Zenas Ackah has heard it all his life: What kind of name is that? You must not be from here. You must be foreign. Actually, no. Born in the United States, the 22-year-old college senior with the Greek first name and the Ghanian last name grew up in Philadelphia.
But Ackah is hopeful that change is coming, that the idea of an "American" name will expand beyond monikers like Tom and Harry and Sally and Jane and Smith and Jones. He figures he's got a strong weapon on his side — for at least the next four years, when people look to the most powerful American in the country, the "uber-American" if you will, they'll be looking at President Barack Hussein Obama.
"I think it will help people understand that people in America aren't just John, Jack, Mary," Ackah said. "They're Zenas and Barack."
"People start talking down to you because they think you're foreign," he said.