Keisha Austin
Keisha Austin (R) from Kansas City, Missouri, will now and be known as Kylie Austin.

A mixed-race teenager has changed her name from Keisha to Kylie after suffering racism in her predominantly white community.

Keisha Austin, from Kansas City, Missouri, said she decided to change her name to something more "white" as her birth name carried too many negative racial stereotypes.

"It's not something I take lightly. I put a lot of thought into it," she told the Kansas Star.

"I wanted to change my name because it didn't feel comfortable. I don't connect to it. I didn't feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it."

Austin recalled one particular occasion when a teacher once asked if there was a dollar sign in her name, like the singer Ke$ha.

"It's like they assumed that I must be a certain kind of girl," she said. "Like, my name is Keisha so they think they know something about me, and it always felt negative."

The 19-year-old's mother, Cristy, said she chose the name Keisha because it represented a strong, beautiful black woman and she wanted to instil confidence and culture in her daughter.

"I saw it as a source of pride," Cristy told the Kansas star. "I wanted her to have that. It felt like a gift I gave to her, and she was returning it."

But after witnessing the abuse that her daughter was constantly subjected to, she decided to give her the $175 (£109) name change as an early Christmas gift.

"But she's still the same person, regardless of her name," she said. "Her happiness is what is most important to me. I love and support her, and whatever she has to do to feel good on the inside, I have to be OK with that."