Post # 1
Last year I learned about microaggressions. I got this from wikipedia to explain – “Microagression usually involves demeaning implications and other subtle insults against minorities, and may be perpetrated against those due to gender, sexual orientation, and ability status.”
I have a very unusual ethnic name. One of the things that has always bothered me since childhood is the refusal by certain people to learn how to pronounce my name properly. It wasn’t until last year that I figured out why it bothered me so much. The refusal to learn how to say my name was equivalent to them saying “you are nothing, you don’t matter, so why should I learn how to say your name” or “I can’t be bothered to learn that ethnic name, why didn’t your parents name you something normal”. This is a form of microaggression as confirmed by my professor.
So onto the current problem – My DH has a set of friends (a couple) that we socialize with frequently. They are a nice couple but one of them REFUSES to learn how to say my damn name! My DH and I have both tried time and again to correct them but sure enough they keep going back to butchering my name. I’m getting to the point that I don’t even want to hang out with them. I’m starting to feel like I’m their token “ethnic” friend (I’m the only brown person they ever invite out) and I’m insulted that after knowing me for several years, they just can’t be bothered to get my name right. I would hate to cut them out of my life as DH is very good friends with them and he has few friends but it’s starting to straight up piss me off.
What do you think about this? Am I being overly sensitive? What can I do to get them to pronounce my name correctly? I’ve thought about showing up at the next event they host wearing a name tag with the phonetic spelling of my name.
Post # 3
@VegasSukie: If it makes you feel any better, I have a pretty normal (by North American/European standards) name and people still get it wrong sometimes.
Post # 4
You are not being oversensitive, names are a big deal.
This doesn’t deal with your exact situation but you might find it useful, I <3 captain awkward:
#470, #471 and #472: Correcting Names
Post # 5
Thank you for the link. Right off the bat, the third sentence validated what I’m feeling. DEHUMANIZED! Like I’m good for laughs or to show off so you can seem “cool” but I’m not good enough to learn how to properly say my name. I will keep reading. Thanks!
Post # 6
@VegasSukie: Oh my gosh, I used to have this same problem with an older lady who would come into my office; she had a mean personality. She would call me by the wrong name every. single. time. Even though my name is on my office door and name plate. She could see fine and she could read fine. I corrected her numerous times but she still refused to call me by my correct name (which is an easy name, so I feel bad for you), so I knew she was doing it on purpose for whatever reason.
Finally, after a couple of YEARS of putting up with her I did this: I asked her flat out (her name was Rowena). I said, “Rowena, you know what my name is. But you still keep calling me ____. I want you to know if you keep doing it, from now on I am going to purposely butcher your name and called you Roweenie in front of everyone, every day, until you call me by my right name. Ok? How would you like that?” She got so mad! But she certainly got my name exactly right from that day on. Haha.
Try butchering that guy’s name on purpose every time he missprounounces your name and see how he likes it. 🙂
Post # 7
@VegasSukie: You’re not being oversensitive. Our names are part of our identity, and important to our sense of self.
One time at work I answered the phone with “this is ______” and the customer repeated an incorrect name. I said no it’s “____” he repeated another incorrect name and I corrected him again. Then he came back with “whatever I don’t care, it’s not important.” I was horribly offended (but of course I couldn’t say anything)–I mean, it’s my name.
If I was that offended by some random customer that I would probably never speak to again, I can only imagine what it’s like to have people you consider friends do that to you.
What do you say to them? Do you just correct the pronunciation? Maybe you could let them know that it really bothers you and that it’s important to be called by you correct name.
Post # 8
@VegasSukie: You are not blowing this over. I deal with this on a regular basis – both socially and professionaly. Once at work, I started wearing a “Hello my name is ***” sticker to the office until my boss got it. Personally, I just don’t respond unless people say, or try to say my name correctly. If they get huffy, you can just point out that that isn’t your name, so you don’t respond. Period.
Post # 9
I don’t think they intend on being mean by not learning your name, but that still doesn’t change the way you feel, and it still hurts.
I always felt bad for my uncle. He’s Greek and his first name is actually pretty easy to pronounce because you say it just like it looks. He’s been in this country for over 35 years, and people still don’t know how to pronounce his first name, so they call him “taco” because it is the most similar English word to his name.
Post # 10
that is a fantastic story, and one I’m putting in my pocket just in case I ever need it!!!
Post # 11
Lol! I actually kind of do that already (or at least I’ve started to). She’s a doctor and got married after she passed the boards so she kept her maiden name. She HATES it when people assume she took her husband’s name so everyone once in a while I introduce her to MY friends as Mrs. HerHusband’sLastName as opposed to Dr. SuchandSuch. I’ve only done it twice but both times she corrected me and this was all after I had corrected her about 10 times on my name.
Post # 12
I feel you. I got so tired of people mispronouncing my name – I made up a nickname that’s absolutely impossible for them to mispronounce; it upset my family for a bit but now my real name is just for my mother (my family has it’s own nickname for me in general) and my SO.
Now I choose who even gets the chance to say my name and if they flub it off nonchalantly without even trying to get it right, the privileged is revoked.
Post # 13
Both my DH and I have spoken to the offending friend several times and have tried talking to her husband to see if he could get her to stop. Hasn’t worked. My DH even specifically told them that I don’t like it and feel disrespected by it but that hasn’t changed anything.
Post # 14
i get SUPER pissed when people get my name wrong, especially after i correct them repeatedly. if i get someone’s name wrong, i make a conscious effort to remember how to say it correctly so i don’t embarrass myself or make them feel like i don’t care.
my name IS very unusual (it’s bethaney without the ‘b’, pronounced like ‘bethaney’ but without the ‘b’ sound lol obviously) yet i still get anthony, stephanie, athena, ethan-ee…it’s VERY VERY annoying when people don’t at least try to get it right, especially after i correct them.
names are so important.
Post # 15
I acutally did the same thing when I was younger. I gave myself a more “American” name and tried to get people to call me that. It broke my mom’s heart to hear that I was ashamed of the beautiful name she gave me. She told me to never let anyone shame me out of my culture, ethnicity or identity. I never used that name again after that.
Post # 16
I can be “snarky” when I want to be. If I were you, the next time she mispronounced my name I’d say, “Doctors should be able to listen to their patients. I imagine you have a pretty tough time with that since you can’t even be bothered to pronounce my name right after I’ve told you several times the proper way to say it. I can’t imagine your patient retention rate is very high since you’re so dismissive of things so simple as the pronunciation of one’s name. How IS your practice, by the way?”