Service of A Name III

October 22nd, 2020

Categories: Demean, Foreigners, immigrant, Name

Photo: startsat60.com

It is objectionable when a person uses a name to demean or to signal something supposedly nefarious or suspicious about someone of when they deliberately mispronounce a name.

Do you know who these middle names belong to: Diane, Walker, Earl, Jefferson and Hussein? The answers: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, George Walker Bush, James Earl Carter, Jr., William Jefferson Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama II.

Photo: pinterest.com

How many times did you hear someone use the middle names of the Clintons, Presidents Bush or Carter?  Don’t many of those who include “Hussein” when referencing President Obama have a reason that has nothing to do with being accurate because these folks never include the II?  They want you to think he’s Muslim, “not that,” as Jerry Seinfeld would have said in his TV show, “anything’s wrong with that.”

For a public figure to deliberately mispronounce an unusual name, such as Kamala–which Kamala Harris says should be “‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark,” is offensive. Every neophyte speechwriter spells out phonetically an unusual word or name. When president Trump mispronounces Kamala, for example, he signals its foreignness and makes fun, implying that the person isn’t “one of us–a real American.”  He did so three times in a row at a recent rally to the mirth of the audience.

Good for Kamala: She didn’t succumb to the Americanization of her name–she might have been Kam for example. [To her stepchildren she answers to Momala.] President Obama, like his father, was known as Barry. He reverted to his given names in college.

I deep sixed Jeanne-Marie in first grade. Nobody pronounced the first half the way my parents or a French person did–“jhanne”–and anyway it was too long compared to most others–Mary, Liz, Ann, Polly etc.

Can you share examples of attempts to deliberately disparage or imply something about a person simply because of their names? Isn’t it a relief that increasing numbers of Americans stand by their foreign names?

 

Photo: englishlanguagethoughts.com

 

 

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9 Responses to “Service of A Name III”

  1. Anonymous Said:

    BHO was foreign enough!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anon,

    As am I! I am far more patriotic than my all-American husband was.

  3. HG Said:

    Can only hope and pray that the upcoming elections will flip things a little bit, and bring a sliver of decency and honesty back to this country! Fingers crossed! Knock on wood!

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    HG,

    Ditto. Trouble is there will always be the undercurrent of dislike and distrust of foreigners. It’s out of ignorance. If people had neutral ground on which to meet others of different backgrounds it would help a lot.

  5. Amanda Ripanykhazova Said:

    I disagree with you.

    Anyone who changes their name to anything stupid or commercial or artificial sounding is fair game for mockery.

    eg all the Seacrests, Mario Van Peebles, Fairchilds, Cynaubons, etc etc ad nauseam

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    Deliberate mispronunciation of someone’s name, or placing emphasis on a middle name is old hat, low class and bad manners. Perhaps this lack of respect for others will leave along with the current administration.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Amanda,

    I wrote the post in haste and didn’t make myself clear. I admire people who stick to the names they were given. Actors are mostly keeping their names these days. I was tempted to go back to my maiden name when I remarried and had it not meant so much to my husband that I use his, I would have. I think it’s super that President Obama got rid of “Barry” and that Kamala kept her name. As I wrote in a previous post on names my aunt, in her 70s or so, reverted to a name I’d never heard anyone use, “Elisabeth.” We’d called her Lili for decades. However, I’m not asking folks to call me “Jeanne-Marie.”

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Here here! And fingers crossed.

    A friend sent me a lovely list of sayings attributed to Winston Churchill. It’s a shame that the president doesn’t read because these are so easy and he–and we all–could learn from them. Here’s just one that would come in handy:

    “Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    Wishful thinking!

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