- Cedric Thompson is African American and his wife Charlotte is half-Filipina and half-white.
- When the Thompsons were choosing baby names, they took a DNA test to learn more about their ancestral heritage.
- They ended up picking their children’s names to honor their families.
This is an as-told-to essay based on a conversation with Cedric Thompson, a former NFL athlete, content creator, and father of three. The essay has been edited for length and clarity.
I met my wife Charlotte in freshman year of college. We dated for a while before eventually getting married. Charlotte is half-Filipina, half-Caucasian, and I’m full African American — and there were definite challenges at first because of our different backgrounds.
I grew up in the inner city of Los Angeles in a mostly Black and brown neighborhood. There’s a certain energy and demeanor that we have: The way I was raised was based on survival and doing your best to make it, which was inextricably tied to being an African American man. Charlotte grew up in a much safer environment and didn’t have to deal with those biases.
We both began to more seriously think about my Blackness when I came to Minnesota, where I am now and where there’s more of a white population. The murder of George Floyd was one of the first times I realized, “I really am of a race that is not treated the same.” My wife became more aware of it too, being married to a Black man. That’s something we’ve been ironing out the past couple of years.
Navigating an intercultural marriage
I started documenting my life on YouTube while I was playing for the NFL. A video Charlotte and I posted after I was released from the Minnesota Vikings went semi-viral, and I realized, “Wow, people really have a problem with us being an interracial couple.” Some commenters had an issue with me not dating a Black woman.
But my parents didn’t raise me to see color. Luckily, Charlotte and I have families that are very welcoming of everybody. The biggest challenges came more from our different upbringings.
Naming our children
When my wife became pregnant with our second child in 2019 and we began looking at names, we took DNA tests to learn more about our ancestral ethnicities because we wanted the name to have significance from our cultural backgrounds.
I discovered I have all these bloodlines — Nigerian, Malian, even 4% Irish — but they felt distant, especially since I’d grown up in Los Angeles and identify as African American.
Another thing I struggled with was the idea that my last name isn’t even mine, given the history of slavery. It was the same with Charlotte, since many Filipino names are Spanish from the Philippines’ Spanish colonial period.
But we knew we wanted to honor our families’ lineage. I’ve always been inspired by Samoan and Native Indian names, because they derive something from their tribes. So we wanted to do the same thing and named our children after our family members.
Our oldest daughter is named Madeline, after Charlotte’s sister who passed away from cancer. Madeline’s middle name, Parker, comes from my grandmother. We named our second daughter Lucca because we loved its meaning — “brings the light” — and her middle name, Ryan, is my wife’s oldest sister’s name. And then with our youngest daughter, we named her Quincy because she’s the fifth person in our family — hence the “quint” — and it’s similar to Charlotte’s grandfather’s name, Alcuin. Her middle name is Marie, which is my mother’s middle name.
For us, the names were about tying our family lineages together, as they’re the people who took care of us and loved us, and they’re where we grasped meaning from.