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ethnic 246How to respect my ethnic name

From an article by Anparasan Sivakumaran, also known as Anpu

Anpu has produced a guide to help people respect ethnic names. He makes the following points:

Things you should never say:

  1. I'm never going to remember that. Sometimes the name can be hard to say but you're being dismissive and showing that you don't even value the person. When you meet someone for the first time, any bond can literally be destroyed in one second by someone saying I'm not going to remember your name.
  2. Do you have something shorter for that? One may have a nickname but if they don't you've just got to respect that their name is their name. You're basically saying, 'Look your name's a bit too long for me. I'm not going to make an effort to learn your name so therefore can you make my life easier by giving me a shorter version'.
  3. Can I just call you x instead?  You're disregarding my entire history and identity. I'm very proud of my name. It represents my parents history and my culture. 

Equally inappropriate actions:

  1. Tapping the person on the shoulder because you'd rather not get their name wrong.
  2. Pointing to them in a meeting.
  3. Replacing their name with 'him, her, them' and hoping you'll get away with it.

Sometimes our names can be hard to say. I do understand that and especially if you're not bilingual or multilingual. So....

How to help:

  1. Repeat their name after they introduce themselves. When you don't repeat their name, it can be quite frustrating because we would like reassurance that you've heard and can say it correctly.
  2. Reassure them - "I really want to make sure I say your name correctly, can you teach me?"
  3. Emails + Business. Incorrect names on a legal document are time consuming to correct for the person. This distracts from more important tasks. Double check the name when writing an email.
  4. When dating, help your loved one out by teaching your friends and family the pronunciation in advance to avoid any awkward encounters.
  5. Call others out. If you hear someone's name being said wrong and they're not in the room, then please do correct them.
  6. 'Forgive me, could you remind me...' Politely ask for a reminder. A good tip: jot down the pronunciation in your notepad in a way that you will remember.

How can I help?

Let you know you're pronouncing my name incorrectly. It's best to correct people right away because the wrong pronunciation sticks. Suggest practicing the pronunciation of my name.

Watch his 12 min video:

Download the guide here.

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From an article by Anparasan Sivakumaran, 21/10/2020

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