Why is the name thing so triggering to all of us and especially to many Asians?


dr. Eugen Schochenmaier

Mondonomo, Chief Scientist

Dec. 27, 2021, 7:01 p.m.


Some of them spent their entire adult life in the U.S. by a sort of American "nickname" because they hated dealing with the burden of correcting people each time they got their name wrong. Asians hate the shame they felt every new school year when the teacher would butcher their authentic name on the roster. If you went to a school with a lot of Asian kids, you know the drill –

Teacher: "[mispronounced Asian name]"

Asian Student: "uh.. I go by Michelle"

[Other kids chuckling]

Some teachers would outright ask kids to use anglicized name for THEIR convenience. Lots of immigrants change the legal name after being naturalized. They didn't want to deal with the disrespect, but most of all, didn't want the inconvenience. Inconvenience to OTHERS. Many Asian people change their names to deal with less harassment, to integrate faster, to make things easy for them and others. A lot of people do it to BELONG.

When somebody passes away, their relatives sometimes must correct the memorial service people MULTIPLE times to get first and last names written correctly. For instance, half of the Asian first name kept being written in the middle name section - on the death certificate, marker, everywhere. It is exhausting. Every time we see the victims' names outright missing half of their first names, it's like a gut punch that reminds us that their lives don't matter enough to these teachers, workers, journalists and even pastors.

These might be small inconveniences to people. But our names are our IDENTITY. It's our HERITAGE. It's what we have left that remind us WHO WE ARE. WHERE WE COME FROM.

The parents or grandparents very often give to their kids original name for the latter has a beautiful origin and meaning. Therefore, their children are ashamed they don't use it today. They don’t realize why THEY apologize when other people don't get their names right. They have nothing to apologize for.

SO PLEASE, let us get their names right. Stop with the excuses. It is really not that hard. Try LIVING in our names.