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Larimer League

Names Are Hard!
By Jane A Everham
Posted: 2022-08-17T18:39:35Z

Names Are Hard

by Jorie Kramer

Your name’s easy to pronounce, right? But, what would happen if you went to another country where people didn’t speak the language from which your name derives? Imagine if the native speakers there found your name hard to say. Would it be OK for those folks to avoid saying your name? What about choosing a name for you that’s easier for them to say, but is not a name you want?

We do this all the time to people with names we’ve not encountered before. We might demand they pronounce their name again and again for us. Or, we might exercise our privilege of automatically belonging and say, “That’s too hard to say. I’m just going to call you (insert familiar name).”

DEI Team member, Cindy Linafelter, recently came across a resource called “How to Respect My Ethnic Name” by Anpu London. In this video and accompanying PDF, Mr. London talks about how to respond to someone with a name you find difficult to pronounce.  He gives you tips on how to remember how to pronounce the name. He also, very cleverly, gives a few pointers for what to do if you forget or just can’t manage it. Mr. London’s work is lighthearted, non-judgey, and oh-so-very-practical.

We’re happy to share “How to Respect My Ethnic Name” with you. I highly recommend watching the video. If you’d like, you may download the PDF with Mr. London’s permission. If you’re sharing it elsewhere, he asks that you credit him.

You’ll find links to both resources on the Larimer League’s DEI page