A 25-year-old Indian man can’t seem to find work despite a degree as a marine engineer from a university.
His problem: His name is Saddam Hussein.
“I am an innocent victim of somebody else’s crimes,” he told the Hindustan Times.
Saddam Hussein, of course, was the president of Iraq from 1979 until 2003, when his regime was toppled by the United States. Hussein was executed in 2006.
The newspaper tells the story of the 25-year-old Hussein, who says he was named by his grandfather in hopes of being a “positive” human being. Hussein said he has been told that “my name was the problem.”
In an attempt to change his fortunes, he has officially changed his name to Sajid on all official documents. But his educational records still have his former name, a process that has been slow. He has a hearing set for May 5.
There was a “Saddam” naming boom in the early 1990s among middle- and lower-class Indians, especially Muslims, according to India Today. A United States-led coalition pushed the Iraqi troops out of Kuwait in the first Gulf War in 1991, but stopped short of removing Hussein from power.
In the United States, several studies have been conducted to examine the impact of names on employment opportunities.
A 2014 study found that applicants with “typically black” names were 16 percent less likely to get called in for an interview than applicants with “typically white” names and equal qualifications.
Further research by Steven Levitt, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago and co-author of “The Causes and Consequences of Distinctively Black Names,” discovered that it is not the name of the applicant that matters, but the race.
“We think that if a black name matters to an employer, he wouldn’t hire you, no matter what your name is,” Leavitt said, according to a Monster.com.