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Bullies' racist jokes force teen to change 'black name'

RACIST TAUNTS: Keisha Austin's 'black name' was mocked by classroom bullies

A TEENAGER was forced to change her name after a prolonged campaign of racist taunts from classroom bullies.

Keisha Austin, raised in a white neighbourhood in Kansas City, grew so tired of her peers making fun of her 'black name', that she made the decision to change her name to Kylie.

As a white woman raising a biracial daughter by herself in a neighborhood that wasn't very diverse, Keisha's mother, Cristy, was adamant about the name even before the teen was born. She said she gave her daughter the name to give her confidence and a connection to her culture. She thought the name represented a "strong, feminine, beautiful black woman."

“I saw it as a source of pride,” she said. “I wanted her to have that.”

But classmates constantly taunted her daughter who recalled experiences where her name was associated with video vixens. Kids would joke around asking if she had “La” or a “Sha" in her name. Even a teacher once joked about her name asking if there was a dollar sign in it.

“It’s like they assumed that I must be a certain kind of girl,” the 19-year-old said. “Like, my name is Keisha so they think they know something about me, and it always felt negative.”

But last week, the teen officially changed her name to Kylie Austin, as an early Christmas gift from her mother.

“It’s not something I take lightly. 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," Keisha said. "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.”

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