), Silva (4.8), and Vang (4.8). There seems to be an unaccountably strong Indian/Sikh contingent.

Trying to judge race from last name is purely a matter of statistics, and some names are notoriously ambiguous. The name Lee is 40 percent white, 17 percent black, and 38 percent Asian. Sometimes, though, the statistics are convincing. If you are trying to rent an apartment and you get a message from someone named Mueller or Barajas or Jefferson or Choi, you can be pretty sure with whom you are dealing.

Topics: , ,

Share This

Jared Taylor
Jared Taylor is the editor of American Renaissance and the author of White Identity: Racial Consciousness in the 21st Century.
We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Some of the very white surnames, the ones that are said to be “Scandinavian, Jewish or Irish,” are also German.  The confusion stems from a German sounding surname presumed Jewish/Yiddish, when it could be just plain ole regular Deutsch folk.

    The real German sounding names are highly unlikely to be black because German-Americans largely shunned slavery, therefore, Germanic surnames didn’t get passed on to black slaves.

    • Indeed, those blacks with such last names probably got it through adoption or miscegenation rather than slavery.

  • Anonymous

    In Austria and Prussia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries Jews were required to take family names.  Officials often gave them German names with ludicrous meranings.  Some examples:  Liebeschuetz (love protection) which in Slavic lands became Lifschitz.  Weiner (weeper) unless it was really Wiener (a Viennese). Dicker (fat). Vogelbaum (bird tree). Hittelman ( hatman) which in Russia was pronounced Gittleman).

    • Anonymous

      And let us not forget the Fischbein family (fish leg).

      • Anonymous

        In medical terminology Bein can also mean bone, e.g. Schinbein, Steissbein, etc.

  • Anonymous

    When I think Yoder, I think Amish.  I live near Amish country.

  • wmarkw

    Few Antebellum Germans lived in the South, so their names were not taken by African-Americans.   And, yes, I would have guessed that Washington and Jefferson were common surnames among families who got them IN American AFTER independence, which is true of very few whites.

    • Some percentage of the people in southern Appalachia (in TN and KY) are apparently of colonial Pennsylvanian/German ancestry, having moved out following the increased tax pressure following the Whiskey Rebellion and Fries’ Rebellion. (Hence how the Kentucky Rifle is also sometimes known as the “Pennsylvania Rifle”).

      Of course, they were unlikely to have owned slaves.

  • werr

      No one feels the need to conform to any standards these days.  A hundred years the US was a place unashamed of its Anglo-Saxon origins and white ethnics and others knew that if they wanted to move up in life, they’d better adopt the language, manners, ethics and (often) the names of  its WASP aritstocracy. There were no illusions in those days about “diversity being a strength”, so ethnics as well as blacks knew that embracing our common Anglo-derived culture was the way to go if they wanted any chance at getting ahead. But since the do-as- I- feel counter culture of  the 60s, blacks in particular no longer feel the need to conform to anything .  Hence the proliferation of  bizarre and outlandish names in their population.

     Now  we’re told to celebrate and welcome the fact that we’re becoming this incongruent, hodge-podge type nation.  Unlike yesteryear’s European immigrants, todays inflow of   mestizos and Asians  can never be expected to assimilate into the WASP culture.  Liberals keeping telling us  that these changes are  making us more  “vibrant” and “diverse” and we should all be thrilled to death about it.  I’m not.

    • Anonymous

      On my birth father’s side my great-grandparents immigrated from Poland and Belarus.  One set was surnamed Omelianchik (the one great-grandfather from Belarus) and I could tell from census records that they changed it to Omell.  My great-grandfather’s name was originally Michel and a later census record showed it to be Michael.  His wife Maria became Mary.

      And I was born Alexandra Holland.  Wonder how white Holland is…?

    • As “shallow” as a liberal might claim this is to say, the reason Asians and Mestizos cannot assimilate is because they will always have a distinctly foreign face. An adopted boy from Russia or Romania, far as those places are from the British Isles, can be raised in a WASP family and his foreign birth would probably never be suspected. Is that true of the children of other races? No.

      The “Protestant” tag in the term “WASP” is an exaggeration though. There have always been Roman-Catholic Britons/Englishmen, and the differences between different Protestant groups (such as between Pentecostals and Anglo-Catholics) can be quite vast).

  • Anonymous

    It is fairly easy to change a name. I have read that employers are more like to call on applicants whose names sound white than black. If I was a black man named Deshawn Jackson, it would be easy to change my first name to David. I would keep Deshawn as a nick name for my friends and family members to call me.

  • Anonymous

    This kind of blows a hole in the theory circulating among black people that the “so called Jew” controlled the slave trade. I actually once used this point in a debate with a black muslim: If the majority of black people were enslaved by Jews, why don’t most black Americans have Jewish surnames? His response was that Jews changed their names when they emigrated to America, which was true but he was off by about a century and a half. That trend didn’t begin until the Ellis Island Immigration.

    Oh well, gotta blame someone.

    • The majority of Blacks were “enslaved” (captured initially) by other Africans or by N.African Muslims.

      There were Jews (Aaron Lopez being one infamous name) who were active in the transport of slaves, which were then sold in the South. As you can tell by his last name, Aaron Lopez was an Iberian Jew and not Ashkenazim. Note that his enterprise participated in the shipping of many other types of cargo too.

