Do you know how to say my name in the correct Indian pronunciation? I ask this because I can’t tell you how hard it is for most people to say my name correctly!
From a young age, people consistently got my name wrong. Even though my name is common in India, where my parents immigrated from, in Canada my name is quite unique, and for years it was a constant source of teasing and bullying. Eventually I gave up on having people pronounce my name correctly and just went by “Ree-too”. I started to hate my name.
This is a common experience for so many people who have “hard to pronounce” names. Many of us will change the pronunciation of our names or even legally change our names to more Anglo (i.e. white) sounding names (I personally wanted to change my name to Carice for a while…) just to avoid having to constantly hear our names mispronounced.
The pressure I felt — and which I know many other people feel — to have an Anglicized (“white”) name is tied back to white supremacy and is a manifestation of the racism and racial bias that people of color have internalized for generations.
In this video, I share why our names are so important and talk about why we should reclaim our names as a key part of both interrupting white supremacy and living as our authentic selves.
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