Woman named Marijuana Pepsi receives Ph.D with dissertation on uncommon names
A woman with the usual name of Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck has just completed her PhD with a thesis all about the experience of black children with atypical names growing up in predominantly white communities.
Vandyck's paper, entitled: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviours and student perceptions" - was completed while she was studying leadership for the advancement of learning and service in higher education at Wisconsin’s Cardinal Stritch University.
She interviewed black students at her undergrad alma mater, at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, about their experiences living with non-Anglo-Saxon-derived names throughout their formative years.
Vandyck states that her uncommon name helped her toughen up, despite the incredulous reactions she often received from teachers and the jeering of classmates throughout her school years.
"People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it," Vandyck told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Now her paper has gone viral on social media, although many people have taken the opportunity to react with dismay at her name, instead of reading her academic study.
Check out some of the reactions to Marijuana Pepsi's name below:
And is Marijuana perturbed about the comments people have made about her name? Not really. In fact, at her graduation ceremony, she told local news reporters: "I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman. I’ve had to be. But I want to know, what was it about me that made [my mother] go, ‘You just look like a Marijuana Pepsi.'" So do I, but by the looks of things, we may never know.
And somewhat ironically, Marijuana has never smoked, vaped, or ingested her namesake drug. Although, she did tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"My main concern are the individuals serving time for marijuana-related offenses. I would like to see all their sentences overturned. These people were locked up for making money from the sale of marijuana, and now that the government has figured out ways to make the money themselves, it is 'legal' and, further, encouraged."