      Along with the numerous Yankee/Northern ship-owners who imported slaves, those who did during the 1800s were largely doing so in violation of the law.

    • Beloved Comrade

      why don’t most black Americans have Jewish surnames? 

      No, it doesn’t “blow a hole” in the theory at all.

      Blacks did not take the names of the slave traders, they took or were given the  surname of the slave OWNER.

      There is a HUGE difference between a slave trader and a slave owner.
      Read up, son, educate yourself.  You’ll find that the slave trade was not controlled by whites.

      • Anonymous

        Listen, son, if you believe the Jews controlled the slave trade, maybe you should go commiserate with Jeremiah Wright and Farrakhan.

        • Beloved Comrade

          I don’t have to believe anything. Facts speak for themselves.

          • Anonymous

            Duke censors facts when they don’t conform to his vision. Also listen to what Tom Metzger the leader of White Aryan Resistance has to say about Duke, who uses his followers money for cosmetic surgery and gambling.

          • Beloved Comrade

            Which facts did he censor? Please rebut those facts, I’m more than willing to listen.

            As for Duke, is he wrong? Where? Please point out where Duke is wrong. Regardless of his character, is he wrong? Present a counterargument showing he is wrong instead of attacking his character.

            I’ll be happy to read any refutation or rebuttal of the facts Duke presents.

          • Anonymous

            Which facts does Duke censor? Very well. On his
            “Kosher Nostra” youtube video, he claimed that the Italian Mafia was essentially a proxy for a Jewish-controlled cabal. I refuted that by quoting directly from both Charles Lucania’s (AKA Charlie Luciano/ Lucky Luciano’s) autobiography where he admitted that Meyer Lansky (the Jewish gangster) was little more than an accountant for  La Cosa Nostra. I also cited the Israeli Government’s refusal to grant Lansky asylum/citizenship. Rather than debate me, Duke simply removed my comment from his video.

            I own two of his books by the way, and initially had respect for him. When I first heard the rumors that misspent his followers’ money on himself, I dismissed it, as the attacks were coming from Mark Potok of the SPLC. I later corroborated the information, however, with Tommy Metzger of WAR (White Aryan Resistance). I hope that this will suffice.

          • Tom Metzger

            I certainly do not dwell on various acts of betrayal by David Duke. I have expressed just a few facts and leave it at that.I find it quite hyporcritcal that when A progressive does bad things the right will never cut the person a little slack but when A right winger does bad things many excuses come out of the woodwork and thats ok. Why do you worry about being called a cracker?Its simple a term from Florida when pig farmers drove their pigs to market. They used whips that sounded like a gun going off to move the herd along.
            I accept that term because it denote a strong white working class controlling the Negroids. I just smile when they call me a cracker.

          • jayvbellis

            No I’m sorry – it’s much worse than that.

            In the early 1990s when White nationalists in the USA and Europe showed positive signs of breaking out and having mainstream success , full time 24/7 WN especially Tom Metzger responded like a jealous 13 year old girl.

            David Duke actually WON his state representative race and challenged very well for US senate, LA governor. This success gave great hope to millions of Dispossessed Whites.

            But jealous rage Tom Metzger hated David Duke who was supposedly a sell out, cocaine drug addict, a sexual pervert etc.

            Respected MI White Nationalist leader Bob Miles practically begged us to go sit on Tom Metzger so he wouldn’t try to smear David Duke during his strong run for La governor against Edwin Edwards.

          • Tom Metzger

            Jealous rage?.silly Wabbit.Tom Metzger received around 150 thousand votes in two elections in California.with no help from the right wing.Bob Miles felt the same way I did about Duke.No one sits on Tom Metzger if you check the facts.I cant stand wimps that never sign their bluster comments.I always sign my name.

  • Anonymous

    Blacks not only have funny pseudo-African names, they cannot spell, so their regular names are often spelled oddly.  Oprah Winfrey’s parents read their bible but could not spell, so Orpah from the bible became Oprah.

  • Anonymous

    Not only Jews have odd names.  I knew a non-Jew whose family name was Schmutz, which in German means dirt. 

    • Or mud, or filth/squalor, or foulness. Maybe the name came from an ancestor who lived in a muddy area, or who had a foul mouth.

  • Robwilson

    Yoder (or Joder), Koch, Krueger, and Mueller are German names, not Jewish or Scandinavian. 

  • Anonymous

    Just for the heck of it, indulge me and look up the top 25 war profiteers and their CEOs. Let me know how many semites you find, because we all know “war is the Jew’s harvest” as some non-existent rabbi once didn’t say, in a book that never existed.

  • jungefrau1

    Don’t some African Americans have names from where they once lived? Dante Culpepper comes to mind, and there is a Culpepper, VA.  My family is German American and had loads of slaves before the Civil War. I have copies of old wills where fathers left their daughters slaves and bed linens. 

  • White Dragon

    Quote (Paragraph 8) “As you can see, the whitest names are Scandinavian, Jewish, and Irish. ”

    Sorry, Mr Taylor. Do you understand anything about Jewish DNA, genetic differences, etc?

    I call bullsh!t – whitest names and Jewish in the same sentence! Jews ARE NOT WHITE!

    • Tom Metzger

      Jews use all races as cover since they are not a race.