06.23.2019

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Won't Change Her Name 'To Make Other People Happy'

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Won't Change Her Name 'To Make Other People Happy' Courtesy of Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck

Marijuana Pepsi's mother told her that her birth name would take her places.

She wasn't wrong.

After a life spent being mocked for having an unusual name, the 46-year-old seized on her experience to earn a Ph.D. in higher education leadership. Her dissertation focused on unusual names, naturally.

As of last week, Marijuana Pepsi is now Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck.

For her dissertation, titled Black Names in White Classrooms: Teacher Behaviors and Student Perceptions, Vandyck interviewed students and concluded that participants "with distinctly black names" were subject to disrespect, stereotypes and low academic and behavioral expectations. This resulted in strained relationships, changes in future career choices and self-esteem issues, spelling fewer educational and economic opportunities for students of color

For the full story, visit NPR.org.