Archive for the ‘Foreigners’ Category

Service of the Beauty of Diversity in NYC

Thursday, June 20th, 2024

MetLife Building lobby last Saturday.

I never know what I’ll see from day to day when I venture out and about in New York City–which is thrilling. Here are some photos I took over a few days.

In addition to eavesdropping on conversations in countless languages all over the city there are innumerable fascinating sites and interactions that underscore the diversity and often the toughness of newcomer New Yorkers.

In the elevator this week I asked what language a young fellow tenant was speaking after she stopped chatting on her phone. When she confirmed my guess—Turkish–I remembered “allah is maladek,” a formal goodbye. I liked her smile [probably because of my accent]. She didn’t seem the slightest bit surprised.

What are some of your favorite scenes that celebrate the diversity of where you live?

African food on Second Avenue, a favorite haunt of bicycle delivery people.
Construction workers choose homemade lunch from a popup chef.
Work break at a construction site
Fruit and veggie vendors remind me of mail carriers as they are out selling their produce regardless of weather.

Riches from the Wednesday farmer’s market on east 47th Street

Service of A Name III

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

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.

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?

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