I am a person. I am of Eastern Indian descent. My parents gave me a traditional, Eastern Indian name. It’s a simple, beautiful name. Five letters long. The meaning suits me well.
The problem? People who don’t want to take a moment to read my name or try to pronounce it correctly. Seriously, people. It’s MY F-CKING NAME. No, you can’t shorten it (it’s five letters long, for chrissake!). No, you can’t call me (insert Anglo name here). I find it highly unprofessional/disrespectful/ignorant/pathetic when people tell me my name is too hard to pronounce.
But you know what makes it worse? Those fellow brown people who allow these ignorant morons to mispronounce their names to the point that they begin to introduce themselves to others brown people with the same affected tone. I met a great (brown) guy at a party one night–great personality, good-looking, etc., but I couldn’t get over the fact that he introduced himself to me as ‘Ka-PEEL’–not ‘Ka-pill’, as it’s meant to be pronounced. I had to walk away after I asked him why he mispronounces his own name–‘It’s easier for the Americans. My name isn’t normal, you know.’
Americans are striving to give their kids new and original names. Failing that, they try to spell them differently to set their kids apart (Madison becomes ‘Madysyn’ or some other BS like that). We can’t be proud of being different? Why can’t we be proud of having a heritage that values names & having a language & culture that dates back thousands of years? Just because it makes you uncomfortable when you have to correct people so they can say your name correctly?
When I meet people (& I get out there & meet a lot of people on a daily basis), my name often gets mispronounced. I know, it’s different. I patiently (& kindly) correct them. And you know what? People always make an effort if they know there is an expectation. Try it out sometime.
And remember… If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will.