If I had a nickel for every stranger that’s pronounced my name “MIchelle” or “Michael”, I would have enough money to not need to interact with strangers at all anymore.
It seems I’ve hit the intersectional lottery.
Or maybe not.
Because mispronouncing peoples’ names isn’t a matter of trying to wrap one’s tongue around a word from a completely different language, with all the inevitable pitfalls
Oh, no. Like everything one does, and everything one does not do, h it’s apparently racist.
Zuheera Ali and Keya Roy talk to author Ijeoma Oluo and each other about their experiences living in the United States with “difficult” names. They also talk to Rita Kohli, a professor at University of California, Riverside who has done research on the effects of mispronouncing names on students of color.
Spoiler: This practice of mispronouncing names isn’t just embarrassing. It has a long and racist history.
Of course, it’s not complete cultural sensitivity to Jerzy Szczepanski or Solveig Hjelle or even Euan Braithwaite’s names we’re talking about, here.
And if you happen to listen to the podcast at the link – apparently from a program to train young public radio drones – you may reach the same observation I did; that millennials of a certain ideological persuasion collect grievances the same way the seem to love collecting psychological and medical diagnoses; the same way the used to collect Pokemon cards. The same way their grandparents collected fishing stories.
By the way, that’s the Norwegian “BAIR-g”, not the German/Yiddish “BEHR-g”.